When comparing financial advisors, it often seems they’re all the same. Most will assure you that they're honest, caring, give great service and produce better returns. All these are important, of course, but how do you know which assurances are real and which are just catch phrases?
We believe that no advisor is right for everybody. Every advisor is different, as is every client, and the challenge is finding a fit that works for both. The right fit is very important to the Stan Clark Financial Team because we work closely with our clients for many years. These are relationships that last longer and are deeper than those of almost any other professional, save perhaps a family doctor or spiritual leader. That’s a huge responsibility for us – and we take it very seriously.
We hope the following list will help you decide if a fit with the Stan Clark Financial Team feels right for you.
Many things set us apart.
Here are 10…
1. An entire team of specialists working for you
The nine highly trained members of our team were invited by Stan to join because of their intelligence, integrity and compassion, in addition to their education and experience. We all work together to provide you with financial planning and to help you build a portfolio to meet your investment goals. You have personal access to everyone on the team, and to a dedicated team member responsible for making sure all aspects of your financial planning and investments are coordinated and on track.
Our team credentials include four Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA), three Chartered Investment Managers (CIM), three Certified Financial Planners (CFP), three Personal Financial Planners (PFP), four Portfolio Managers (PM), seven registered Investment Advisors, two licensed insurance advisors, a Chartered Life Underwriter, a Certified Health Insurance Specialist, and a Trust and Estate Practitioner.
By pooling our knowledge, resources and individual strengths, you get to enjoy the benefits of personalized service plus specialized experts to help preserve, grow and enhance your wealth.
2. Our team is experienced, stable and principled
In addition to our credentials and team approach, the Stan Clark Financial Team has over 160 years of combined experience, achieved right here at the Vancouver Park Place branch with CIBC Wood Gundy. That’s an average of 18 years per person.
It is rare to see a team working for such a long time together, at one firm. We believe this demonstrates not only our experience, but also our stability and our commitment to serving our clients’ best interests.
With over 30 years of experience overseeing financial planning and investment management, Stan has instilled his principles in the team’s Philosophy and Commitments. Stan believes having well-defined rules and following plans with discipline are key to success. This laid-out process also helps the team earn trust through transparency, and to be independent in our decisions. Further, Stan has taught the team to be rational and consistent in our actions.
Stan holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford University and has earned both the CFA (investing) and CFP (financial planning) designations. He strongly believes that integrating knowledge, technology and great people is essential to preserving, growing and enhancing the wealth of his clients.
3. We are backed by the strength and resources of CIBC
CIBC Wood Gundy has been a leader in providing trusted financial advice to individual Canadians since 1905. We are a division of CIBC World Markets Inc., and a subsidiary of CIBC, one of the largest banks in North America.
CIBC Wood Gundy encourages doing what’s right and best for clients, while ensuring your assets and private information are protected and secure. With one of the finest information-technology platforms, a top-rated economics department and extensive financial planning resources, we believe CIBC Wood Gundy offers the best combination of support and security of any firm in Canada. In their over 30 years with CIBC Wood Gundy, Stan and his team consistently provide clients with peace of mind and confidence in their portfolios.
4. We are proactive and transparent with our advice and communications
The Stan Clark Financial Team is proactive and transparent with our advice and communications. Our goal is to create a strong and trusted working relationship by communicating with you in a direct, honest and timely way.
We make sure your financial plan is updated regularly. All our investment portfolios are monitored daily and we promptly contact you if an item needs attention. We also provide regular portfolio reviews, performance summaries and tax reporting. This means you can rest assured that the markets and your portfolio are being watched and monitored on your behalf.
Furthermore, we regularly publish learning resources, including our Perspectives newsletter, Market Updates, white papers and reports, to openly explain what we do and why. This keeps you informed and helps you stay on track to meet your goals.
5. We use disciplined planning and investing processes
Without proper financial planning and well-defined investment processes, it’s easy to simply drift – to fall into common financial traps, such as trying to time the market or failing to plan for retirement. We help avoid these traps by using a planning process that breaks everything down into easy steps you can do on a realistic and convenient schedule.
We get to know you, to understand what’s important to you and your financial goals. We create a Personal Financial Plan: a detailed roadmap to guide your lifelong financial well-being. We integrate your investments with your plan, using our exclusive Equities Target Review system developed by, and only available through, the Stan Clark Financial Team. We then ensure your investments stay on track, properly balanced between growth and risk. We create a written Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that lays everything out clearly for you. And, we help you complete your financial action plans on a timeline that suits your schedule.
Taking a systematic approach to all phases of planning and investing ensures that you protect and grow your wealth to achieve the most from life’s opportunities.
6. We invest directly in individual stocks, rather than relying on mutual funds or outside money managers
The average equity mutual fund underperforms the market. Behavioral finance has shown why this occurs: Many mutual fund managers try to pick stocks using a subjective approach. This approach makes them susceptible to emotions and biases, and leads to systematic, repeated errors.
Our rules-based strategies help us avoid those errors and take advantage of the above-average returns found in stocks with factors proven to outperform the market. Every day, we obtain independent, high-quality financial data from thousands of public companies, plus earnings estimates and ratings from research analysts across the industry. Most important, we make our decisions by objectively analyzing this data, using our team’s proprietary systems and applying our rules to separate the stocks we want from those we don’t.
Such strategies enable us to create and manage diversified portfolios using individual stocks and exchange-traded funds. Our strategies’ average compound growth over the past 25-plus years has surpassed market indexes and has outperformed comparative mutual funds. The strategies have also consistently beat the averages over most rolling three-, four- and five-year periods. They have had considerably fewer losing periods – in keeping with our goal to deliver exceptional growth to our investors during up markets, while softening the blows and easing the stresses of down markets.*
* Further information is available upon request.
7. We create custom financial planning and investment technologies
Not content with using standardized off-the-shelf software and basic programs, Stan Clark and Michael Chu combine their expertise in investing, financial planning and computer programming to create planning and investment technologies unique in the industry. This allows the team to create, monitor and manage financial plans and investment portfolios that are extremely well integrated and customized to each client. And, it allows us to offer unparalleled transparency in our communication and reporting. This helps us keep our clients fully in-the-know on how they are positioned and progressing towards their life goals.
8. Our compensation is fair, transparent and directly linked to the health and size of your portfolio
Our compensation is structured so that the Stan Clark Financial Team succeeds when you succeed.
With our fee-based structure, we do not charge for every added service, and we do not receive commissions for transactions in your portfolio. Instead, we charge a fee based on the value of assets with us. So, our interests are aligned with yours – to protect and grow your wealth.
Our fees are consistent, fair and transparent. They compare favourably to those charged by investment counsellors and are lower than those charged by most mutual funds. The efficiencies that come from our use of advanced technologies and our well-organized team approach allow us to keep our fees highly competitive – while providing superior results and service.
9. We “eat our own cooking”
Some advisors invest their own money differently from how they invest their clients’. We don’t understand this. If you truly believe in what you recommend for your clients, why wouldn’t you invest the same way for yourself and your family?
On our team, advisors invest their own money, and that of their families, using the exact same strategies we use for our clients. It’s called “eating our own cooking.” And it’s proof that we truly believe in what we do and that we treat our clients as we would want to be treated ourselves.
10. Our approach to financial planning and investing is based on the lessons of behavioral finance – helping you to avoid costly financial mistakes
The Stan Clark Financial Team uses the lessons of behavioral finance as a foundation for our approach to financial planning and investing. Extensive research has shown that in matters of economics, finances and investing, people (including professionals) make systematic, repeated mistakes, are seldom aware of these mistakes and fail to learn from them.
To avoid “human” mistakes, the Stan Clark Financial Team at CIBC Wood Gundy rigorously follows rules-based investment strategies specifically formulated to compensate for our inherent limitations and biases. The team also follows a financial planning process designed to help people get organized and avoid many of the common planning errors. Following the lessons learned from behavioral finance is the best way we have discovered to protect and increase individual wealth.