What Makes Us DIFFERENT
- Our Promises
- We are a family business – We are truly multi-generational
- Community Roots
- How we assess Risk
- Tax Alpha
- Tax Planning
- Our Experience
- Small Practice with BIG Dealership
- Great Client Experience
- See what clients have to say
The Family Business
A question we used to get a lot was “When is Arnold going to retire?” In 2016, Ben came on board making that no longer an issue. Arnold is fond of saying he will never retire. But the reality is that he will want to slow down at some point and reduce his involvement gradually over time. Ben now has over 4 years in the business. He is insurance licensed and has a Qualified Associate Financial Planner (QAFP) designation and (while delayed due to COVID-19) is in the process of completing the last of his CFP courses and is expecting to earn that designation early in 2021. While clients are technically assigned to either Ben or Arnold, in reality, they have both working for them.
Community Roots – We’re In It for the Long Haul
Our roots go deep. We’ve worked in the Fraser Valley for over 25 years and in South Surrey – White Rock for over a decade. And more than that, we’ve made a long-term commitment to our community.
The vast majority of independent advisors lease their space year by year or rent it on a month to month basis. Or if they are employees of a large firm then they may have their office provided for them. We are in this for the long run, so we bought our space. Does that make us better advisors? No. But it does speak to our commitment to being there for you for more than just the next month. We are here to stay. In fact, we like to say that our hope is that our kids will be working with your kids.
We not only work in White Rock, we live there. And we try to keep it local by using vendors in the White Rock, Surrey, Fraser Valley area.
How We Assess Risk
We assess risk differently. Yes – we use the same risk tolerance profiler that other advisors use, but we treat them differently and consider them only a piece of the puzzle. Go to almost any financial firm and they’ll have you complete a risk profiler. After you let them know what risk you are comfortable taking, they’ll slot you in an investment product that they feel you are comfortable with. In our opinion, that is akin to a doctor prescribing not what you need, but only what you are comfortable with. You may need brain surgery. Would you prefer that the doctor prescribe what you are comfortable with or what you need?
We use profilers as a discussion tool. We then also assess the risk you need to take to get you where you want to go and also the risk you can afford to take and still achieve all that you want. We take all of that into account and then we make our recommendation. We’ll let you know if you need brain surgery or aspirin or something in between. Ultimately the choice is yours, but we will let you know in clear terms what we recommend.
Alpha is the industry term for generating an excess return. Tax alpha is the concept that what really matters is an after-tax return. That tax can be (and usually is) a very important consideration when choosing investments. For most people, a tax-preferred return of 4.5% is better than a fully taxable return of 5.00%.
Let’s use a very simple but common scenario. You are in a 20% marginal tax bracket and have a choice of earning 4.5% in capital gains or 5.00% in interest. Which is the better choice? Not by much, but in this case, it’s the capital gain.
| ||4.50% Capital Gain ||5.00% Interest |
|Amount earned on $10,000 ||$450.00 ||$500.00 |
|Tax on Interest || ||$100.00 |
|Tax on Capital Gain ||$45.00 || |
|Net Gain ||$405.00 ||$100.00 |
By taking advantage of Canadian tax rules that favour earning dividends and capital gains, it’s often possible to generate excess after-tax returns.
We take tax planning to another level. While we aren’t accountants, we do spend a great deal of effort understanding your tax situation. A handful of smart advisors now ask clients to provide them with a copy of their annual income tax notice of assessment. We take that one step further by setting things up so that we can just look that information up automatically every year and do a cursory review of your tax return to see if there are any special circumstances that we can take advantage of.
Experience isn’t everything, but it often has more value than we ascribe to it. Most of us at Visionvest have decades of experience in the financial industry under our belts. We’ve seen trends come and go. We understand which concepts, principles, and ideas are likely to last forever and which are likely to be fleeting. In the vast majority of cases, we have tested the product on ourselves before recommending it to clients.
One of our favourite sayings is that every internet-connected device should come with a warning label that states, “Wisdom Not Included”. Experience may not always beget wisdom, but it helps.
Small Practice with BIG Dealership
You’ll get to know us. We’ll get to know you. We are a small independent office, supported by one of the largest financial conglomerates in Canada. You get the personal touch of a small office with all the resources offered by Investment Planning Counsel.
We work hard to communicate with all of our clients on many levels. These include…
- Regular formal reviews
- Regular investment reporting
- Periodic touch-base phone calls and emails
In addition, we welcome you to follow/friend us corporately and/or personally on any social media streams that you use.
Great Client Experiences
We understand that the steak is more important than the sizzle. But it’s nice to have the sizzle, too. We spend most of our efforts on the back end doing things that you don’t see. Re-balancing, meeting with managers, reviewing tax information, etc. But we also want you to enjoy working with us, so we try to make meetings enjoyable and we try to do things throughout the year to give you a chuckle. See our April Fools Day Cards here.
In 2018 out of over 1,000 advisors we were one of three who were awarded the Best Client Experience Award. Just see what our clients have to say here.