SHAUN RICKERBY, Senior Investment Advisor, TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, Richmond, BC
"Finely tuned, lots of mileage, and built to last"
Shaun Rickerby is a car enthusiast. He has a love of American muscle cars and a fondness for vintage classics, like his own 1960 Pontiac Catalina and his father’s 1960 Oldsmobile. It’s a trait he inherited from his father, but his passion for the finance industry is all his.
Shaun’s interest in business and wealth took root when he was growing up in England, but it bloomed after his family immigrated to Canada in 1982. Shaun was 18. “I was doing my own taxes. I was doing my parents’ taxes. At 21, I was subscribing to the Financial Post,” says Shaun.
He enrolled at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, but eventually heeded his calling to finance. In 1986 he left school to get straight to work, starting as a financial planner for two years with the Investors Group, followed by nine years as an Investment Advisor at Midland Walwyn (then Midland Doherty). In 1997, he began what would become a 25-year (and counting) relationship with TD Wealth Private Investment Advice.
While maintaining his clientele, Shaun also accepted the role of Branch Manager. He grew the branch from three Advisors in 2006 to 14 Advisors in 2014. By then, wearing two hats had become a challenge and he stepped back into his client practice exclusively, developing Rickerby Wealth Group in 2014.
Along the way, Shaun’s acquired a long list of accreditations, including Portfolio Manager in 2006, a designation only a handful of advisors had attained at the time. “In 2006, out of 720 Financial Advisors at TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, only 22 were Portfolio Managers. I became number 23. Back then, it was pioneering, leading edge.” The number of Portfolio Managers in the industry has grown over time but is still relatively rare.
Three decades of experience combined with the highest credentials
Shaun also holds a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Canadian Investment Manager (CIM), and the Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI®) designations. He is a Life Insurance Advisor with TD Wealth Insurance Services. He taught the Canadian Securities Course for 12 years. He also has his Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM) designation. “That’s really the capstone of my personal credentials. Arguably, it’s the capstone of accreditation for our industry because it’s about financial planning, trusts, corporate structures, insurance – everything and the kitchen sink. It’s knowledge about everything bundled up into one credential.”
You might say that Shaun, like some of his beloved muscle cars, comes with all the bells and whistles. “I can talk about corporate structures, family trusts, family wills and estate planning strategies, taxation,” he says. And what makes him unique from his peers, he says, is that he also does actual financial planning for his clients. “I have about 120 financial plans on our computer,” he says. “Many Advisors call themselves 'financial planners' but a surprising number don’t actually execute. I feel I ’walk the talk’– financial planning is REALLY part of my offering.”
Building very long-term relationships
His experience and well-rounded expertise have led to many long-term relationships between Shaun and his clients, most of whom are simply people who have accumulated wealth through work and savings, and maybe some inheritance. “My longest-serving were clients who I’d taken from their early fifties to early eighties,” he says. It’s been a real honour, a pleasure, a blessing – and also flattering – to be able to have been in people’s lives that long.”
With more than 30 years in the industry, Shaun has seen a great deal and then some. He believes that wealth of experience helps ease the anxiety of clients who, for instance, may be nervous as they near retirement. “I say to clients, ‘I know you’re going through the process of retirement for the first time, but I have to tell you, I’ve done this dozens of times, perhaps hundreds of times’,” says Shaun. His “been there, done that” perspective also applies to market volatility – three decades in and he’s seen the market go down and then up – every single time.
“The reality of investing is that the investment world gets unsettled and worrisome. To me, it’s like, I’ve seen this movie before. That's the privilege of 36 years of experience and the comfort that comes from that experience, it's not my first rodeo. There's been seven or eight times in my career that the investment markets have fallen 25 per cent or more. One of the privileges of experience is the knowledge that I've seen this movie before, and I know how it ends.”
Helping clients do well and give back
Being able to instill that confidence in his clients is one of the greatest rewards of Shaun’s practice, he feels. But when he can look back and see that his expertise and creativity put a client experience into what he calls the “good work” column, he knows he’s helped bring about something special.
A large part of Shaun’s good work with clients – and enhance their ability to do good works, or retire, or achieve whatever their personal financial goals may be – stems from his own personal investment philosophy. “I am a stay-at-home defenseman, to use a Canadian colloquialism,” he says. “I am a cautious guy who focuses endlessly on maximizing my return whilst spending much time worrying and managing risk. I don’t try to be a "rock star" but I do hope to enjoy the relationship with clients over decades."
Do not fear the phone
One of his most important rules: is never to be afraid of the telephone. “I don’t want to ever have a market or a stock put me in a place where I’m afraid of the Caller ID.”
Shaun is never afraid to answer his phone and he’s also never afraid to meet potential clients who are jaded by the financial industry. “Some potential clients might say: you guys are all the same. I've seen two or three of you folks and it's never worked out,” says Shaun.
“You’ve never used me. I mean that genuinely. Let me prove it to you. Let me show you. If you give me time and patience, I am confident that I will be able to convey to you that there is a strategy, a discipline, an overarching long-term structure about what we’ll do. We’ll get there.” He believes some of the skepticism comes from people having poor experiences with Advisors. “I believe that we as professional Investment Advisors have to do more. We must be 'Wealth Advisors'; we have to cover all the bases. We no longer can just be the 'investment guru'. Or rather, those who are just the 'investment guy' are doomed to dinosaur status.”
Shaun is definitely not a dinosaur. On the contrary, Shaun’s approach is modern and holistic. He has the skills, the accreditation, and the decades’ long experience to take care of his clients’ needs. With his team, he provides a coherent structure for their wealth, a thorough plan for their future income needs in retirement, and a regimented process for keeping everything on track.
Solid communication and a solid team
Key to all of this is clarity and transparency. As a former instructor for the Canadian Securities Institute for 12 years, Shaun has the proven skills and ability to help educate, share, and communicate investment-related topics in a way people understand.
“I can communicate to clients and educate them about complex discussion points that either they would like to know more about or that they should know more about. The client says, "…can you explain how this works?" Great. I have 12 years of teaching to help you. Or if I suggest you should have bonds in your portfolio, I'll give you an insight as to why you should have bonds. I'll educate, whether it's wills, trusts, investment philosophy, all of it.”
He also has the backing of a solid team. “My Client Service Associate Joanne Palma has been in the business 25 years and with me for the last 13. If I'm truly lucky, she’ll be with me till I retire. I believe she is among the best in the business.”
Shaun's son, Shamus, joined the practice about three years ago. “Shamus is obviously my succession plan one day. I’m 57 and plan to work till 70. By then, Shamus will have lots of good experience and will be prepared to take over my practice. I have every confidence in his ability to fill my shoes competently when that day comes.”
Shaun still has a long road ahead. Or to put it the way a car lover like Shaun might, he’s got plenty of gas left in the tank. Shamus is adding value to the practice, taking on clients and creating capacity, allowing Shaun to revisit his entrepreneurial roots. He’s been getting back to the business of growing the business, spending some time on marketing, and speaking and following up with potential clients. “I still have that sparkle. I still have that desire. I still have that 'jump out of bed and build the business' spirit.”
Shaun also has the privilege of building his future in his own way. And that includes bringing on more clients who recognize the value in working with a seasoned Advisor who has the proven ability to help them. That means different things to different people, but the end result is a quiet confidence that Shaun has everything in hand.
“I’m looking for clients who are looking for me,” he says. “We just don’t know each other yet.”
If they don’t see the value in the experience he provides to potential new clients, he’s fine with that too. More than three decades in, he’s in the driver’s seat. And he’s earned it.
Janice Tuff is a professional writer and communicator who got her start in radio copywriting.
Three decades later, she continues to draw upon the valuable lessons learned in her radio days: grab your audience’s attention quickly and always tell an engaging tale.
Shaun Rickerby, CFP®, CIM, FCSI®
Senior Investment Advisor
TD Wealth Private Investment Advice
Rickerby Wealth Group
5811 Cooney Road Suite 306
Richmond, BC V6X 3M1
t: (604) 482-5168 c: (604) 482-5188
Rickerby Wealth Group is part of TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, a division of TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. which is a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.