JAKE LEE, CFP®, Financial Consultant, IG Wealth Management, Vancouver, B.C.
"Helping clients become wealthy and protect it."
After nearly 15 years in wealth management and financial planning, Jake Lee, CFP, financial consultant, IG Wealth, has developed an appreciation for the intricacies of the practice. “Over time, what I’ve realized is that long-term planning, growth, and big goals are all very important,” he says. “But it’s the small advice and small decisions happening more often that are crucial in achieving long-term goals.”
Jake refers to his commitment to his clients as a “frequent contact model.” “I’m answering those calls and questions while giving little pieces of advice to them whenever they need it,” he says. “I encourage all my clients to call me before they pull the trigger or make any decisions. It’s much easier to stay ahead of any problem or issue and point them in the right direction than to go in and fix it later. My role is to be there along the way as they work towards their long-term prime.”
That includes encouraging clients to reach out with questions anytime a unique situation arises requiring creative decision making. Jake believes approachability and accessibility are essential. “As a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), not only do I know the rules and regulations, but more importantly we’re skilled and trained to analyze the situation, compare possible outcomes in front of the client, and ensure they can make really informed decisions,” he says. “I’m always happy to do the analysis around any choices my clients are facing and quantifying the impacts for each. It’s all to help them make the better decision, but also to make it more easily with confidence.”
Embracing challenge & creating opportunity
The journey of Jake’s career that’s brought him to where he is today is an inspirational path of embracing challenge and creating opportunity. In 2003 at just 20 years of age, he left his home in Korea where he had attended one year of university in an undergraduate law faculty. “I came to Canada to learn some English studying at the University of British Columbia before I committed fully to my legal career,” he recalls. “I realized then that I wouldn’t be able to finish the program and ultimately become a legal professional in Canada with my international student status back then. So, I changed programs and ended up in economics.”
As he neared the end of his program, Jake attended a career fair for the economics department. A chance meeting there ultimately shaped his future. One of the speakers delivered a speech that captured his attention. “The way he delivered his speech, the information he shared, and the way he felt about his job, he just really stood out and it was amazing,” says Jake. “I applied and got an interview.”
Leveraging the opportunity presented, Jake secured his first job in the wealth management business with Investors Group (IG). “Looking back, getting the job was the easiest thing,” he says. “I started in 2008. Two months after that, the world was melting down with the financial crisis.”
His initial position saw him then progress to join a successful team as an associate advisor. “This is where I learned most of my practical financial investment and management skills and put them to work. They were an amazing group of people. I learned a lot from them and we’re still good friends today,” says Jake.
Becoming restless, Jake moved on to RBC and then remained in the banking sector for several years including just over 4 years with CIBC. In his first year, he was placed as top 10 in the country within CIBC’s Mobile Investment Consultant Network and then made it all the way to number one for the remainder of his time there. “Then, I moved into a relationship management role at CIBC because I liked on-going advisory relationships with clients,” he says.
Coming full circle
Finally, Jake’s career came full circle last June when he returned to IG to carry out his frequent contact initiative for a niche of clients too often overlooked in wealth management services. “Since 2008, large banks have absolutely dominated the wealth management industry here in Canada and that domination has lowered the standard of advice available to people,” he says. “Even in 2008 to 2011, we were doing awesome planning for the average clients. Now to get that similar quality of service, you are expected to have north of 2 million dollars in investable assets.”
From Jake’s viewpoint, those clients with capital in the $250,000 to $2 million range are often the people who need advice the most, but they’re also a typically ignored population. Too complex for the typical retail advisors, but too small for high-end brokerages, he sees service only growing worse for this bracket.
“The people sitting in this range are being taken advantage of,” he says. “My value is to bring this quality advice to those who need and deserve it. It’s our job to help them become wealthy and protect it. That is what we are paid to do.” It’s an initiative he more recently found out is in the blood. “It’s funny that dad worked at one of the largest insurance companies in Korea back in the day for 30 years,” says Jake. “My grandfather was a banker during the post Japanese-invasion period when Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. A banker back then was a really big deal. My great-grandfather, who gave me my name, was a founding member of the Bank of Korea.”
Finding out that his ancestors were also financial people while no one had told him until his father finally did, Jake has once again come full circle. He’s now settled with his family, including children aged two and four, in Vancouver. “Living in one of the least affordable cities in the world is certainly not an easy thing to do.” he says. “But the nature, the mountains, the ocean, and the culture here amount to much more than all that struggle, I believe.”
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.
Jake Lee, B.A., CFP
1800-666 Burrard Street,
Vancouver, BC, V6C 2X8