JOCELYN DUNCAN, CIM, CFP, FLMI, CPCA Vice President Regional Sales, Franklin Templeton Investments
“Navigating life’s uncharted waters, staying the course.”
VICE PRESIDENT OF REGIONAL SALES Jocelyn Duncan may have been born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan but her heart belongs to the West Coast. Relocating to Vancouver Island approximately 20 years ago, Jocelyn has never looked back. Charting her course for a successful career as an investment wholesaler, Jocelyn has spent the past two decades living a life of both personal and professional fulfillment with the ocean by her side. In 1996 Jocelyn got her start at Manulife Financial in Saskatchewan.
“When I first started out in my career, most of the roles that I held were lower to middle management positions,” explains Jocelyn. “And that’s how my career progressed until about the year 2000 when I was approached with an opportunity to become an investment sales professional or investment wholesaler. At the time there were very few women in the industry, though there were a few trailblazers who paved the way. I was living in Saskatchewan and became the first female wholesaler in the province.”
Even though Jocelyn was performing well, a change in management motivated her to kick her high gear performance even higher. Manulife then approached her with an offer to relocate to Vancouver Island. Jocelyn would go on to make Vancouver Island’s top 40 under 40 list.
“At that point in my career it was 2003 or 2004 and I was Wholesaler of the Year consecutively for two years,” says Jocelyn. “Things were really taking off but there was eventually a career plateau that I hit and to progress beyond it with Manulife I would have had to relocate to a city like Toronto if I wanted to pursue a role in national sales. I was in love with Vancouver Island and could not imagine relocating. It was a sacrifice I had to make because it was not the norm to be able to work from anywhere the way we do today – if you wanted to pursue more advanced roles you had to live where the corporate offices were located.”
West Coast Hustle
Jocelyn’s desire to remain on the Island meant looking for new opportunities without having to relocate.
“After Manulife I spent five years at RBC Asset Management,” says Jocelyn. “Following that I decided to take a chance and pursue a role on the client-facing side of the business. I took a shot at becoming an Investment Counsellor with Connor Clark and Lunn Private Capital. I knew very quickly that I had taken a wrong turn on my career path.”
Fortunately, Jocelyn’s detour was a happy accident that allowed her to focus on what she really wanted in her career.
"The greatest thing happened when I recognized my mistake because I recognized and appreciated that I had left behind a career that I truly loved,” explains Jocelyn. “A friend of mine pointed this out to me and asked why I stopped doing a job that I was really great at and seemed to love“. “You were happy and now you’re miserable” she said. It was a tough thing for me to admit that I had made a mistake and it was not working out. While I did have some successes as an Investment Counsellor, the role wasn’t bringing me any joy. I had to ask myself what I really wanted to be doing for the next decade and when I was able to admit to myself that this wasn’t it, I was also able to see that it was Ok that this wasn’t it.”
Jocelyn’s next step was to reach out to her network and any head-hunters she had been in contact with over the years. Finally, she reconnected with Duane Green, the CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments in Canada. Jocelyn joined Franklin Templeton in 2018 after discussing available opportunities with Duane.
“I had a fresh perspective on my job at the time that I started working with Franklin Templeton,” says Jocelyn. “I’d done this job for a long time with Manulife and RBC but at the time that I left to try something different, I realized I’d taken so much of it for granted. I was excited to be able to come back with a fresh perspective. I came back proud of what I was doing every day – energized.”
West Coast Living
Outside of the office Jocelyn lives with her husband and family of pets which includes a twoyear-old Golden Retriever (and popular neighbourhood fixture) named Jaxon. As a busy professional accustomed to a jet-setting lifestyle, staying at home has not been easy for her but she keeps balanced by taking long walks and listening to podcasts. Jocelyn is also passionate about the welfare of animals.
“I like podcasts that get my mind off of financial things,” explains Jocelyn. “It’s nice to think about something else and have a good laugh. My top three: Armchair Expert, Smartless and Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend. I walk, I listen and in about 45 minutes I feel energized and recharged. While I do walk my dog around the neighbourhood where he is very well-known, I tend to go on solo hikes. I’m like Hilary Clinton and I go into the woods by myself,” she quips.
In addition to hiking Jocelyn enjoys a lot of time on the water as an avid paddle boarder. She has recently discovered a way to incorporate her favourite activity at the gym with her favourite water sport.
“One of my newest passions is pedal paddle boarding,” says Jocelyn. “Picture a Stairmaster on top of a paddle board. You have handlebars like a step machine, and you step to propel yourself along in the water. I motor all over the ocean and have even challenged the odd kayaker to a friendly race.”
The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
After making the move to Vancouver Island, Jocelyn was also very happy to lend her expertise to an MBA mentoring program at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.
“The mentoring program at Gustavson pairs a business student with a member of the business community,” explains Jocelyn. “It began as a really interesting experiment and grew exponentially over the years. If a student was interested in financial services, they might be matched with someone like myself. I have participated for the past 17 years and I have mentored female students exclusively. I have met foreign students and people from diverse educational backgrounds including MBA students. The experience has been fascinating and I’ve really gotten so much out of it.”
Jocelyn says that she adds a lot of value for her mentees by introducing students to many of the “soft skills” that are often overlooked.
“I always say to them, you know, I can't help you with your homework, but I can help with some of the things I wish I’d been taught,” says Jocelyn. “For example – networking. How do you work a room at a cocktail party? What are some of the things that you should avoid? You can be smart – but developing soft skills can really make the difference between exceptional success and mediocre success in your career.”
One of only a Few Female Wholesalers in Canada
Jocelyn’s students also benefit from her unique position as being one of only a few Canadian female wholesalers in the industry today. She leverages her unique experience to demonstrate the importance of keeping an open mind when it comes to the future.
“After 20 years in the industry there are still relatively few female wholesalers in Canada,” explains Jocelyn. “Really there is no reason for that, other than when I have asked senior management, they say that not many females are applying for roles like this anymore. That said, roles like this are evolving and, in the future, they will look different so maybe more women will be interested in applying. I always explain to the students I mentor that the job I have today wasn’t even invented at the time that I first started out like them and they should be prepared for anything to happen.”
Jocelyn’s boss, Elizabeth (Liz) Bouthillier, works out of Montreal and is one of only two female leaders that she has worked with during her career. Jocelyn has a “great deal of appreciation and respect” for Liz and these feelings are clearly mutual.
“Jocelyn brings a tremendous amount of wealth of experience to our team and to her clients,” says Elizabeth. “From her experience in portfolio design with high-net-worth clients in her previous role – to her continuous pursuit of designations – it all translates to a keen understanding of how best to partner with the investment advisors she works with. A great example is Jocelyn’s proactivity in helping advisors prepare their practice to deal with aging clients. She is well equipped to assist in that regard, having completed her Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA) designation. She has also presented her workshop “The Ethics of Aging” to hundreds of advisors.”
Before the pandemic Jocelyn’s travel schedule was a busy one, an aspect of her work that she deeply loves. Speaking engagements have been on hold and global travel has been shelved while governments across the globe struggle to contain the Covid-19 virus. Jocelyn worries that the future may look very different for wholesalers like herself.
“Fast-forward to 2020 and so much of what I love about this job, the travel and the speaking engagements – it’s all on hold for the foreseeable future,” says Jocelyn. “I’ve been adjusting to this new virtual world and it’s the most time I’ve been at home in 20 years. I was fortunate enough to be part of the glory days with the benefits of global travel and conferences and all the great things that make this job a lot of fun. I’m afraid that due to the pandemic, people may not get to have these experiences anymore.”
A Long View Approach to Investing
Jocelyn believes in sticking to a plan and taking a “long view” approach to investing. Even when the markets are fluctuating, this strategy is at the core of her advice.
“The truth is that these events are unfortunate but can also bring a lot of opportunities,” explains Jocelyn. “When we think about how our lives have changed under the pandemic – more reliance on technology than ever, a dependence on online retailers like Amazon, biotech, healthcare – industries bringing things that would have been down the road to the forefront now out of necessity – it’s important to have good professional money managers making investment decisions for you. The alternative is getting spooked into cashing in on investments and investing in something like a GIC and earning nothing.”
In a time when people face a lot of “noise” in the background of their lives – fake news, targeted online marketing – Jocelyn stresses the importance of going directly to your investment professional to get the facts.
“People face an uphill battle to fight the influx of conflicting information online,” says Jocelyn. “The media has learned how to engage us with dramatic content. “Just the facts” does not always engage us as much as say – an endless stream of negative tweets. In fact, doom scrolling on Twitter or Facebook is something that people now do daily. Being spurred into action by the constant media feed is a cause for concern because it can lead to bad decision making.”
Jocelyn understands that current events have shaken people’s faith in the markets. The temptation to move money around and unload assets is fueled by the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“With everything that’s going on, people aren’t thinking of staying the course and staying where they are,” explains Jocelyn. “People are thinking they need to diverge from their current plan and do something different because the economy has changed. Many professionals are saying the opposite – stay where you are, and things will be ok. I teach a seminar called Uncharted Waters that speaks specifically to staying the course during times of adversity. So, whether it is a pandemic or some other global event causing a shift, we have always had events always within the markets. I always ask people what has changed with you? Because it doesn’t really matter what’s changing “out there” it matters if you’re planning to retire soon or your family situation has changed. I believe in a well-diversified portfolio with professional managers steering the ship. You’ll know that they’re making adjustments for you, looking for opportunities and watching out for you.”
Uncharted Waters, Staying the Course
While the pandemic has changed the investment landscape for many people, Jocelyn believes that it has also changed how we think about the act of investing itself.
“What we’ve been going through now has been terrifying,” explains Jocelyn. “People are concerned for their jobs. Companies are realizing they can cut costs and carry a leaner
workforce. Now it’s even more important that people stick with their financial plan and have something consistent in their lives. The concept of a long-term strategy has evolved over the years. Ten years was considered long term, three to five years mid-term and short term was two years. Now it is not uncommon for someone to think that two years is long-term. Checking their accounts daily, worrying about market fluctuations – not realizing that it’s been proven that the more you look at short term fluctuations the greater the perception that you’re losing money while a true long-term plan will demonstrate gains most of the time.”
Jocelyn says that the shift to daily online account monitoring is a far cry from the past where an investor would have to wait for their account statement in the mail – an occurrence that would happen annually or even semi-annually at best.
“Over time statements have become paperless and moved online,” explains Jocelyn. “During the pandemic, as people are stuck indoors at home, many are thinking they’ll just grab a cup of coffee and check in on their investments to see how they’re performing. As a result, some investors do things that do not necessarily have the desired outcome. The good news is that investors who trust an advisor are less likely to act on impulse. Working with an investment professional is kind of like working with a fitness trainer – we motivate, educate and condition you to flex the right muscles at the right times. Most importantly, we help you stay on course to meet your goals.”
April Potter is a veteran writer with expertise in financial services including nearly 15 years in debt restructuring. April has written for multiple online publications on a variety of subjects and offers a range of social media. Also a painter, her background in finance is balanced by her artistic endeavors.
Vice President Regional Sales,
Franklin Templeton Investments Canada
Vancouver Island & the BC Interior
250 216 7137