- APRIL POTTER
PIERRE LACASSE, Owner Senior Financial Advisor CFP®, Y.K. Financial Brokers Ltd.
“Helping clients, their loved ones, and the organizations they care about
to create and preserve wealth in a prudent, tax efficient manner.”
OWNER, SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ® Pierre Lacasse has been in the financial services business for almost 40 years. Pierre has built his practice on furthering the wealth and well-being of his clients with a focus on meeting and exceeding their financial goals. One might say that he has a talent for “welding” financial elements together to create a comprehensive plan.
In fact, prior to entering the world of finance, Pierre studied welding at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario 40+ years ago.
“I went to school for welding – that was my trade,” says Pierre. “And then I decided to move to Calgary, Alberta to ski and live closer to the mountains. At the time you needed different tickets for inter-provincial welding so rather than pursue that, I answered an ad in the newspaper that said I could make $40,000 a year – no experience required. I didn’t quite know what I was applying for, but I had no experience outside of welding, so I figured “why not” I’d give it a try. It turned out that it was a commodities broker role which I took for approximately three months.”
A new opportunity grew from this when the commodities brokerage manager noticed specific skills that prompted him to connect Pierre with his wife, who was a manager for Great-West Life Insurance. It turned out that the job she could offer him both interested him and was closer to home. So, after a few days of studying he wrote an exam, passed and was licensed. From 1981 to 1985 he stayed in Calgary before making a move to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.
“I spent two years in Yellowknife doing all of the insurance for a local investment company called Ted Thomson Investments,” says Pierre. “I decided that I wanted to get into the mutual funds business, so the owner offered me the opportunity to open an office in Whitehorse. I moved my family there in the summer of 1987, my wife was pregnant with my son at the time – he was born one week after Black Monday when the markets dropped 22% in one day.”
Building a Business
With the birth of two children at the end of the eighties, it became Pierre’s focus to provide his young family with a solid financial future and a good home. Originally, he built his business by conducting seminars and writing financial articles in both French and English newspapers. He would spend the next 10 years of his career educating clients and building his business. In 1988 he studied for his securities license and in 1990 he obtained a real estate license and a mortgage brokers license. Over the years he would go on to work with various companies (most notably FPC Investments and Plan Vest), until FPC merged with the Assante Group of Companies in 1998. Pierre stayed with Assante until December 2018 when he decided to change companies and go back to the firm he originally opened and operated, YK Financial Brokers Ltd.
“At the time, I'd sold a portion of my practice,” explains Pierre. “All of the mutual fund assets were sold and the insurance that those clients had gone with it. I retained approximately 185 clients with approximately 20 million in assets which were all segregated funds, everything guaranteed – with great returns. The minimum return was 5% or 7% and I raised about 20 million in about nine months. So, I had kept that portion of the business when I made a move from Whitehorse to Waterdown, Ontario. I kept my clients in Whitehorse and would go back every 5 or 6 weeks. Last year, I purchased another practice in Whitehorse.”
Pierre’s recently acquired Whitehorse practice is one that he had discussed purchasing with its previous owner, a friend and colleague who was planning to include the transition of his business to Pierre in his succession plan. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a chance to do so before passing away in his mid-seventies. Pierre is now working with approximately 300 families, most residing in the west and primarily in Whitehorse. He is licensed in Yukon, Alberta, BC, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Community, Family and Life Outside of the Office
Community matters to Pierre, who has been a Lions Club member for the past 35 years. Much of his volunteer work has been with the Lions Club but he was also a founding member of the Kinsmen while living in Yukon. Pierre was a Toastmaster and was part of the executive team. He was also a founding member of the Yukon College Foundation and Yukon Arts Centre Foundation. He’s contributed to multiple charities over the years. Today he is a Lions Club member in Waterdown, Ontario.
As a community role model and Big Brother, Pierre was also fortunate to share his own experiences of growing up and demonstrate leadership by example. He mentored boys and young men to help them appreciate the importance of giving and giving back, staying in school, as well as to have respect for family, peers and community.
“I was also a volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters,” explains Pierre. “To this day I remain in contact with one young man who I became a Big Brother to 9 years ago when he was just 9 years old. I visit him whenever I return to Whitehorse and am supporting him as he decides how to give back, volunteer in his community and become an even better member of society.”
Mentorship is a natural part of Pierre’s life as a father and stepfather. When he’s not spending free time with family, he enjoys biking, renovating, reading and rowing. As he
deals with many clients on the west coast, he works many evenings so that he can stick to a regular fitness routine early in his day. He married his childhood sweetheart Michelle 12 years ago after rekindling their romance for the third time in their lives – it had been 25 years since they’d last dated.
Financial Planning for Small Business Owners
Pierre spends much of his time specializing in financial planning for small business owners. He invests his effort into wealth management geared towards tax savings. With the help of a reliable third party, Pierre has found a way to make it easier to monitor assets, complete paperwork, switch and rebalance funds.
“It frees up a lot of my time so that I can concentrate on financial planning for small business owners,” explains Pierre. “I add value and risk management, assist with products such as disability insurance, life insurance, critical illness and long-term care. I also help small businesses in setting up a health spending account – which is very attractive to anybody that's Incorporated. A health spending account allows an individual to convert personal health expenses – which are not tax deductible – into a corporate tax-deductible expense. It's a tax-free benefit to the employee and the shareholder can also be an employee.”
The health spending account program can help a business owner to better afford out-ofpocket medical expenses. Pierre uses the example of a $1,000 pair of prescription glasses. Typically, the true cost to a business owner would be double, because a business owner must earn $2,000 of company money to pay themselves $1,000 and pay the government the equivalent amount in taxes. A health spending account converts the expense to a non-taxable expense. The goal is tax savings, there's a 10% fee for using the program instead of paying 50% taxes.
Unique Enhanced Services to Aid in Financial Wellness
Pierre has also added an identity theft protection and a prepaid legal service to his roster called IDShield and LegalShield which he offers to individuals and business owners as an employee benefit.
“LegalShield a prepaid legal service with a $25 membership fee,” explains Pierre. “For the cost of the membership fee, clients gain access to the advice of a law firm for approximately 85% of the most common legal concerns. IDShield is an identity theft protection service.”
An example of something LegalShield can assist with – minor contract disputes. Pierre explains that even a small dispute with a cell phone service provider for overbilling can be time-consuming and stressful.
“LegalShield can deal with time-consuming negotiations with big companies by issuing letters and enforcing deadlines,” says Pierre. “Typically, you’ll achieve desired results faster with a lawyer to back you up and the situation won’t escalate.”
Working in partnership with LegalShield, Pierre believes that IDShield’s protection from identity theft is very necessary today.
“We hear about it all of the time,” says Pierre. “People’s information is stolen every day. 50 million Canadians were put at risk during the Life Labs hack, companies like Capital One and Yahoo have been breached. It keeps happening more and more and the thieves get better and become more sophisticated. For $10 a month IDShield has contracted TransUnion to monitor your accounts in real time and will send you a text if something doesn’t seem right.”
If fraud is suspected a restitution specialist and a private investigator will be assigned to investigate. The service will spend the time needed to reinstate a client’s identity and have everything cleared up. Pierre says that this may include a need for legal support and that’s another area where LegalShield can help.
“When your identification has been stolen, you may also have some legal problems,” adds Pierre. “Maybe your passport, health card, or driver’s license have been impacted by the breach and it would take thousands of dollars and years to remedy the situation. For just $25 a month, the LegalShield program takes the stress out of this process and can even be added by an employer to a business as an employee benefit.”
Holistic Advice to Create and Preserve Wealth
Pierre recognizes that holistic financial support and planning may, at times, extend beyond the services he personally offers. He also believes in working with organizations that can provide valuable services to his clients and will refer to experts in these areas when required.
“I associate myself with specialists who can provide services to my clients in a timely, cost-effective, fashion, explains Pierre. “For example, I work with a handful of mortgage brokers and other specialists outside of my expertise and outside of the services I currently offer. But, I’m also an insurance broker so I can show clients that I’ve shopped the market for the best value for them. In the end, it is truly about helping clients, their loved ones, and the organizations they care about to create and preserve wealth – my clients know, it’s what I do best.”
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.
Pierre Lacasse CFP®, Owner YK Financial Brokers Ltd.
411 Main St, Suite 100
Whitehorse, Yukon. Y1A 2B6
50 Pentland Road
Waterdown, Ontario, L8B 0P7
867 334 9411