When I look at CH Financial, what it is to our clients, to my colleagues, and me personally, I think about several things. Each of these things is integral to our success, past, present, and future, and I wanted to share them with you, our clients.
Clients First. Always
This is our corporate motto and drives everything we do here at CH. And while it is true that every company says something like “the client always comes first”, for us this statement encompasses some very specific obligations for the firm.
First, each of our advisors is capped in the number of client families he or she is expected to care for. This means that we have one of the highest ratios of advisors to families in the financial industry, with no advisor having direct responsibility for more than 100 families. This compares to an industry average that is often 300 or more. It also means that no client will ever be just a number to us. Each advisor can get to know, and serve, our clients and their needs on a much deeper and more meaningful level.
Second, every one of our advisors can step in to help with a specific client need whenever required. Whether it is a specialized issue relating to tax, investments, insurance, estate planning, or anything else, we will work as a team to provide service in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.
Finally, “Clients First. Always”, means having CH partner with the right specialist firms that we have vetted on our clients’ behalf, allowing us to meet more complex challenges as they arise. This gives us access to levels of expertise in tax, investment management, and estate planning, for example, that may not be available for smaller advisory firms, or that may come at a substantially higher cost with the bigger ones.
Working with “Aspirational Clients”
Unlike many firms in the industry, we do not have asset minimums for our clients. Instead, we look for people who want more from their accountant than just tax preparation. More from their advisor than just mutual fund or stock selection. More from their agent than just an insurance policy. Our ideal client is aspirational. They want to have each of these components of their financial lives integrated into a complete plan that works best for them. They want to avoid the slippage that can take place when the accounting “hand” may not know what the investment and insurance hands are doing.
Many of our clients start with modest means, but they want to participate in a plan that will build their wealth over time, and they want someone who will help them create and monitor each of the component parts of their specific situation. It is our job here at CH to make sure that these clients get the level of management, service, and support that they expect.
With many of the services we provide to our clients, there is no need to “reinvent the wheel”. We have worked hard to develop time-tested processes when preparing tax returns, selecting investment management partners, building portfolios, providing insurance solutions, building solid financial and estate plans, and addressing any other financial needs our clients might have.
And when we work with other professionals hired by our clients, we have processes for that too! Since we work in each of these fields ourselves we know the languages and lingo of those industries. We know how to coordinate with them. The model I admire most and seek to emulate is that of the Mayo Clinic. Every patient is assigned a doctor that accompanies the patient on every step of their medical journey, working together with the needed specialists to help heal the client, and also to explain what is happening every step of the way. Similarly, here at CH, our clients are assigned a specific advisor who then accompanies them through each stage of a financial problem or challenge.
What we mean by Management Matters is that we are firm believers in active vs. passive investment management. Having someone highly trained in the industry picking and monitoring every investment will lead to long-term outperformance, lower levels of risk, or both when compared to blindly buying indexes.
The best-run companies in the world are distinguished by more than just their products or specific services. What makes them stand out and perform better than their competition is solid management. So it is as well with investing. We want to know that someone is manning the ship, and making sure that it can steer its way through choppy markets, and profit when those markets are prospering.
CH prides itself in being a fully independent advisory firm, meaning we do not have sales quotas or proprietary products. We are free to provide the best possible advice to our clients without having to answer to a corporate head office. Likewise, while we seek to develop long-term relationships with all of our business partners, we are not wedded to any of them. If a specific relationship no longer serves our client’s needs, then we can, and will end it.
The worlds of finance, insurance, and tax can often appear mysterious, and even intimidating to many clients. And we do not deny that these fields can be complex and require a great deal of expertise to navigate successfully. That said we know that our clients like to be educated about what we are doing on their behalf and trust us to get our answers and solutions right. This means we are happy, willing, and able to share as much information as our clients want on what we are doing for them.
For example, we show you every piece of the investment wheel, who manages which parts of your portfolio, and why we use them. We show you how much you have invested with us, and how much has been made, or lost, in any given year, as well as on rolling 3, 5 year, and longer time horizons.
Likewise, with tax returns, we go through the numbers with our clients showing them how much they paid in tax, as well as how much they saved by using the various strategies we employed to help minimize the tax man’s bite.
We understand that not everyone wants to know everything about what we do, but when a client asks, we are always willing to share and answer those questions.
We at CH, and our clients, have been greatly blessed in our lives. This has meant that every member of the CH team remains deeply committed to causes beyond the world of finance. We see our jobs as helping to build a better world for our clients, and also for society as a whole. This takes many forms ranging from my personal and financial commitments to the Calgary Philharmonic and McGill University, to the many various charities supported by the members of our team, including Knights of Columbus, the Women’s Shelter, and the Brenda Stafford Foundation.
We bring this passion to our work and strive to help our clients focus their energy and resources on caring first for themselves and their families, and also to those causes that mean the most to them. This ranges from helping them find and fund the charities that support those causes or even creating a foundation for them that creates a lasting legacy.
Many people have asked me over the years: “How does your neuroscience background help you in the financial world?”. I truly believe that we have been able to take the best of the medical system of care and apply it to financial matters.
The goal of this longer-than-usual CH Minute has been to share the vision, goals, and beliefs of us here at CH Financial. We understand our role for you, our clients, and want to be known as the best there is in this industry by putting our clients first. Always.
As always we are grateful for the trust you have placed in us, and if you should have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Yours in business and friendship,
Jeremy Clark, CEO
& Your CH Financial Team