“I've always been a proponent for giving back
and engaging in philanthropic endeavours”
Step into the world of Geoff Funke, Senior Wealth Advisor at Scotia Wealth Management through his remarkable journey in the realm of finance and how it’s been shaped by his commitment to philanthropy and community engagement. Drawing inspiration from his childhood memories and early career days, Geoff’s experiences have instilled in him a unique perspective on making a positive impact on wealth management all while fostering meaningful connections along the way.
Geoff’s ability to navigate the complexities of wealth planning and leveraging tax-efficient strategies for his clients is one of his many accomplishments in this industry. With a keen interest in client relations, Geoff has not only guided his clients toward financial success, but he has also cultivated lasting relationships based on trust, care, and personalized attention.
The Journey to Wealth Management in Beautiful British Columbia
Geoff’s early career days began when he moved to British Columbia. “After completing my education in Saskatchewan, where I was born and raised, I moved out to British Columbia after discovering that there was such a stunning province in Canada that stayed above freezing temperatures all year around,” he explains. “While it took me over two decades to realize this, I am still very grateful I took the plunge in starting a life in this province.”
During his early years, Geoff dove head-first into wealth management, bouncing around a couple of times before landing a position as Branch Manager, Investment Advisor with another bank-owned dealer. “At this time, I spent a significant portion of my career in management before deciding that it was time to explore other career avenues,” Geoff says. “After meeting with several competing firms, I decided to move to Scotia Wealth Management in 2014.”
Nurturing Community: Geoff’s dedication to giving back and making a difference
Geoff's childhood experiences and memories continue to influence his work today, particularly in terms of the value he places on community engagement and giving back. “I grew up in southern Saskatchewan on a farm just two miles from a local town called Claybank,” he says. “I remember spending my younger years attending church, having summer picnics, and attending the annual baseball tournament and sports day.” Geoff recalls there being a strong sense of community in his hometown. “Both my parents were active members in the community, always lending a helping hand to others. During one late harvest season, my dad finished his work early and headed straight over to his brother's home down the road to help him finish up his farming before the frost set in.”
By the time Geoff moved to BC and started a family, he made a commitment to himself to maintain his community involvement. “I was involved with the Rotary Club of Langley before moving to South Surrey while my kids were still young. By 2012, I was asked to join the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation based on my work and sponsoring several golf tournaments in the area,” Geoff says. “By 2013, I joined the Peace of Arch Foundation as a board member,” he says. “I spent the next nine years actively involved in my community gathering donations and supporting initiatives that enhance the hospital campus and the health and wellness of White Rock and South Surrey communities.”
In recognizing the need for stewardship and collaboration, Geoff proposed splitting the Foundation into two legs– one focused on the hospital campus and the other focused on supporting healthy communities, smaller foundations, and nonprofits in the area. “Although this initiative was well underway before my arrival, with many grants already provided, I played a large role in its expansion,” Geoff says. “With this, I was exposed to the ins and outs of philanthropic endeavours, and many other not-for-profit associations, all with their own story”
Philanthropy and Wealth Management
“Since moving to BC, I still have a strong sense of community deeply ingrained in me,” he says. “I’ve always been a proponent of philanthropy and giving back, so it only makes sense to incorporate it into my business as well.” As mentioned in The Funke Group e-book on The Responsibility of Wealth, philanthropy is a building block; not just for the creation of multigenerational wealth, but as a way for younger generations to strengthen their financial identity and begin to participate in family decision-making.
Geoff emphasizes philanthropic planning to help his clients align their financial goals with charitable giving and make a positive impact in their communities. “I talk to clients and prospects about being tax-efficient with their wealth,” he explains. “Oftentimes, I tend to attract clients that carry a similar mindset in philanthropy. Not only does this open the playbook to being more tax efficient with their wealth, but it brings in a whole other side of investment management when speaking with people about how much they want to give, and most importantly, where they want to give.”
Geoff’s work with the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation provided valuable insights into philanthropy and community initiatives. “Philanthropy is a personal choice that anyone can make,” he explains. “Rather than advising where to give, I encourage my clients to explore the different options that resonate with their personal values.”
Rethinking Your Investment Strategies
Geoff differentiates himself from other Senior Wealth Advisors by challenging the traditional fixed-income/equity strategy. “When we were brought up in this industry, many wealth advisors, like myself, were taught to use the traditional 40/60 split fixed income/equity strategy,” Geoff explains. “Though, at the time, it worked extremely well, this was back when interest rates were much higher. The availability of traditional bonds became very limited over the years as most were purchased by pension funds, mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds. As a result, buying a pooled fixed income was really the only way to get a diversified portfolio of bonds. Buying this type of investment for fixed income is not the same as buying individual bonds and brings in another level of risk that most investors do not appreciate.”
Geoff is a big believer in planning for his clients, not only their investment assets but all of their wealth. He believes that it is his responsibility to help his clients look beyond their life, to the next generation and beyond. “Jokingly a lot of clients say they want to spend everything, but with the proliferation of wealth, it is important to plan for the transition of that wealth. When we are doing estate planning, I inform my clients that there are three places where your money can go: your heirs, charity, or the government, you can eliminate one, which would you choose.” Geoff explains. “At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping money in my client’s pockets by giving less to the government and keeping more for themselves and their family” he explains. “By paying less tax on the investment income you earn, your net income is much higher. I often have clients reaching out to me after tax time, surprised at how little tax they had to pay, one thought she was going to get in trouble with CRA.”
Building Trust, Fostering Relationships, and Sharing a Wealth of Experience
As a Senior Wealth Advisor, Geoff’s values are displayed through his passion for his work and the relationships he builds with his clients. His clients appreciate his commitment to his job and the personalized care and attention he provides. By treating every client like family and demonstrating a genuine interest in their lives, Geoff fosters trust and long-term loyalty.
“I’m very proud to say that I still have clients that have been with me now for 26 years,” he says. “Over the years, I learn about my clients’ families and eventually, members of their families become my clients as well.”
With his wealth of knowledge, years of experience, and consideration for client success and long-term financial growth, Geoff is an exceptional mentor in the industry. “As a former branch manager, I spent over a decade managing advisors and clients,” he says. “I was able to learn a lot about how people manage their businesses, and I came to realize that watching people do the wrong things was more valuable than watching them do the right things.”
Fast forward to recent years as a Senior Wealth Advisor, many of Geoff’s long-term clients serve as his mentors, even though they’re not directly involved in wealth management. “It’s important for me to understand how my clients accumulate and grow their wealth over time,” he says. “Having great mentors and years of my own experience under my belt has given me the edge in this business,” he says. “Everything that I recommend to my clients, I’ve done myself in the past, or more importantly, am currently doing today.”
Geoff advises aspiring professionals entering the wealth management industry to seek mentorship and alignment with experienced individuals or teams. “Though the barriers to entry in the business are higher than ever before, aspiring advisors should team up and learn from other professionals in the industry,” he says. “In the coming decade or so, this industry is expected to witness a significant wave of retirements across Canada. So, with more jobs available and fewer people coming into our business, there is plenty of opportunity!”
Pursuing Personal Triumphs
Stepping outside of the realm of wealth management, Geoff has found personal triumph in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. “I love racing in triathlons,” he says. “It all started in my late thirties when I wanted to shed some pounds and feel energized. In fact, this was a large part of the reason why I was asked to head up the healthy community initiative with the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation.”
In his first year of training, Geoff accomplished several running events and completed his first half Ironman race. “Since then, I have done a total of 11 half Ironmans and 2 full Ironman races, one in Penticton and the other one in Texas.” While he no longer competes in Ironman races due to the extensive time commitment, he continues to stay active in the triathlon community. “This year, I’ve competed in an Olympic distance triathlon in Hawaii called Lava Man and have completed a race in Victoria called Aqua Bike.”
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Geoff Funke, Scotia Wealth Management
Senior Wealth Advisor
1676 Martin Drive Suite 100
Surrey, BC V4A6E7
604 - 535 - 4721