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Because many people mistakenly believe their money is safer with big banks than with independent financial planners, it’s important to show clients the benefits of a more personal touch. Today’s guests had a vision for differentiating themselves from bank-owned financial advisory firms. They saw a conflict of interest in a profit-obsessed industry and set about creating a practice that would remove that conflict and center the client experience.

Chris Rawles and Spencer Tilley are co-founders of RT Mosaic Wealth Management. Chris is a CFP, RFP and CIM and has 15 years of experience in the industry. In 2018, he was named a finalist for the “Multi-Service Advisor of the Year” award through Wealth Professional. Spencer, a CFP, RFP and CFA, has extensive experience in the areas of retirement analysis, tax minimization and corporate planning.

Together, Chris and Spencer strive to provide their clients with an unbiased wealth management experience. Listen to the episode to hear how they show clients the benefits that independent portfolio management and financial planning firms have over the big banks.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • What unbiased wealth management means to Chris and Spencer (4:30)
  • The value of screening clients (7:00)
  • The best way to show clients the value of financial planning (12:00)
  • What new advisors misunderstand about the industry (12:55)
  • The four keys to a successful partnership (17:30)
  • Getting to know your clients outside of the office (19:50)
  • Preparing clients for inevitable market downturns (22:45)
  • How Chris and Spencer want to help other advisors start their own practices (24:30)

Links and Resources:

RT Mosaic Wealth Management

Quotes from the Show:

“There’s an inherent conflict of interest in the industry from my perspective as far as third-party compensation, and so that was one of our core pillars ‒ removing that inherent conflict.” – Spencer Tilley

“Everyone’s unique and each engagement’s different, so that’s where the human element comes in to juggle everyone’s unique needs and what their goals are.” – Spencer Tilley

“Really, we want clients who are actually going to listen to us.” – Chris Rawles

Chris and Spencer have known each other for 25 years and have worked together for nearly a decade. In this episode, they share their expertise from running their boutique portfolio management and financial planning firm in downtown Calgary. Here, we’re highlighting three key ideas from the show:

  • The value of screening clients
  • The four keys to a successful partnership
  • Getting to know clients outside of the office

For the rest of the episode, find the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or hit the link above.

The value of screening clients

Chris and Spencer provide comprehensive portfolio management and financial advice, tailoring their approach for each client; this is quite an involved process. Many cases, depending on their complexity, take a lot of time, and they want to make sure they can provide excellent service for each client throughout the year.

“It’s not just a six-month meeting schedule,” Chris explains. “If something comes up, they have access to me at all times.”

Due to this intense involvement, each of them works with no more than 75 households a year. This means they don’t just take on anyone who wants to work with them.

But unlike the big banks, Chris and Spencer don’t just think about assets under management. Rather, they want to make sure the client is someone they want to work with for years to come.

Specifically, they want clients who will trust them. And while it’s their job to build that trust in the first place, if they meet with someone who tries to dictate everything, they know pretty soon that it’s not going to work out.

“Really, we want clients who are actually going to listen to us,” says Chris. They look to work with people who will follow through with recommendations they make and who will be pleasant to work with.

The four keys to a successful partnership

Success doesn’t come accidentally, and partnerships especially require a lot of work. Chris and Spencer break their success down into four key behaviours:

  1. They stay stubborn: The first few years of their business were not easy, but they believed in their mission, so they were able to stick it out through the tough times.

  2. They stuck to their morals: Chris and Spencer started their business mindful of the major conflicts of interest in the industry, and their goal was always to do what’s best for their clients. They maintain their integrity by always putting clients’ needs above their own ‒ even if the client wouldn’t know the difference.

  1. They work as a team: Their professional partnership is one of the most important relationships in their lives. This requires a deep respect for one another’s’ skillsets and opinions.

  2. They are careful with how they allocate their time: Over the years, they learned to specialize ‒ since they each have specific skills, they have gotten better at focusing on what they’re good at and delegating the rest.

Getting to know clients outside of the office

Recently, Chris and Spencer started focusing more on the client experience outside of their biannual meetings. For example, last year they sponsored a chuckwagon at the Calgary Stampede, a world-renowned rodeo and festival. They invited some of their top clients to enjoy drinks while watching the chuckwagon races and meeting the drivers.

While some planners like to host events that have an educational or even a salesy purpose, Chris and Spencer believe in hosting small and intimate gatherings that are strictly social. They feel this is crucial for two reasons:

  1. They learn about their clients: There’s only so much you can learn about someone at a meeting twice a year. Events like this give them more of an insight into who their clients are as people, which helps them learn how to serve the clients better.

  1. Their clients learn about them: On the flip side, they too like to give clients a peek into their personal lives. They bring their families and introduce them to clients, showing that they’re more than just number-crunching robots. This continues to build trust and goodwill for clients.

Hint: If these kinds of events aren’t your thing, think about other ways you can elevate the level of service you offer both in and out of the office. For example, Chris and Spencer are always open to holding meetings right in their clients’ homes.

To hear more from Chris and Spencer, including why comprehensive planning is more than just running a projection, how they want to help advisors open their own businesses, and more, listen to the full episode right here on this page, or on iTunes or Stitcher. And sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know about new episodes.