“Investing does not have to be intimidating”
When Kelly Lindsey began her career in finance more than 25 years ago, she was a rare female Advisor in a field dominated by men. Being a woman in what could be perceived as a “man’s world” might be intimidating for a young woman fresh out of university, but for Kelly it wasn’t really an issue. “It was like a blind spot of youth,” she remembers. “This is what I wanted to do and I was doing it!”
It was the late nineties, and Kelly often found herself attending industry events where she was the only woman in a room of older men. Kelly’s confidence in her abilities superseded any doubts that may have otherwise crept in. In fact, looking back, Kelly believes that much of what she’s brought to the industry as a woman is what helped keep her career moving forward – and upward.
“I think there’s a different perspective that women bring to the role,” says Kelly. “We’re not necessarily interested in simply sounding smart when we speak to our clients. We actually want to know, how do they feel about their investments. How does this work for the family? Can we provide any understanding? What’s the big picture?” It’s a softer edge to advising – a real interest in and caring about the well-being of the person behind the investment. And that, says Kelly, is much appreciated and just as important as the investments themselves.
That sincere and personal approach to customer service is something she’s carried with her throughout her career, and it forms the basis of her practice today at Okanagan Wealth Management Group, a part of Raymond James Ltd. in Penticton, B.C.
“Our practice really thrives on customer service, which seems to be harder to find, especially since the pandemic,” she says. “Our customer service, which should be standard practice, is winning us clients and accolades from existing clients.” Kelly laughs, “it seems kind of crazy, you phone our office, and we answer!”
Just a small-town girl
Kelly comes by her friendly, almost easy-going approach to financial services honestly: she’s lived her entire life in the small Okanagan community of Penticton. Her grandparents worked and raised their kids in Naramata and later Penticton and her dad was a local business owner, so her roots run deep. “Anybody who’s lived in Penticton for any length of time, pretty quickly in the discussion we figure out where the commonalities are, who I know from their family and who they know from my family.”
Family is a pillar of Kelly’s practice. Helping families through different life stages is one of the most rewarding aspects of her career. “We’re seeing the rewards of working with the same clients for multiple decades through the generations. We’ve got the grandparents as clients. We’ve got the parents. And now we’ve got the young adults. So to have three generations of one family, and to see them go through all the different lifecycles and achieve their financial goals is pretty rewarding.”
Kelly’s career began in the credit union system. Working at a credit union allowed for more independence because it wasn’t owned by a big bank, and provided Kelly with many opportunities to develop and hone her approach to customer service. “When I worked at a local Credit Union, for years I was the only wealth management specialist in the branch,” she says. “Clients from all walks of life would come in. I’d have multi-millionaires in and go over their portfolio. The next meeting would be a young family setting up their children’s education savings plan. It was a great way to grow up in the industry.”
Today, her client list remains diverse. “We’re very mindful of keeping a balanced business,” she says. “But especially within our client family, and in our community, we’re quite happy to help new clients, new investors, to make sure they get a proper start. They could walk into a bank, open an investment plan, and put money into it, but it doesn’t really mean that’s the best thing for that young person. So we spend a bit more time and go over the groundwork, economics, and different investment plans. It’s a value add to some of our existing clients when they refer younger clients into our practice.”
Carrying on the family business
In January 2022, Kelly’s eldest daughter, Danelle, joined the practice as an associate Financial Advisor. Danelle is a perfect addition to the team – a young advisor who can relate well to many of the younger clients, and a succession plan for Kelly when the day comes (still a long way away) when she decides to retire. “She can carry on the family business,” says Kelly. “And clients take comfort in knowing that the next generation of Advisor is already here.”
Having that next generation in the business also allows Kelly to work towards the next evolution of her practice. “I’m 48 now, so I can see that I’m going to run out of time in my career doing everything that I want to do with the practice and bring it to a new era,” says Kelly. “She has me to trailblaze for her, and in the span of her career, she’ll be able to achieve things far greater than I was ever able to.”
What are some of the things Kelly is working towards? She’s in the process of becoming a discretionary Portfolio Manager. “The highest obligation of fiduciary duty to your clients is when you can make a move in a model portfolio which affects all the client’s holding that model,” she says. “It really allows Advisors to react to market conditions and provide the best possible service.”
The new title and the completion of the Chartered Investment Manager designation will be another designation on top of an already impressive list. In 2001 Kelly earned the gold standard of credentials, the Certified Financial Planner designation. In 2008 she earned the Financial Management Advisor designation and, in 2009, attained the most highly renowned designation, the Fellowship of the Canadian Securities Institute. Kelly also holds the Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA) designation.
Helping others is the greatest reward
Certainly, her many designations are a testament to Kelly’s skills and knowledge as an advisor, but the real test lies in what your clients think about you. In that area, Kelly is recognized as the best of the best. For two years in a row, the people in her community have awarded her the gold in their “Best of Penticton” awards, ranking her as the number one financial advisor in the city. She was also honoured to be named to the Globe and Mail’s inaugural Canada’s Top Wealth Advisors: Best in Province ranking, which showcases the most effective Advisors across Canada. “Never have I been so excited to be 34th in anything!”
Accolades aside, Kelly’s true reward in what she does comes from knowing that she’s making a difference in people’s lives. “It’s maybe not discussed as it should be, but financial security, there aren’t many things that are that important in a person’s life,” says Kelly. “If we can help a family feel financially secure, that’s pretty important work.”
Whether it’s guiding a young person through their first investments, helping a woman take control of her own finances, or assuring an older person that, yes, they do have the assets for a comfortable retirement, Kelly’s mission is to take the intimidation factor out of investing and wealth planning.
“It’s not an area where anyone needs to be intimidated,” says Kelly. “Sure, investing is a serious topic. But we make sure the client understands the plans that we can implement for them, and they’re working towards their goals. And that’s really fulfilling for them. Investments don’t have to be intimidating. We’re approachable people. And you can have fun with it.”
Investing can be fun. Just ask Penticton’s best Advisor. Better yet, ask one of her many happy clients.
Janice Tuff is a professional writer and communicator who got her start in radio copywriting.
Three decades later, she continues to draw upon the valuable lessons learned in her radio days: grab your audience’s attention quickly and always tell an engaging tale.
Kelly Lindsey, Financial Advisor
Okanagan Wealth Management Group
Raymond James Ltd.*
465 Ellis Street
Penticton, BC, V2A 4M1
Office: 250 - 487 - 2000
Raymond James Ltd. is a Member Canadian Investor Protection Fund