Q&A With Roderick Walsh: A Partnership-Based Approach to Wealth Management.
Foundation Wealth Partners (FWP) is a partnership-based portfolio management firm offering wealth management firms high-quality professional advice, investment management, and advanced planning services. With offices in Ontario, B.C., and Alberta, Foundation Wealth Partners prioritizes personalized service for their clients, leveraging cutting-edge technology and industry insights to deliver comprehensive strategies for long-lasting success. The firm’s commitment to building strong client relationships fosters a culture of trust and collaboration, empowering clients to achieve their financial goals with confidence.
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Roderick Walsh, Partner at FWP, to discuss the transformative impact of their partnership with Purpose on their operations and client relationships.
Why did you choose to partner with Purpose?
Discretionary Portfolio Manager vs Broker
First and foremost, I really believe that Foundation Wealth’s partnership model in cooperation with Purpose is unique at several different levels and is better for our clients.
With this new model, I can do a better job as a discretionary portfolio manager versus being a broker. As my team continues expanding our offering to our clients, the partnership supports us to ensure we adhere to compliance and regulations.
The second thing is that I didn’t really have ownership of my business before becoming a partner with Foundation Wealth. Foundation Wealth’s partnership model allows the advisor to be an owner of a company. And that is huge. It’s something I visualized but didn’t think would be as profound as it is.
From time to time, in social situations where someone inquires about what I do, instead of saying, ‘I’m a broker at ABC Company,’ I can proudly say that ‘I am a registered portfolio manager as well as a partner and owner of the business.’ This carries a different weight in the conversation.
Client Trust and Loyalty
We’re a relatively young business, but we possess a wealth of experience as mature business leaders. Each of us has devoted considerable time to this endeavour. While I could easily retire, I opted against it. After fostering relationships with clients for over 30 years, I believe it would be unfair to introduce them to a junior associate upon my departure. I wished to avoid such a scenario, emphasizing the importance of trust and loyalty with our clients as the third reason.
Moreover, this perspective has allowed me to contemplate the future and consider proper business succession. I aspired to be in a position where I could instigate meaningful change, and this objective held significant importance to me.
Like any entrepreneurial model, there are inevitable challenges along the way. Therefore, I am upfront with new recruits, partners, and potential partners, ensuring they understand that perfection is not the norm here. However, we firmly believe in the direction we are headed.
Has your partnership with FWP made operations easier for you? If so, how?
Absolutely, partnering with FWP has significantly streamlined our operations. As front-line professionals, we benefit from having dedicated individuals assigned specifically to support us. This arrangement undeniably makes a positive difference. Not only do we share the common goal of continuous improvement, but we also appreciate the collaborative efforts between Purpose and our teams.
Also, our performance is better because the cost is lower for the client. That’s one of the key factors. Even though 2022 was a challenging year, we are making a lot of progress.
Our business has shown close to 15% growth in 2022 because we have been able to offer more options at a lower price to our existing clients, and we are able to accommodate new clients who have unique preferences as well. That’s significant. Most clients who primarily own mutual funds had their costs go down by up to 25% because we are building the portfolios instead of using retail-priced mutual funds.
Overall, the combination of our partnership with FWP, the support from Purpose, and the technological advancements facilitated by Fidelity as our custodian creates a highly efficient and empowering environment for us.
What advice can you offer to other advisors thinking about going independent?
It is crucial to examine and challenge your biases regarding the current state of your business. I’d say that as advisors, you should take a moment to acknowledge that you aspire to something better, something different.
To embark on this journey, it is important to approach independence with an open mind and understand the contrasting dynamics of being a broker versus a portfolio manager. By challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone, you can grasp the distinct responsibilities, perspectives, and challenges that these roles entail. Just because you may have spent the past 25 or 30 years following a particular path doesn’t automatically make it the right or wrong choice. However, it will undoubtedly be a unique experience.