ERIC LACHANCE, H.B. Comm, RRC, CFP
"Effecting Positive Change on People’s Lives"
When it comes to financial planning and wealth management, it’s making a difference that motivates and energizes Eric Lachance, Certified Financial Planner, Executive Financial Consultant, and Division Director at IG Private Wealth Management. “The reason I entered this business, and the thing that keeps me excited about my work is my passion for the impact we have on peoples’ lives,” says Eric. “We help them to make meaningful decisions throughout their lives and we create solutions to answer the simplest yet most important question: ‘Can I . . .? Can I afford that new home, can I help my children with their home, can I retire in three years?’ There’s a lot of detail within the answers, but the questions are simple and that’s ultimately what I do for a living.”
Eric’s home within the financial services industry has been with IG Wealth Management ever since his first internship while earning his bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Finance with Honours at Laurentian University. “While I was attending an investment course in the program, I really connected with a professor who also worked as a financial advisor. I fostered this relationship with him and he offered me an internship at his practice in 2006,” says Eric. “During those months, I really got to appreciate what this career was all about. I fell in love with the opportunity to pursue a career as a financial consultant and I could clearly see myself doing this.”
While completing his studies, Eric also worked to earn the licensing required to operate in the business. “Pretty much day one after graduation, I started working in this business with IG,” says Eric. “I knew that the education and licensing components provided credibility and are proof people have the fundamental understanding around how to do this job, but also that our industry is so quickly and constantly evolving. Tax laws continue to change, governments are making changes that affect how we do planning for clients, and being able to keep up with the perpetual change within wealth management is imperative to succeeding in this business. So, I got to work and achieved my CFP designation in 2009.”
That same year, in addition to his own financial consulting business, Eric took on the role of Division Director with IG. “I wear two hats in our office here. The majority of my time is spent working as a financial consultant with the clients in my practice,” says Eric. “I also wear the director hat where I have responsibilities in training and mentoring other advisors in the office, assisting in their development throughout their careers. I can have more impact this way. In my personal practice, I can only work with so many people – about 250 families at this time – to effectively do my job. As Division Director, over the years I’ve hired and trained dozens of other advisors and that reach becomes far greater in positively impacting people’s lives.”
For Eric, that mentorship role is his way of giving back in the spirit of the professor he interned with. “I’ve always thought, someone took a shot on me as a 22-year-old at the time and gave me what I view as the career opportunity of a lifetime,” says Eric. “This position is a pay it forward approach in my perspective.”
Eric’s dedication to impacting lives is directed to the advisors he leads, but especially towards the clients they serve. These relationships are at the center of everything he does. “What I seek in clients to determine our compatibility is the potential development of long-lasting relationships with clients I can also call friends. There has to be a good fit to work together because we could potentially be working together for decades ahead,” says Eric.
Part of that potential connection is client engagement. “I want to work with clients who are excited about their financial planning needs and their financial futures, and they want guidance getting there,” says Eric. “They tend to be individuals approaching retirement or those going through the stages of retirement. I love working with people and helping them spend their money. We work together to determine the best ways to get the wealth they’ve accumulated out in a tax efficient way, to ensure they don’t run out of it, and to leave it to their next generation in the most efficient manner. This is where I find I can make the most impact and it’s where I find clients have the most need. It’s the most fun part of my job.”
IG is known for being a comprehensive financial planning institution and that philosophy extends into Eric’s own practice. “We focus on comprehensive planning. This includes everything from cash management to tax planning and investment management, we take a big focus on insurance and risk management, and then ultimately, we work on estate planning. This is essentially the evolution of someone’s financial life,” says Eric.
That evolving process focus is central to our client relationships. “Someone once said, and it’s always stuck with me, ‘wealth management is not an event or a discussion. It’s a process that’s built upon over a long period of time,’” says Eric. “It’s a series of many small decisions that lead to that positive outcome. This is what I feel my job is, working with people and helping them make meaningful decisions.”
In Eric’s office, the door is open for clients to be involved and it’s a priority to present financial concepts to them they can understand. “The process should be fun, exciting, engaging, and understandable,” says Eric. “It can be intimidating for most people, especially if they haven’t done this work before. So many people think they have a financial plan until they get an actual financial plan properly prepared. Having an investment account and saving for your retirement every month is hugely important and it is a necessity. But that in and of itself is not a plan. That’s where people tend to think they have a plan until they go through the process with an actual financial planner and they realize what they have or don’t have and what they actually need.”
Unfortunately, proper financial planning remains all too rare to this day. “Over the years, we’ve brought hundreds of clients into our practice, but I can probably count on one hand how many have come in with a financial plan prior to meeting with us,” says Eric. “I have always believed, and I continue to believe, that Canadians are extremely underserved when it comes to financial planning. I believe everyone deserves to have a financial plan as a roadmap to their financial future.”
Because Eric already feels his practice is at an ideal size to deliver them the level of personalized service he feels they deserve, new clients coming into the practice tend to be referrals from existing clients. His priority to connect and know them well begins with an initial two-to-three meetings. “In the first meeting we spend a lot of time talking about goals, what they want to get out of this process together, and how we define success in our relationship.” says Eric. “Then we talk about where they are now: what are they doing, what do they have, what strategies are already in place? Then we take a step back. My team and I prepare the financial plan and put together different strategies based on their goals. This includes structuring a path to take them from where they are today to where they want to be.”
Going forward, regular semi-annual meetings keep things on track. “We meet semi-annually to assess and recalibrate as life happens. It’s a simple process, but it’s a comprehensive process,” says Eric. “Shelving a plan and looking at it in five years is of no value. People’s lives are changing faster than ever and we have to adjust as goals or circumstances change. My approach is that we always continue working on that plan.”
Clients are comforted by the fact that not only does he bring incredible experience to the table, he’s also going to be here with them for decades to come. “My clients know there’s going to be a long-term relationship ahead,” says Eric. “In line with this, we are increasing our focus to bring our clients’ children into the practice, which brings many benefits. Eventually, the client’s wealth must transition. This focus provides the opportunity to educate the younger generation on how to manage money and to prepare for inheriting that wealth. It makes the overall transition much simpler when we have a common relationship with parents, grandparents, and children. We have a lot of families where we have three generations of clients.”
That family dynamic has been instrumental in Eric’s career journey. Coming from an entrepreneurial family himself, Eric continues the tradition. “It’s always been in my DNA that I would run my own business and be an entrepreneur. As much as I work for IG Wealth Management, we’re all self-employed here and this is my business. There’s always been a burning desire for me to work for myself.”
That drive started early as Eric first met with his parents’ financial advisor at 16-years old. “I always had a keen interest in the idea of growing my own wealth and my parents instilled that in me,” says Eric. “They made sure I got involved well before the thought of actually being a financial planner ever crossed my mind. Looking back to the 22-year-old who entered this profession where young people typically don’t thrive, I never imagined I would be where I am today. I love this profession and I never imagined the impact I would have on so many people. Working with 250 families each year, it’s hard to believe we’ve reached this point and I’m very proud of that. This is a particularly rewarding career because we do effect tremendous positive change on people’s lives.
Natalie Noble’s love of writing stems from her passion for hearing and sharing people’s stories. Over the years she has written for various business, real estate, and agriculture publications. At the heart of her work is a desire to continuously learn and connect.
Eric Lachance, H.B. Comm, RRC, CFP
Executive Financial Consultant
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
101-144 Pine St, Sudbury, ON P3C 1X3
(705) 674 4551 ext 256