GORDON BROST, PFP, Division Director, IG Wealth Management, Halifax, Nova Scotia
"Knowing we’re making a real difference
in a client’s financial future is incredibly rewarding"
Gordon Brost, Division Director with IG Wealth in Halifax, is a natural leader with a passion for education. “My life has always had an educational theme and that starts with myself, continues to my team, and then to our clients,” says Gordon, more commonly known as Gord. “I’ve always loved helping people to learn more.”
That love of education, coupled with a foundational knack for business, has driven Gord through 26 years in the wealth management and financial planning business. “I’ve always had an acute awareness right from a young age that for the average Canadian family, there didn’t seem to be a lot of financial information and assistance, perhaps when they needed it most,” says Gord. “It’s always been on my mind, especially coming from a blue-collar family. There just wasn’t the knowledge and support of the options that were available to families.”
That awareness plays a big role in Gord’s practice still today. “When I work with individuals who may not initially realize their financial potential and retirement opportunities, I am eager to help them realize what they actually can achieve,” says Gord. “When we put together a solid financial plan for them, along with some guidance towards small effective savings adjustments and strategies, we can change their lives. And that’s the most rewarding part of my work.”
The education advantage
Throughout this process, Gord works in a supportive role to educate his clients about the financial concepts and practices that can make all the difference to their families and their futures. “They deserve, and I think they demand, someone who is transparent, who can educate them, support, and lead them through the process,” he says.
Fortunately, Gord is not only a natural teacher and coach, he is a trained and experienced one. “When I graduated from the University of Alberta, I was a teacher. I started in the Faculty of Education with a major in Business,” he recalls, adding that he taught classes, including accounting, but felt compelled by a strong desire to enter the business world himself. “I moved from teaching into the finance world. Everything I’ve ever done is with a commitment to working with my team and continuing to learn new ideas and strategies. Coming from this educational focus, I always want our clients to come away from our interactions with something new.”
Leaving formal teaching behind, Gord spent five years with an independent firm in his hometown of Edmonton doing financial planning from 1995 to 1999. Next, he moved into the banking sector for 20 years, finally settling in Halifax in 2010. This was a formative time as Gord guided clients through the tech bubble of the early 2000s, and the 2008 major market correction and mortgage crisis. “I’ve been through these circumstances in the market and worked to provide people advice, helping them walk through it,” says Gord. “I’ve seen all of this and lived through it as well. This makes everything more real when I talk with individuals about their portfolios. Some event will always take place in our futures, as we saw last spring when COVID first hit.”
That experience means Gord can share his deep understanding around what happens within the markets when worldwide events take place. “From a global standpoint, markets will always ebb and flow, straining for correction and balance,” he says. “But I’m able to tell clients, ‘here’s what we know we can do to take back some control during these events. Even better, here’s what we can do in advance to make sure you’re already prepared for anything in the best possible way.’”
Never sitting back, Gord is a destined lifelong learner who puts a great emphasis on continued education. Not satisfied with his undergraduate Business Major, he earned his MBA degree at Dalhousie University in 2014 even while having moved across the country to Halifax with young children at home. “I earned my graduate level MBA degree with a specialty in Financial Services,” says Gord. “That is a high point of my learning. It took a lot of focus and dedication.”
Still, Gord continues to complete more programs and courses. “I’m always working towards more education. Earning my accreditations is a major priority for me,” he says. “I have my Personal Financial Planner designation and I’m currently working on my Certified Financial Planner designation. Continued education and professional development in this industry is essential because so much is changing all the time. There’s always something new to experience and every day is a learning opportunity. That goes for me, it goes for my team, and it trickles down to our clients.”
Empowering the client
Serving as Division Manager for IG Wealth in Halifax, Gord’s job is balance of his passions. “Day to day work for me is a real combination of working with my team and working with my clients. We’re continually working to increase the level of awareness and understanding around the latest and most advanced financial concepts within our team,” says Gord. “But I also spend much of my day focused on my clients. My role is unique in that I get to enjoy both a management and a client focus. It’s great, I love the variety in the day with that.”
While Gord and his team serve a wide range of clients, many are young families, a group he especially enjoys working with. “Our services are very broad based at this time,” says Gord. That includes leading clients and their families through those unexpected life events that occur where individuals seek guidance, such as a major job relocation where a pension may be withdrawn. “There are so many circumstances where people can feel like they don’t know what to do,” says Gord. “They’re looking for someone to ask all of these questions to, someone who can guide them along. And that’s okay, this is just not their area of expertise. To walk away from these conversations knowing we’ve made a real difference towards their financial future it's incredibly rewarding.”
While Gord is enthusiastic about the planning aspect of his client work, he also has a great respect for the emotional intelligence and connection involved. “To have an understanding and empathy for what an individual is experiencing and help them understand the market cycle of investments, it’s more than numbers,” he says. “It’s about how people feel when they’re going through any potential crisis that may take place.”
He breaks the process down to having fact-based but meaningful conversations with the client, reassuring them that everyone has their own area of expertise. “There are so many people out there who are experts within their own fields – teachers, entrepreneurs, whatever their passion is. They don’t have to be a financial expert,” he says. “They’re looking for help, they need some assistance and support, and that’s what I’m here for. I love working with people to increase their knowledge, awareness, and education around their own finances.”
For people ready to reach out for wealth management and financial planning services, Gord shares a few considerations to keep in mind. “Are you comfortable to ask the advisor any questions you have? Can they give you the information and responses you’re looking for in plain language you can understand?” he asks. “Because that honesty and transparency is important. The advisor should explain the financial concepts and practices you’re discussing in ways that make really clear sense to you. For me, it’s all about helping these individuals, increasing their understanding, and empowering them.”
Working in finance, charitable fundraising is a natural fit for Gord. “Everywhere I’ve been, it’s been important to give back,” he says. “I’ve been very involved with the Halifax Chapter for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada through a variety of events,” says Gord. “For one memorable Easter Seals fundraiser I repelled down a 25-story building in Halifax and down the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge.”
Never one to take downtime, Gord is also a volunteer sports coach. “I’m very involved with my two boys, aged 15 and 17,” he says. “I’ve spent lots of time coaching hockey and baseball and the whole family is very involved with volleyball here.”
Today, Gord has much to be excited about. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my team and my clients, helping people continue to navigate things into the future as we continue to experience COVID and all its associated unknowns,” says Gord. “I want to support people through all of this. It’s about making sure they’re comfortable, they have strong plans in place, and taking as much of that worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow off their shoulders.
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.
Gordon Brost, MBA
200-7001 Mumford Road,
Halifax, NS, B3L 4R3