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MICHELE SANTOS, PFP®, Senior Financial Advisor, Wellington-Altus Private Wealth in Kamloops, BC


“Helping you make your money make sense”

Michele Santos (PFP®), Senior Financial Advisor at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth helps simplify complex financial situations and bring peace of mind to her clients, earning her a well deserved reputation.

For Michele, helping clients achieve financial clarity is paramount to her success as a Wealth Advisor. The quote she once heard from a client “You make my money make sense” reflects the significant value Michele brings to her clients by simplifying their financial situations and making them clear and organized.

Banking to Wealth Management

Michele’s career began in 1990 when she joined the Royal Bank as a teller and commercial business clerk. Her career took an unexpected turn when she left RBC and joined National Bank Financial.

“I was drawn to a job listed as an "assistant in banking," even though I wasn't quite sure what it entailed,” Michele says. “I was hired, marking the start of my career in the investment and wealth management sector. I remained with National Bank Financial until 1999 when I received an opportunity to work as an associate at RBC Dominion Securities.”

Michele was surprised to find out that a Senior Advisor at RBC was searching for a successor. “He approached me just 90 days into my role as an associate,” she says. “This shift in my career led me to become an Advisor in 2002, a role which I’ve continued in ever since.”

As Michele grew her knowledge and skills within the financial sector, she eventually made her way to Wellington-Altus in September of 2023. “Although my career began in banking, I always found myself gravitating toward wealth management, even before it was formally known as such.”

Michele's career embodies the values of resilience and hard work that were instilled in her from a young age.

Reflecting on the past, Michele reminisces on the influences that helped inspire her to become the professional she is today. “My biggest influence has been my late mother,” she says. “She was always a remarkable and hardworking single parent. Her dedication and strong work ethic have had a profound impact on my career. Leading by example, my mother has always driven me to become a stronger, more successful individual.”

Guiding Clients with Expertise and Flexibility

As a Senior Wealth Advisor with a personal financial planning designation, Michele brings forth a wealth of experience and expertise to her clients. Within her team, she serves as the quarterback, working alongside two dedicated associates with plans to add another by Fall 2024.

Her practice is unique compared to others as she maintains a strong focus on people, processes, and practices. At its core, her approach revolves around helping individuals become financially organized, with a specific emphasis on maintaining investment discipline.

“Compared to the conventional approach of segmenting clients into categories like “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”, or “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”, I prefer a more flexible approach,” she says. “I believe that clients' needs evolve over time, influenced by their circumstances. For instance, a client who didn't require much attention in the beginning may transition from a C client to an A client when they approach retirement.”

“Since my recent transition from a bank-owned firm to an entrepreneurial space at WellingtonAltus Private Wealth, I can now better cater to these growing expectations,” she says. Michele accomplishes this by providing customized solutions and prioritizing goal-based planning, placing greater importance on identifying clients' specific needs and the timing of those needs.

“My investment philosophy leans towards conservatism, and I place a strong emphasis on explaining the risk-return profile to clients in a manner that they can understand,” she says. “If I can't explain it, and they can't comprehend it, we avoid investing in it. I find that my clients appreciate a simplified approach that avoids unnecessary complexity.”

From a risk-management perspective, Michele dedicates plenty of time to her clients to educate them on potential risks linked to their investments. As a critical aspect of financial investment, she prioritizes revisiting these conversations on an annual basis. “I encourage clients to shift their focus from simply monitoring their account statements to understanding the purpose of their savings and spending,” Michele says. “By understanding their financial goals and the reasons behind their investments, clients can make more informed decisions and navigate life's unexpected changes with greater confidence.”

Seamless Remote Advising: Expanding Horizons and Navigating Transitions

The ability to conduct remote meetings, a practice she adopted well before the COVID-19 era, provides her clients with a convenient way to engage with her. “So many of my clients appreciate the flexibility that remote meetings have to offer. This allows me to expand my client market from various locations. I am currently onboarding a lovely couple all the way from Istanbul, Turkey.”

In a world where remote access to support is of paramount importance, especially in the realm of financial advice, Michele's expertise shines as she navigates numerous sensitive life transitions with clients. “Retirement is a very common transition for both couples and individuals,” she says. “The process involves not only paperwork but also facilitating family meetings, bank visits, and discussions, particularly for elderly clients.”

Michele's proficiency in remote financial advising empowers her clients to navigate these challenging life transitions with ease and efficiency, ultimately ensuring their financial well-being during significant changes.

Commitment to Lifelong Learning and Mentorship

Michele prides herself on her organizational skills and her commitment to professional development. She believes in the value of ongoing learning and consistently seeks opportunities to expand her knowledge and expertise. “Maintaining my financial planning certification, securities license and insurance license can be time-consuming,” she mentions. “I make sure to prioritize my professional development throughout the year.”

Aside from keeping up to date on her current licenses, Michele also finds ways to explore and expand her knowledge in the industry. “Last year, I focused on elder care and elder abuse, addressing issues like ageism,” she says. “In 2023, I completed the Certified Professional Retirement Coach designation - CPRC, recognized by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) which involves non-financial aspects of retirement planning.”

With fewer required credits this year, Michele will continue to update her skills and knowledge. “I take courses from various sources, such as universities and industry-specific institutions. Webinars, like the recent one on market-related topics, offer valuable insights as well. Collaborating with colleagues through scenario-based exercises helps me identify and develop solutions to improve my practice and client relations.”

For Michele, mentorship is another vital aspect of her personal and professional life. She recently completed a six-month mentorship program through the Aboriginal Business Development Corporation in Canada. Though this mentorship opportunity was not directly related to finance, it revolved around guiding someone on their journey as a business owner.

“Throughout this experience, I learned the subtle art of mentorship. I believe I learned as much from my mentee as she did from me. This enriching journey taught me the importance of fostering a nurturing environment founded on structure and encouragement, enabling the mentee not only to thrive but also to achieve remarkable success."

Balancing Adventure, Culture, and Culinary Pursuits

In her personal life, Michele and her husband Jose enjoy a well-rounded array of activities. “As empty nesters with three daughters, we do our best to spend quality family time whenever we get the chance,” she says. “In the winter, we have a place at Sun Peaks where we ski and snowshoe. We’re trying our hand at cross-country skiing, though I admit, I resemble a baby giraffe learning to walk. During the summer, we love to golf, hike, and explore the outdoors.”

Travel occupies a significant part of her life, with frequent visits to her husband’s home country of Portugal. These trips not only offer the chance to reconnect with family but also provide opportunities for cultural exploration, particularly in Porto.

Staying active and pursuing her culinary passion are central to Michele's personal life. “I enjoy creating deliciously authentic dishes, such as Bacalhau, a traditional Portuguese dish.”

Taylor Stranaghan is a skilled business content writer and editor who brings forth a wealth of knowledge and expertise. With years of experience crafting compelling narratives, she excels at producing high-quality, engaging content that informs, educates, and inspires readers.

Michele Santos, Senior Wealth Advisor

Wellington-Altus Private Wealth

1700 Dickson Ave,

Kelowna, BCV1Y 0L5

250 - 980 - 9104


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