My Best Career Moments
Read Time : 4 minutes
As part of our Best Moments series, we asked Alex to share some of the definitive moments in his career with us. Here’s what he had to say:
The most exciting part of my job is the autonomy. I’ve been working in the financial industry for 13 years as an investment retirement planner with RBC for 10 years. At the age of 25, I was working towards obtaining my CFP when a friend of mine mentioned the opportunities available at RBC. He encouraged me to reach out once I was accredited so he could introduce me to his sales manager and discuss future opportunities.
I was interested in the impact and impressive brand reputation working for RBC had in the market. It was important for me to align myself with a trusted brand that helped clients make decisions on where to invest their assets.
Now that I’ve spent a few years building relationships within my branch networks, I have the flexibility to make my own hours and structure my day to meet the needs of my clients and my family. I have the autonomy to work from home or in-branch. Every day I feel supported in an environment where you know what you need to do to be successful. This role allows me to feel like a self-employed individual but within the structure of a large organization.
Is there something interesting that you’re learning right now?
I’m involved in an initiative within the healthcare industry right now as an investment retirement planner. RBC has an effective offering that gets medical doctors and dentists in front of our partners and branch teams. I get to be part of exploring new and innovative opportunities within market segments I never thought possible. It’s exciting because I continue to get the chance to receive specific training in new areas which opens up so many opportunities for my career.
What advice would you give to someone beginning their career in financial planning?
My biggest advice for someone beginning their career journey as an investment retirement planner would be to cultivate relationships within branches. You’re connected to an incredible network and it’s probably one of the biggest keys to your success.
A common misconception when speaking with potential candidates is the notion that since it’s a commission based role, you have to come here with a ton of existing clients and once you get here you’re responsible for finding all of your own clients. That’s not true, you have access to an incredible support structure that allows you the time to acquire new assets, create your master investment strategy and anchor to the right partners.
What has it been like being a part of the RBC team?
When I first started, the support I received from my sales managers was critical to my success. I was immediately paired up with senior mentors on my sales team and given the opportunity to shadow before I jumped into the role. This allowed me to spend time learning the ropes, understanding the intricacies of the role, establish rapport and build relationships with my team, in the branch and with clients. I focused a lot of my time ensuring I affiliated myself with the partners in the branch as I got started in my role.
To this day, I continue to nurture those relationships and spend time in the branch because this network is your number one centre of influence. As they interact with clients daily, they understand their needs and can point them in your direction when they’re looking for tailored, professional advice on their retirement. Since I’ve started, the role of an investment retirement planner has evolved so much - the engagement and relationships will make up at least half of your business.
Tell us about your career path leading up to now.
I was interested in starting my career journey as an investment retirement planner because of the support offerings from RBC’s branch and retail network, and the commission-based offering. That was very attractive to me. I was 25 and eager and I wanted to see how successful I could be in this environment. Today I’m very happy that I took that leap of faith. At first, it can be frightening but if you trust the process and you’re confident and can build relationships then it’s a great role to succeed in.
What kind of support do you have as an investment retirement planner?
There are so many accredited individuals with several different disciplines that are available to point you in the right direction so you can provide the right advice to clients promptly. Our Financial Advisory Support Team is a group of knowledgeable people that you can connect with in real-time who can point you in the right direction on complex areas.
RBC Global Asset Management is a game-changer when it comes to product quality and diversity and can address any product question you could ever have.
RBC is flexible and accommodating in providing support to obtain designations and promotes professional development with courses, ensuring we have the time we need to prepare and complete them.
How has RBC unlocked your potential to thrive?
We have a pretty powerful tool called MyAdvisor. It provides a platform for clients to be digitally enabled, regardless of their location in Canada and allows us to connect with them and take care of their needs at any time. We’re one of the first banks to adopt this tool and it’s a great differentiator. It’s increased opportunities and allows me to provide the best client experience possible.
How do you see your role evolving over the next 10 years?
We’re going headfirst into the digital era of advice. I anticipate a larger percentage of our daily lives surrounded by new technologies and applications. When it comes to being an investment retirement planner, in an advice-driven role -- understanding how to leverage that technology will become increasingly more important. The more data we drive, the more opportunities we have to present our clients with a full financial picture.
Your life motto?
My motto is “Live in the moment”. I have a young family so for me that’s the biggest priority and the most important aspect of my life. This role allows me to always be present and live in the moment.
Ready to experience your career’s Best Moments? Join our Financial Planning team at jobs.rbc.com/FinancialPlanning
This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.