Last updated: November 06 2008

DAC 2008 – Transitioning: The Path to Reciprocity

Monterey, CA. The 5th Annual Distinguished Advisor Conference wrapped up in Monterey, California yesterday, providing over 120 attendees from the financial services across Canada the opportunity to discuss the leading issues in real wealth management, under the theme: Transitioning: The Path to Reciprocity.

With a future that includes a new president, the potential for recession, inflation, currency fluctuation, interest rate crunches, debt management, and stagnant global growth rates, issues relating to the needs of boomers and their powerful offspring to diversify risk were discussed in detail.

click for more information about Evelyn Jacks"At this critical juncture in the financial markets, and in global political and economic history, The Knowledge Bureau's Distinguished Advisor Conference again empowered its delegates to lead in their communities with new strategic knowledge for running their practices and serving their clients," said Evelyn Jacks, President and Founder of The Knowledge Bureau and the Distinguished Advisor Conference.

"I feel recharged and invigorated," said financial advisor Andy Watson.

Against a spectacular backdrop of sea and sealife, all the speakers at the conference were highly rated. Diana Moore for example, found Richard Facia who spoke about Planned Giving with Insurance, knowledgeable and interesting. "Richard was able to drill a very difficult topic down to the specifics that we can use in our practices," noted accountant Margaret Hodgson.

Many new business building ideas came out of the presentations. Jordy Chilcott and Terri Williams from Dynamic Funds provided an upbeat and effective presentation which developed an effective meeting framework for advisors' work with transitioning boomer clients, using focused listening skills for crucial conversations. Doug Nelson wowed the audience with his tax-efficient retirement income strategies which elicited a "top notch," rating by veteran financial advisor Bernie Krueckl. Richard Croft covered portfolio construction with TFSAs and Chris Enright updated the audience on new client relationship principals under the OSC's National Instrument 31-103. "Chris made compliance easy to understand," noted Laura Thompson.

Technical information, meanwhile was cutting edge and specific to issues of concern to boomers in turbulent times. Dr. Jack Mintz helped advisors look into the future by sharing economic and tax policies to look for in a future uncertain world, while providing data on regional employment and investment growth of significance to Canadians. He urged the audience to address plans to manage higher inflation as a factor in future years. Paul DeSousa expanded on inflation as a real threat to the wealth of the boomer demographic.

Advisor Ken Sloan found Paul DeSousa's speech on hedging against inflation "clear and hard-hitting advice", while Grant McPhail found Dr. Jack Mintz's review of the current economic state to be especially informative: "strong knowledge, well-rounded opinions were appreciated". Vancouver-based Maureen Carse agreed, adding "key issues were presented well and objectively structured".

Lawyer John Poyser, in the meantime, taught the audience comprised of tax and financial advisors, how to broach the significant topics of passing on the family cottage by organizing family conferences, understanding tax consequences and suggesting a review of wills and estate plans. Larry Frostiak, FCA, meanwhile taught structure around tax efficient strategic philanthropy, while Peter Christianson of Mineral Fields filled in the blanks with the use of flow through shares in tax efficient planning.

International speaker Merge Gupta-Sunderji tackled the Millennialsóthose between 14 and 28 years oldówho appear to be creating havoc and frustration within the workplace. Six key strategies for working more effectively with this generation were offered in a high energy presentation, including how to take advantage of their questioning and impatient nature, and how to tap into their techno-knowledge. Once employers can understand the triggers that motivate these extremely bright and savvy people, they will find extremely loyal clients and employees: important for the retention of wealth for boomer families and the growth of the practices of participating advisors.

Attendees were treated to a wine tasting featuring outstanding selections from Sheid Vineyards, while discussing the challenges facing couples who have differing view of retirement with Dr. Terry Colton and Erika Penner, MFA. The lively session was couple with outstanding food and camaraderie.

Aegon's Enzo Calamo closed the conference with his inspirational speech on Purposeful Wealth: "a superb message, eloquently delivered and thought-provoking," said financial advisor Ken Wilson.

Highlights from some of the significant sessions are found in this special report. Look for The Distinguished Advisor Report 2008; a full report, to be available at by mid November. Reserve your copy, which will be forwarded by email link, by clicking here: Yes! I want to reserve my copy of the DAC Full Report 2008. Send me more information.

For information on DAC 2009 and its theme Leadership and Opportunity in Turbulent Times, as well as photos of the DAC 2008 experience, see

DAC Highlights:

Stewardship in Crisis: New Practices must move away from Salesmanship - Mick Kelly

The day began with a powerful presentation by Mick Kelly, Vice President Sales, Retail Markets, at Standard Life. Mick matter-of-factly noted that the wealth of Boomers and the Advisors who serve them are in jeopardy, and that preparedness as an advisor will provide the stewardship clients need, and want, now more than ever. In fact, he noted, practices that move away from salesmanship and towards stewardship will be successful in turbulent times.

Exploring the anatomy of the current market crisis, Mick spoke of the now drastically changed industry and financial landscape that advisors will be working in, and noting examples of Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and more, demonstrated why size is essentially irrelevant in a strong business model.

Recommending a review of advisor business and marketing plans was essential to this new marketplace, Mick summoned the large audience to question whether their practice could be or is in danger. He then skillfully went on to explore strategic action plans for advisors, framing them all in the reality principle; "Doing with things as they are, not as you would like them to be".

Mick walked the audience through an intriguing analysis of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for people versus those of companies and then clients. The foundations of trust, security, and functional utility were noted as the basis upon which advisors needed to build their practice, and then and only then, could they move on to other factors of cost, value, convenience, association and image.

Coming away from the impactful session, a striking case was made for advisors to move their practices from that of salesmanship to stewardship. The less time advisors spend talking about money with their clients, Mick noted, the more they could build the fundamental depth, trust and security in their long-term relationships and practice.

Nelson Reworks Retirement Planning - Doug Nelson, KB Faculty

The #1 question of pre-retiring boomers is this: "Will I have enough money to retire?" Yet, we know that those who are most happy in retirement have found a balance between their "health", their "relationships" as well as their "finances". Those individuals who place too much of an emphasis on "finances" risk negatively impacting their "health" and their "relationships". With this in mind, it is timely for advisors to begin to focus on "peace of mind" in retirement. Due to the extremely high volatility in the stock market, "peace of mind" is something hard to come by in the investment world. So why fight it? Why not find a way to provide "peace of mind". This can be done in several ways:

  • By ensuring the overall income plan is tax efficient, you may find that you are able to increase take home income simply by reducing taxes, reducing clawbacks or increasing tax credits.
  • By breaking apart the client's monthly income into those areas that are "basic income needs" vs. "enhanced lifestyle wants" the client is able to see what they would need to live on as a minimum.
  • Then, by ensuring that their "basic income needs" are covered by "guaranteed sources of income" you are able to provide this peace of mind.
  • It is also critical to be able to "quantify" the client's "new" tolerance for risk now that they are retired.
  • By "quantifying" the client's financial risk tolerance, we must now demonstrate the "risk profile" of the portfolio.
  • Finally, to ensure you are making decisions today that will NOT unduly impact the "efficient tax return" tomorrow it is critical to project income three to four years in the future on a rolling 1 year basis.


Ruta Helps Advisors Influence Wealth - Jim Ruta, KB Faculty


The truth today is that only Expertise and Experience will influence your audience today. This is why one of the major changes in models is the necessity of an expert team if you want to get all your clients business. Time was you could pretend you did it all. Today, you do not have that opportunity if you expect to be a client's most trusted advisor (MTA).

MTAs are advisors who can quarterback a client's portfolio needs and take them far beyond just the financials. There are live value issues today that the new advisor must know if they want to be top of the list for who to call. New Model advisors are "Super Advisors" in the sense that they must not only combine the best of necessary hard skills (technical knowledge) with premier soft skills (communication and persuasion) but also have deep knowledge of the audience.

You'll learn how to redefine your role in the life of your client. Super Advisors take a holistic view of their clients but do not take on the whole project themselves. They quarterback the necessary specialists to get the job done right for the client. They do so with a good understanding of the client's whole financial, business and family situation so every piece not only fits, but it fits well.

Chilcott and Williams Teach Solutions by Listening - Jordy Chilcott and Terri Williams

click for more information about Terri Williams click for more information about Jordy ChilcottFinancial advisors are currently under pressure from both their dealers and their clients to offer more. Dynamic Funds conducted investor research last summer with a segment of higher net worth investors. We asked them what the gaps were with respect to their relationship with their financial advisor.

The research revealed a few key issues:

  1. Some advisors overlook key facts about their clients.
  2. Some advisors "miss the person", but get the numbers.
  3. Trust & advice have limits.
The Diagnostic Selling process is all about asking the right questions, knowing those questions ahead of time and being a good listener. It involves a step-by-step structure for all your meetings so that you know exactly what each meeting should look like and you aren't struggling for the next question as you are trying to listen to your client. It's not rocket science. Diagnostic Selling is simply structuring your client meetings to be about the client ñ not about you. Finding out what their hopes and dreams and financial needs are helps you become more equipped to provide better and more advice and services.

DeSousa Covers Inflation-Proofing - Paul DeSousa

click for more information about Paul DeSousa

There are three keys to preserving investor wealth in today's economic environment. The first is to increase portfolio diversification by adding other asset classes. The second is to understand the true measure of inflation and fully hedge against it. The third is to recognize where we are in the investment cycle so as to take advantage of key opportunities that present themselves every 15-20 years.

The three keys to preserving wealth during this period are:

  1. add other asset classes to your portfolio;
  2. understand true inflation; and
  3. recognize where we are in the investment cycle.
Bullion preserves wealth in both deflationary and inflationary cycles. A 10% to 15% allocation into precious metals bullion not only diversifies, but adds assets that keep their value because they are unaffected by an unlimited supply of continually depreciating printed money from the world's Central Banks. The investment cycle, as indicated by the Dow:Gold ratio, is telling us to be overweight precious metals because true inflation is not only rising, but is already substantially higher than officially reported numbers suggest.

Elkins Helps Advisors Manage Charitable Donations - Nicola Elkins

Winston Churchill once said "we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." In today's socially conscious and closely connected world, Churchill's old observation has acquired new relevance.

Canadians are wealthier than ever before, and, whether driven by the desire to make a difference, leave a legacy, or help a new generation build for tomorrow, they are giving that wealth back to their communities ñ in gifts of their time, knowledge, influence and increasingly, in cold hard cash.

Investment advisors who work with charitable foundations form deeper, more loyal client relationships, expand their suite of expertise and offerings to high net worth investors interested in philanthropy, experience enhanced asset retention and enjoy a higher, and more positive, community profile.

And charities themselves receive more and more contributions, spread out over time, bringing greater stability and allowing more long-term planning.

Rarely has there been such a winning combination in Canada's long history of investment products. So expect investment advisors to be busier than ever in the next few years supporting the arts, promoting global health or building opportunity for underprivileged kids. Because that's exactly what happens when you help bring charities and well-meaning ñ and wealthy ó investors together.

Frostiak Gets Technical on Strategic Philanthropy - Larry Frostiak

click for more information about Larry FrostiakHave your clients considered charitable giving as part of their estate plan? The key concepts for advisors to consider are the tax aspects of charitable giving, recognizing opportunities and how to integrate them with your client's affairs and the ability to advise and implement strategies for your client.

Recognizing opportunities to give ó understanding your clients and recognizing their tax situation (personal and corporate) will give you insight into the optimal tax time for them to make such a gift. You will be able to demonstrate that the tax effectiveness of doing so can serve to reduce their taxes while creating a lasting legacy for charity in their name.

There are obviously a number of "tax efficient philanthropic" alternatives and varying issues which will occur between personal and corporate gifts. There are many reasons to give generously and during one's lifetime. Learn how the donation of shares to registered charities, and private foundations, and other gifts in kind, can work wonders in achieving significant tax advantages, while facilitating, concrete planned giving strategies for your clients.

Gray Shows Advisors How to Speak Like Leaders - Jim Gray, KB Faculty

The past year has been challenging for financial advisors everywhere. It's during times like these when communication takes on even more importance, more urgency.Market conditions aside, an increasing number of advisors are seeking to expand their relationships with key clients, moving from the merely transactional to more complete affiliations. Strong communication is essential to making that transition.

Here are the seven keys that Jim Gray covers in "How Leaders Speak":

  • Tell a story
  • Start slowly
  • Be certain
  • Be authentic
  • Employ repetition
  • Be in the moment
  • Put technology in its place

Increasingly, smart speakers who feel the need to use PowerPoint and its relations are creating two versions of their presentations ñ a clean, concise deck they deliver from, and a handout copy, organized under the same headings, that includes more detailed material. They've learned it's impossible to speak effectively from a deck smothered in information.

Of course, many still try. Clearly, they're not communicating like leaders.

Merge Focuses on the Millennials - Merge Gupta-Sunderji

click for more information about MergeIn order to work more effectively with Millennials (defined as born between 1980 and 1994, they are also often referred to as Generation Y), it makes sense to first understand the influences and environment that created them. These are the young adults whose childhoods were completely scheduled ñ they were registered for baseball camp, signed up for karate club, and enrolled in dance lessons ñ leaving no unstructured free time in which to get bored. For the most part, their parents were "helicopter" parents ñ adults who "hovered" and were actively involved in every aspect of their children's lives. Whether it was grades, hockey ice time, or visiting college campuses, they could count on Mom and Dad to step in and ensure that they were treated well. This is the first generation to grow up surrounded by digital media, and so as you might expect, they are heavily influenced by the Internet. They've grown up with the ability to link up with people anywhere in the world, so they see the globe as one connected world, and they definitely see it as open for business 24/7.

If you can understand how to tap into what makes each individual tick, you will discover that Millennials can be very committed, and then you can help your clients do the same.

So how can you tap into this potential? Here are six ideas.

  1. Change how you view them.
  2. Give them variety and flexibility.
  3. State your expectations about results.
  4. Praise them. Constantly.
  5. Take advantage of their questioning and impatient nature.
  6. Tap into their techno-knowledge.

Take the time to learn more about these young people ñ not only are they your future customers; they are also your future employees and the employees of the companies that you choose to do business with.