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Finding a Top Financial Advisor in Canada

Finding a financial advisor often is not an easy task. Not all advisors charge their clients the same way, and they don't all offer same services. In Canada, there are a variety of individuals who fall under the "advisor" umbrella, and it's important to know what each offers before selecting someone to help you. (For more, see:When is Hiring a Financial Advisor Necessary? )

Bank financial advisors help clients set up a mutual fund account at a bank, whereas mutual fund salespeople work for a mutual fund or financial planning company and only are licensed to sell mutual funds. Similarly, stock brokers work for larger financial firms and deal mostly with individual stocks, and insurance brokers focus primarily on insurance. Further, there are managed investment advisors who mainly work with high-net-worth clients and financial coaches who tend to focus on helping people manage basic finances and pay off debt. (For more, see:Shopping For a Financial Advisor .)

If you want someone to help with your overall financial situation — retirement planning, asset allocation, taxes, etc. — you want a financial planner. Depending on their qualifications, some stock and insurance brokers may offer financial planning advice as well. (For more, see:What Do Financial Advisors Do? )

Choosing an Advisor

When evaluating financial advisors, it is important to determine their qualifications, but beware of the potential for confusion when faced with the array of acronyms that may follow an individual's name. The most important letters to consider are either CFP, certified financial planner, and RFP, registered financial planner. RFP, generally, is for more advanced investors but both indicate the individual is qualified to give advice rather than simply to sell investment products. (For more, see:Essential Questions for a Financial Advisor .)

Canadian online publicationWealth

Professionalranks the top 50 financial advisors in Canada, focusing on three fixed performance criteria: assets under management, revenue contributed to the business, and AUM per client. TheWealth Professional Top 50 Advisorslist also includes separate rankings of fee-based advisors and those who run their practice on an embedded compensation model, whereby sellers are paid to endorse certain brands and the incentives usually are not revealed to clients. (For more, see:Paying Your Investment Advisor: Fees or Commissions? )

Top 10 Advisors (2013-14 AUM increase)

  1. David Sutherland, CIBC Wood Gundy (Toronto)
  2. Rob Tetrault, Rob Tetrault Wealth Management Group (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  3. Jeff Ber, Ber Wealth Management (Calgary, Alberta)
  4. Cyrilla Saunders, Saunders Wealth Advisory Group (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
  5. Elie Nour, Elie Nour Group (Oakville, Ontario)
  6. Gene Kim, Summit Private Wealth (Montreal)
  7. Arthur C. Salzer, Northland Wealth Management (Markham, Ontario)
  8. Shafik Hirani, Shafik Hirani's Private Wealth Management Practice (Calgary, Alberta)
  9. Tom Pownall, Sigma Wealth (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  10. Lyle Rouleau, Rouleau Investment Group (Edmonton, Alberta)

Top 5 Advisors by Assets (fee-based)

  1. Reg Jackson, JMRD Wealth Management Team (London, Ontario)
  2. Lyle Rouleau, Rouleau Investment Group (Edmonton, Alberta)
  3. Arthur C. Salzer, Northland Wealth Management (Markham, Ontario)
  4. Robert McClelland, The McClelland Financial Group (Thornhill, Ontario)
  5. Eric Muir, Muir Investment Team (Burnaby, British Columbia)

Top 5 Advisors by Assets (embedded comp)

  1. Wayne Townsend, Lawton Partners (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  2. Diane McCurdy, McCurdy Financial Planning Inc. (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  3. Shafik Hirani, Shafik Hirani's Private Wealth Management Practice (Calgary, Alberta)
  4. Susan Andrighetti, The Andrighetti Group (Toronto)
  5. Corey Tucker, ICBC Imperial Service (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

The Bottom Line

Choosing a financial advisor is a difficult and important job. Know what type of help you need and want, understand how the professional you choose is compensated, and familiarize yourself with the advisor landscape. There are plenty of tools out there to help Canadian savers make the right decision. (For more, see:Paying for Investment Services: What You Get .)

Category: Advisor

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