- APRIL POTTER
PAUL WETMORE, BA, CIM, CFP, TEP Investment Advisor Portfolio Manager, CIBC Wood Gundy, Vancouver, BC
“Complex financial solutions – simplified terms.”
Investment Advisor and Portfolio Manager Paul Wetmore celebrated 30 years in the financial services industry in January 2021. During his three decades working with clients and managing their investments, Paul recognized the importance of caring deeply for his clients. Paul and his team provide their clients with comprehensive wealth and legacy plans that may include tax-efficient investment strategies and consider the importance of preserving wealth. Throughout his career, Paul has made it his mission to gain deeper insights into the financial sector. He has obtained several financial designations to better serve his clients and adopted a personal mantra to “provide suitable financial solutions in simplified terms that people can understand.”
Paul grew up in Halifax and attended Acadia University. He pursued an undergraduate degree in Economics and played varsity sports, which led to his first career in professional football. “I was lucky enough to be drafted into the CFL by the BC Lions. I had never been to the West Coast before, but it had always been on my list of places to visit. My best friend in elementary school sent me a postcard of a sailboat race in English Bay with the snow-capped mountains in the background that remains a distinct photo in my mind to this day. At the time I was drafted, BC was the one place I wanted to go, and I was happy to spend the next four years playing with the Lions.”
Paul would go on to play one year in Saskatchewan with a final stop with the Ottawa Rough Riders. During his years of playing professional football, Paul worked hard on the field and was awarded BC Special Team Player of the Year during his sophomore season. The award propelled him into a starting linebacker role. However, he was also working hard off the field, developing a holistic financial planning practice.
“After my rookie year in the CFL, I realized that I needed to develop another career for myself,” says Paul. “While I was growing up, my uncle was a manager at a Midland Walwyn branch in Halifax. In the summertime, I would intern to get work experience. The one thing that impressed me was how it always looked like he was having fun doing his job. He was making a comfortable living, and more importantly many of his clients had become his friends. So, I got my start at a competing wealth management firm and I was fortunate to report to an excellent branch manager. While I didn’t have a large client base/large amount of assets under management, I did learn many valuable financial planning techniques. I was lucky to spend quite a few years there developing my financial planning acumen and also obtained my CFP while working with them.”
Welcome to CIBC Wood Gundy
In 2009, Paul made a big move and was welcomed into the CIBC Wood Gundy family. Even though he was not considering leaving his former firm at the time, he was recruited by a successful branch manager and friend, Greg Johnson. “Greg was able to present to me the benefit that my clients would receive with the enhanced suite of financial solutions that Wood Gundy could provide them,” says Paul. “The more I investigated the offer, the more compelling it became. Having a great branch manager like Greg to support me was key during my transition, because what we do here is a much different world than where I started.”
Paul joined CIBC Wood Gundy to help clients achieve their financial goals in new ways by becoming a discretionary asset manager with a strong team of professionals to support him.
“I wanted to have more input into selecting securities for my clients,” explains Paul. “I felt like I needed a new challenge and a new platform that would allow me to have a more significant input into how my clients’ portfolios were designed. Ultimately, I wanted to become a discretionary asset manager – and today I hold the Chartered Investment Manager designation.”
Advice for Athletes and Investors
Paul may not play professional football anymore, but he can still relate to the lifestyle and understands the financial challenges professional athletes are facing today. He believes the pandemic and other market disruptions are good reminders to find a financial process that works and stick to it.
“I always remind my clients that we live in a very complex interconnected world,” says Paul. “The year that just passed was certainly humbling for many of us. I think adversity teaches us to have a process to return to when things aren’t necessarily going that well.”
Paul takes on the worry for his clients, especially when times are particularly bad.
“I worry about my clients’ investments, so they don't have to,” adds Paul. “I want them to enjoy a fruitful life and I treat it as an honour to take on that worry for them.”
Paul’s strategy is to cut the “noise” and stay the course – trust the process, stick to a good plan and be realistic.
“I think the key to success is to build portfolios for your clients so that they can stay invested over a very long period of time,” explains Paul. “Managing the volatility in a portfolio, and building and adhering to a good financial plan with realistic expectations are key strategies.”
Paul focuses on investments that have “sustainable growing dividends with a high degree of return on invested capital”. He explains that over time, this helps to reduce volatility in a portfolio and allows his clients to continue to earn income during uncertain times. But he worries about the working athletic community he was once a part of.
“The CFL is having a really tough time as a result of the pandemic,” says Paul. “I worry about players who have had to go a full year without pay. I think the pandemic has sent a clear message to certain industries and the athletic demographic is among them, that you need something to fall back on – a “Plan B”. My heart goes out to these people. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I’d been forced to take a year off during my football career.”
Outside of the Office and Onto the Mountain
Paul may have had a “Plan B” in the world of skiing as he is an accomplished skier and an Adaptive ski instructor. He has found fulfilment outside of his work in financial services through volunteerism, athleticism, and philanthropy – most notably as a volunteer for the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program.
“I’ve always been an avid skier,” says Paul. “Pretty well from age 16 on I fell in love with skiing and that was another reason why I was quite fortunate to be drafted to the Lions in BC. I founded and comanaged the BC Lions ski team which raised money annually for at least 10 local charities including the Disabled Ski Association of Vancouver Island and the Ogo Pogo kids camp that was a ski week gathering children together that had suffered through cancer.”
Today, Paul sits on the BC Lions alumni Board as a treasurer, but it is his volunteer work on the mountain that truly fulfills him.
“When my daughters went off to university, I found I had a bit of extra time on my hands,” explains Paul. “So, five years ago I joined the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program. Our purpose is to make sure that people with disabilities can still get out to enjoy the mountains. We take them around the mountain and encourage them to enjoy the outdoors together.”
Through the Whistler program, Paul has developed a great friendship with Summer Paralympian and motivational speaker Donovan (Donny) Tildesley, who has been completely blind since birth.
“We hit it off very well, but Donovan is also a unique and interesting person because he likes to ski the steepest runs on the hill,” says Paul. “On any given day he will ski 3 or 4 double black diamonds at Whistler. He uses an earpiece. I have a microphone attached to my helmet and Donny listens, very keenly I might add. I tell him when to turn although in most cases he can feel the fall-line of the slope quite intuitively so really my job is about helping steer him to avoid any dangers. The smile on his face while he’s skiing the steepest runs on the hill is inspiring – it’s hard to explain how good it feels to be able to be a part of helping him enjoy the mountains in the safest way possible.”
Donovan values Paul as a trusted guide on the ski hill and a friend with a “keen intellect and wicked sense of humour” off the hill. The pair first met about one month after Donovan lost his father to pancreatic cancer.
“I met Paul in 2016 when we were first paired up to ski together,” says Donovan. “Guiding a totally blind skier is not for everyone, especially those who aren’t up to the challenge of navigating double-black diamond terrain. Paul embraced this challenge and became one of my top guides. More importantly, our friendship has transcended the world of skiing. We’ve shared many good times together, including sunny summer days out on his boat, and fun dinner parties with his circle of friends. I couldn’t have asked for a bigger-hearted, caring, and wiser friend, mentor and ski guide.”
Paul loves to ski himself but when he isn’t spending time at Whistler, he can be found on his power boat, sailing, mountain biking, hiking, and doing what he refers to as “the great things that BC has to offer.” His role as a guide, just like his role as an investment advisor, is deeply rooted in his life’s mission to help others accomplish their goals.
The Value of Friendship
Paul’s experience has taught him that clients come first; people come first – the true reward for his work is watching other people achieve their goals. For this reason, his client-centric approach develops a deeper bond of friendship.
“I’m lucky enough to have been in the financial services industry for 30 years now,” says Paul. “I’ve watched my clients’ children grow up and achieve their education goals, witnessed firsthand many healthy independent retirements, and everything that happens in between. It’s really rewarding to see families achieve their financial goals. I find much personal honour in helping people do that.”
Paul explains that just as a client must be able to trust an advisor – an advisor must also invest in the client to achieve long-term results. He believes in mutual respect and building strong relationships.
“I want my clients to know that I’m very specific about who I work with. I’d rather deal with fewer people but have mutual respect than take on too many clients.”
"CIBC Private Wealth Management” consists of services provided by CIBC and certain of its subsidiaries, through CIBC Private Banking; CIBC Private Investment Counsel, a division of CIBC Asset Management Inc. (“CAM”); CIBC Trust Corporation; and CIBC Wood Gundy, a division of CIBC World Markets Inc. (“WMI”). CIBC Private Banking provides solutions from CIBC Investor Services Inc. (“ISI”), CAM and credit products. CIBC World Markets Inc. and ISI are both Members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. CIBC Private Wealth Management services are available to qualified individuals. The CIBC logo and “CIBC Private Wealth Management” are registered trademarks of CIBC. If you are currently a CIBC Wood Gundy client, please contact your Investment Advisor. Clients are advised to seek advice regarding their particular circumstances from their personal tax and legal advisors.
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. Also a painter, her background in finance is balanced by her artistic endeavors.
Paul Wetmore, CIM, CFP
Investment Advisor, Portfolio Manager
1055 Dunsmuir Street, Suite 2434
PO Box 49184
Vancouver, BC V7X 1K8
Tel: (604) 661-2304 Toll-free: 1 (877) 331-5122