- TESSA SMITH
MICHAEL ANDREWS, CFP, RFP, FCSI, CIM, FEA, Wealth Advisor The Andrews Group of Assante Capital Mgmt.
“I was an introvert and a stutterer, so my ability to be a hardcore salesperson was minimal.”
Michael Andrews, CFP®, RFP®, FCSI®, CIM®, FEA™, CEPA®, Wealth Advisor of The Andrews Group with Assante Capital Management Ltd., gives a hearty laugh telling me of these humbling early days of his successful wealth advising career now, despite the memories of the mid-1980’s, when rejection letters from Toronto and London brokerages were collecting in heaps.
Thirty-four years later, Mike leans back in his office chair at The Andrews Group in London, the crow’s feet around his eyes wrinkling with joy as he speaks delightedly of his life’s work and some of his proudest professional moments.
“The ‘aha’ moment for me is really when we start working with the second or third generation of a family. I feel a real sense of gratitude that, through generations, these families trust us to guide them through complexities and protect them from potential financial dangers. Many times, clients even seek out our opinions on non-financial, sensitive issues. This level of confidence really solidifies our vision of being a trusted family confidante. We’ve achieved that through equipping our team, both technically and interpersonally, to be able to transcend from generation to generation, adapting our services proactively as time goes on.”
Mike wants to have a positive, personal impact with clients that goes beyond just money.
Mike values connecting with you, and your families because of how connected he is to his own. He gained a genetic inheritance from his parents that has shaped the way he does business.
Growing up in what he lovingly refers to as the “thriving metropolis’” of Auburn Ontario, population of approx. 200 and attending high school in Goderich, Ontario -- population 12,000 -- Mike watched his mom come home from working at the bank to balance the Andrews’ household cheque book at the kitchen table. Attentive to her spirit of kindness, he inherited her genuine sense of curiosity about people and how to be sensitive to money management within personal finances. From his dad -- who worked in a factory and for 7 years co-owned a concrete business -- he learned a strong work ethic. Mike began to inhabit the words his father lived by: “if you’re gonna do a job, do it right or don’t do it at all.”
Mike took these inheritances and invested them in the lives of other people because he wanted to serve them. Every qualification he’s achieved, every life experience he’s sought, through every moment of rejection, Mike has come out the other side not only compassionate, but extremely skilled in the wealth advisory industry.
“The Andrews Group promotes asking courageous questions. You can’t just ask questions in the spectrum of wealth management; you have to ask questions you don't know the answer to. You have to recognize when the client is the only one who has the answer, but you take on the responsibility of being able to ask the right questions that uncover the clarity of their need. Be brave enough to ask them this, and then be brave enough to answer the question that they ask back to you.”
But this bravery didn’t come easy for Mike. It was a qualification he acquired through those swaying stacks of rejection letters.
Back in 1987, Mike was just a 23-year-old Fanshawe College graduate with a Business and Finances Diploma. In other words, he didn’t exactly fit the sales rep image, which was more along the lines of being 30-something and married, a couple of kids, and a big mortgage. In the world of big corporate, Mike wasn’t viewed as someone who could sell.
So, while most people learn over time what they want to do, Mike came to an early understanding of what he didn’t want to do. He didn’t want to just sell a product; he wanted to make a genuine connection and provide a valued service.
Eventually, Mike began receiving offers to work in Toronto and London. These initial positions were not entirely what he had envisioned, but he held out a little longer. In 1987 his patience paid off, when a small, family-owned business offered him a position as a financial advisor in…Goderich.
In his heart, Mike knew this was the career he wanted, so he went off in confidence to a place from the past to start creating the new future he envisioned.
ABC Investments was the spot, still running today as the largest deposit broker in Huron County. It was Frank Little -- then President of the firm, recently deceased -- who gave Mike his first break. At the time, the investment industry was still largely stockbroker dominated and financial planning was still in its infancy, but ABC was one to see the need for personal finance management – and fill it. Unfortunately, with planning at the forefront of their firm, they were rocked hard by the 25% stock market crash of October ‘87 and decided to retreat from the public security market. It was one of the first valuable lessons Mike learned in his career.
So, Mike was gone almost as quickly as he’d come, but he was sharpened up. With a new sense of direction and some real experience under his belt, he moved back to London.
In the years that followed, Mike gained more and more tangible life experiences. From listening to his stories, you might gather that he is an “out-of-the-box” thinker, but he might be more aptly described as an “out-of-the-office” thinker.
Following his passion for mountain biking and hiking, Mike became a qualified expert in curiosity. Twenty plus years ago, 10 years, 10 epics was born -- a tradition Mike created with his best friend, Brock Martin -- which he now shares with his family -- that’s still going strong today. These trips have led Mike to climb Mount Aconcagua, Mount Kilimanjaro, and hike in Bhutan and Peru; but perhaps most notably to me was Mike’s participation in one of the world’s most difficult mountain bike stage races, Race-La Ruta.
Mike got laughing again as he explained how he and Brock were only novices at the time, attempting this race. “It was 100 miles a day on a mountain bike across Costa Rica, it was pegged as the hardest race in the world at the time… I’m not sure if it was the hardest, but it was darn hard to me!”
So, what’s next for Mike – wealth advisor, family man, and adventurer extraordinaire? Getting ahead early.
“I want to proactively seek out value-adding services that will be required or requested five years from now and implement them today. To accomplish this, I’ve enrolled myself in certification programs that focus on business family advising, business value acceleration, and personal well-being. My curiosity about people is what’s taught me that as a client’s situation evolves, our knowledge and skill sets must follow suit.”
Mike quotes Roy Disney shortly after this, saying, “when your values are clear your decisions are easy.” It’s these clear, written and most importantly shared values that propel the team at The Andrews Group to offer wealth advisory services that go above and beyond. The team combines solid academic research and decades of experience with thoughtful personalization when communicating a recommended strategy.
“I just have to know I’m making a difference in someone’s life, beyond the money,” Mike says. He expresses that you can’t get time back that you’ve already spent. Relationships and money have that very critical thing in common: if you don’t know how to manage either of them, they will quickly slip away.
Some things, though? Very permanent. Like rejection letters. If you’ve been left wondering about those, know that Mike still has them today. Old relics from a rough start, Mike keeps them around so as to not forget the importance of the hard learned lessons from those early days. He’s turned them into a positive inheritance of his own now, to pass on to his two daughters; he’s teaching them that if you want to do something, you can’t let rejection stop you.
Mike wrote a book on the one thing he’d give a Ted Talk on: the value of time. Check out Your Time Is Now, available for purchase on The Andrews Group website. http://www.andrewsgroup.com/
Tessa Smith is a passionate writer, disciplined in journalism and skilled in intriguing storytelling. Avid in the newsroom and in the field since she was 16, Tessa has written for both national and local papers, including television. Tessa understands the value of emphasizing the human spirit within an individual's business.
MICHAEL ANDREWS, CFP, RFP, FCSI, CIM, FEA,
Wealth Advisor The Andrews Group of Assante Capital Management Ltd.
Assante Capital Management Ltd. 371 Dufferin Ave London, ON N6B 1Z5
Assante Capital Management Ltd. 10 Nelson St Leamington, ON N8H 1G7 519.326.2555