For more than 10 years, Serge Robichaud has served as a bilingual financial professional, fluent in English and French. The Moncton-based advisor has been well regarded in the financial industry for his ability to manage client accounts and deliver comprehensive financial services.
“The financial industry is a challenging and constantly evolving working environment. The markets and the economy can change at a moment’s notice. If you want to work in this industry, it’s imperative to keep on top of the fluid nature of the markets,” Serge Robichaud says. “Since I have been in this industry, I have seen people come and go. However, it can be extremely rewarding when you are passionate about your work and you love helping clients achieve their financial goals and long-term dreams.”
Serge Robichaud earned his life license designation, while also completing the second examination of the Chartered Financial Analyst program. He has also taken several financial planning courses and certifications from the Canadian Securities Institute to stay up to date on regulations and education.
Currently, he works as a financial advisor at Canada Life and Quadrus Investments, where he provides financial planning and insurance services, as well as manages client investment portfolios. Before that, Serge held a similar role at Scotiabank, where he assisted clients with financial planning and managing their accounts. During his time with Scotiabank, he was also responsible for overseeing 600 client accounts.
Tailoring the experience is all part of the job
“Every client is unique. The first time I sit down with a new client, I start by learning as much as possible about their situation and what they are trying to accomplish over the short, medium, and long-term horizons. What is their family situation? How many vacations do they want to take? Do they make charitable contributions? Do they have an estate plan? … We put the spotlight on the client to understand their specific needs. We then establish a financial plan going forward that is uniquely tailored to that individual’s particular goals.”
With a great deal of experience in financial planning, Serge works diligently to set himself apart by tailoring his client’s portfolios to their specific needs.
“Once I decide to take on a client, they can reach me or my assistant anytime,” Serge says. “Most of my clients have access to my personal cell phone or they can contact my assistant if I am unavailable. I’ll take the time necessary to meet them online or face to face virtually anywhere.”
Serge Robichaud adds: “Occasionally, some meetings can even be 3-4 hours long if necessary. I provide a very personalized service and we strive to offer exemplary customer service to every client. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
For Serge, keeping up with regulations and trends is a very important element of his career. Taking part in industry seminars and company learning sessions are just some of the ways he keeps himself informed.
“I’m continuously reading financial articles and business columns. Since a young age, I have loved to learn and I am inquisitive by nature. Keeping up to date with these subjects can absolutely give you an edge and help you be successful in this industry,” he says.
However, things in the financial world aren’t always simple. While Serge Robichaud strives to help clients stay on track, financial hurdles are also a part of the job.
“I’ve had clients on the verge of bankruptcy that I’ve helped navigate to a good credit score. I’ve helped them establish a budget while also implementing cash flow strategies. We adhered to a financial plan over the course of a decade and now they have significant savings and are on track to retire on time,” Serge says. “It’s exceedingly rewarding for me to be able to provide my services to a client and help them achieve their goals while overcoming those types of financial challenges.”
According to him, the most common mistake made when referring to investment performance is referring to investments in absolute terms. Investment returns should be evaluated relative to other investments that could have made the same amount of money.
“For example: if you made a 12% return on your investment, is it necessarily better than my 10% return? Perhaps my 10% return had significantly less risk than your extremely risky 12% “moonshot” investment? I illustrate investment performance with clients as a risk/return ratio. I educate clients on strategies to maximize a return for a given level of risk or minimize the risk for a given level of return,” Serge says. “Ultimately, over time you should be growing your purchasing power over and above inflation and fees. Some clients may need to take more risk to achieve their long-term objectives, while others may not need to take as much risk. We evaluate regularly with the help of financial planning software and reviews. Just like sailing, we adjust for the wind!”
Personalizing his approach depending on the client is another important factor when it comes down to working with clients. Customizing each individual strategy helps ensure that each client’s wants and needs are being met.
“We set multiple strategies for different plan objectives. Some clients have short-term goals to save for a vacation or a wedding that may only require a TFSA investment plan. Some other clients may have all sorts of simultaneous medium and long-term goals such as: saving for a summer cottage while donating to charities and leaving a legacy to loved ones after they’re deceased,” Serge says. “Having a good quality discussion about my client’s many financial objectives is imperative. We rank the importance of all these objectives, discuss the probabilities of achieving them and we also leverage the use of technology using a comprehensive financial planning software to satiate all these goals over time.”
Technology is a large element of Serge Robichaud’s career, and as the world continues to evolve, so do the tools used by financial professionals.
“I tried over half a dozen financial planning software before finding one that I thought was best for my clients. I use fundamental analysis to help make investment decisions for my clients. Empirical data can also help me decipher trends in the markets such as stock market charts, minutes from central bank meetings, monetary and fiscal policies, etc.,” says Robichaud. “I read the Report on Business every day to stay on top of current events in the economy. The algorithms on my searches direct me to the latest financial articles because I have read so many.”
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