MATT LEBLANC, Regional Director - PLAN. FIN, Capitale-Nationale , QUEBEC, CANADA
“Helping a Team of Advisors Do Better For Their Clients, Providing the Keys To a Better Financial Destination.”
Regional Director Matt Leblanc is an experienced Financial Planner, Group Savings Representative, and Financial Security Advisor who leads a dynamic team of Advisors in the province of Quebec. Teamwork and discipline are the keys to success for Matt, who once made his living playing team sports. As a football player Matt was fortunate to win three national championships while playing for the University of Laval which led him to a career in professional sports in Europe, Canada and the USA.
“I was praised as an MVP and made a living playing sports,” says Matt. “I retired from football at a very young age and realized that I needed a plan B. I wanted to find something that in some way resembled what I’d experienced in team sports – a competitive and participative environment. I also wanted to help people. I had many friends in the financial services industry, so, a mentor took me under his wing and introduced me to the classes, licensing and certification I would need to get to become a Financial Planner.”
Matt also recognized that once upon a time he was seeking financial advice himself and didn’t get the right advice from the people he spoke with in the industry. After retiring from sports and obtaining his licensing and certification, he made the decision to become a self-employed consultant.
“I returned to Canada and got my roots back home,” explains Matt. “I knew the need for Financial Planning was big and I did my due-diligence while contemplating who I wanted to work with. IG had an actual full-fledged financial planning approach that actually connected with an entrepreneurial model. IG’s client first approach and holistic model of planning led me to my decision to work with them. I think it speaks volumes that 10 years later I’m still happy with the decision I made.”
Matt became a Regional Director 5 years ago in 2015. When the opportunity came about to follow the path of leadership, he openly accepted the responsibility. Matt’s region has an extended mandate of covering the entire Ottawa-Gatineau area as well as Montreal and Quebec City. He considers himself as “wide-spread as it gets” and fortunate to experience the diversity of his client-base.
“I’ve been with IG for 10 years but I became a Regional Director 5 years ago,” says Matt. “I think my decision to change roles can best be explained by an important question I asked myself. Do you want to help one client at a time – or do you want to help a whole team of Advisors do better for all of their clients? I think that when that question came to my mind it was a no-brainer for me. I was always a team player but now I could have an impact on others in a leadership role.”
Bridging the “Service-Distancing” Gap
As a Regional Manager, Matt experiences some level of distance with members of his team at all times because he can’t be in multiple places at once. He credits IG for providing him with the best tools to enable him, his Divisional Directors and Financial Advisors to provide great service to clients even while separated. The Covid-19 pandemic has also highlighted the strength of IG’s ability to utilize modern technology and innovation to bridge any gaps in what Matt refers to as “service-distancing.”
“Although we are widespread, I think I have to thank IG first and foremost for the great tools at our disposal to make sure that we can respond to client needs during this pandemic,” explains Matt. “Geographically we may be kilometers apart but I think the proximity we are able to create with clients is better now more than ever. Nothing is better than meeting in person but we can still maintain a client-centric approach with the tools we have to bridge the gap of what we call “social distancing” – which I prefer to call “service distancing.” The landscape may be different but our role to be present for our clients has never been more important. I think my Directors across different cities feel the same way.”
Matt credits technology and great planning tools that can be used virtually. Seminars and knowledge sharing are also key.
“It’s our job to educate people with choices, reason, facts and tools to support them in their financial decision-making process,” adds Matt. “It’s important that we can show clients in real time what the impact is to choose A versus B and provide quantitative and qualitative advice. We want to help clients take part and feel that they’re not just spectators – they actually have a say. We have the DNA of a financial planning firm but we also have the tools that add value to the service we provide. We can make sure that the client experience is always at its apex.”
Community and Team Involvement
In his role as Regional Director Matt has been busy acquainting himself with the individual cities within his purview. His dedication to his work has not left a lot of time for much else, however his community involvement spans the province via the many communities where he provides mentorship.
“I have a small place to stay in each of the cities I work in and I get to know a bit more about each community and how they work each time I visit,” explains Matt. “I wasn’t brought up in these communities but I get to meet the people – not only my Advisors but the people they serve as well. While I have personally donated money and/or time to various charitable foundations I also encourage my Advisors to have a cause so that we can participate as a region. We make sure that whatever we do we can have the biggest impact – business to business, corporation to corporation or foundation to charity. Slowly but surely we are able to contribute in the distinct regions that we operate in.”
While Matt is happily retired from professional sports, he does not miss an opportunity to convert physical activity and coaching into community involvement or fundraising.
“Today I prefer no-contact sports such as cycling or tennis and I do a bit of broadcasting on TV and radio as an analyst,” says Matt. “I’ve coached spring camps and, in the past, have always devoted two to three weekends per year to participate in different speaking engagements.”
Matt’s team is encouraged to be engaged and get involved, stressing the importance of participative involvement rather than competition.
“From top down, from our CEO to the janitor – any one of my offices can play a role,” adds Matt. “When you go into the office on Monday mornings no one claps, there aren’t 50,000 people chanting your name – but you have to get up for a reason. If we can emphasize the participative side of things rather than the competitive side that's what engagement looks like.”
A Team with a Strategic Plan
Matt believes that a team without a strategic plan is “just a bunch of people” so he ensures that his team has a concrete plan for helping clients which he refers to as the “playbook”. The IG ™ Living Plan suits this sports analogy well – an adaptable playbook that can be referred to year over year.
“We want to create a clear line from where we are to where we want to go,” explains Matt. “Obstacles will come up, there'll be a bunch of things along the way, but when you have a team of strategic planners to keep you in alignment and you have people who fundamentally care (which is what I believe my Advisors do) they'll fight to that decimal point and do whatever needs to be done to meet your goals. I know it's a cliché but when you care it takes planning to a whole new level. I think we differentiate ourselves this way and it's something that we pride ourselves on.”
Matt emphasizes that a plan can take time to execute, and long-term relationships are important.
“We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in five to ten years or even longer,” explains Matt. “It’s a lot more difficult to perceive distance and time in the realm of accomplishment. However, if we can put things in perspective on paper it becomes a visual aid and an objective to accomplish long term goals. Drawing that portrait of what can happen in the long term is definitely essential to a strategic plan.”
It’s About a Better Destination
Ultimately, Matt’s goal is to help people make it to a better destination with their financial goals whether long, mid or short-term.
“To be honest we don’t do this for a thank you but it’s great when clients do say thank you – not necessarily after a meeting but many years down the road,” explains Matt. “When a client has reached retirement, a child has been born, a first home has been purchased, an estate is properly settled – whatever life-changing event has occurred – they’re going through it and experiencing it and as an advisor you know you’ve been there to help. You’ve asked the tough questions and been proactive with strategies, things have come full circle and you get that little email that says thank you for tangibly contributing to their success. Getting a client from A to B – or whatever letter of the alphabet their GPS is going to bring them to – I think that’s the best part of what we do. What gets me most excited is knowing that we have the keys to help clients drive to a better destination.”
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.
Matthew Leblanc Pl. Fin.
Directeur Régional / Regional Director
Services financiers Groupe Investors, Québec / Investors Group Financial Services, Quebec
Bureau régional Dorval-Gatineau | 176
1675 Route Transcanadienne Suite 300
Dorval, Qc, H9P 1J1
514-822-4270 ext : 6254