• Develop the team dedication and discipline to deliver on your client service commitment “day in, day out.”
  • Revenue is a byproduct of exceptional, consistent service.
  • Lead by example.

What is the unique value proposition that distinguishes your practice?

The hallmark of our team has always been a high level of client service, treating people the way we’d want to be treated.

I send a lot of emails out to our team on a daily basis, and in them I repeat the same ideas: dedication, discipline and consistency.

Words such as integrity, trust, peace of mind, honesty and transparency can start to sound trite, but we try to live them every day. There’s no magic to what we do; it’s just the dedication and discipline to do it, day in and day out.

I’m a pretty good listener and our clients are very open and honest with us, whether they have a marital problem, their children have marital problems, or they have health concerns. The relationships go beyond us managing their money.

You have to be able to meet targets for clients, get solid rates of return and provide financial plans and budgeting advice – all the things that many advisors do. What differentiates us is personalized service: caring, integrity and honesty that clients can feel.

We don’t do any marketing and we don’t ask for referrals. As I tell our team, it’s “service, service, service.” If you get that right, it will lead to new accounts, assets and households. Revenue is simply a byproduct.

“We don’t do any marketing and we don’t ask for referrals. As I tell our team, it’s “service, service, service.” If you get that right, it will lead to new accounts, assets and households.”

What role do ETFs play in your portfolio management?

We manage about $700 million in assets, and the majority of that is managed on a discretionary basis, meaning that I manage it as a portfolio manager. So most of our clients aren’t involved in decisions about whether to buy a particular bank stock, or a bond or a GIC. They leave that to me as their portfolio manager.

As a portfolio manager, I manage assets on a discretionary basis, which means there is a heightened level of licensing and fiduciary responsibility. We use exchange-traded funds to augment what we do and help keep our costs down. “Industry attractive” is the term we use – our fees are much lower than you would pay with a traditional mutual fund, for example, and they are tax deductible in many instances.

I can choose securities in the U.S. and Canada fine on my own. But in Europe, Asia, emerging markets or in gold-specific and other micro or niche markets, ETFs provide instant diversification at low cost – while taking the subjectivity out of the process because you’re buying an index.

What inspires you most about your practice today?

We work with many families, and when they say they’d like to retire in 15 years, for example, we put a financial plan or blueprint together for them: here’s how much money you have today, here’s what you make today, here’s what you’re able to save, here’s what you’ll need to live on – and here is when you can retire.

Each year we review the plan to see if we’re on track. Then 15 years becomes 12, and then 11, and then five, and then two. Things change: they might change jobs or come into a windfall. Then someday ...

We had clients in this morning that both plan to work for two more years. But I was able to tell them they can hand the proverbial keys back to their employers today if they want. They high-fived each other and then said, “That’s what we came to you for, and you’ve led us to the finish line.”

To me, that is everything. That’s what gets me up in the morning – helping people achieve their long-term financial goals and objectives. That’s what we do.

What are some of the most important aspects of leading a large partnership or team effectively?

I try to lead by example in terms of work ethic, but also in terms of values, integrity and professionalism. I’m not saying one thing and living another. We treat our clients the way we’d like to be treated, and as the leader of our team, I treat my team the way I want to be treated. I also believe in hiring nice people and in having an extra person on our team rather than being short-staffed and burned out.

You get back what you give. The people on my team often put in more than the usual eight hours per day, not because I ask them to but because they see the culture that we have here.

“We treat our clients the way we’d like to be treated, and as the leader of our team, I treat my team the way I want to be treated.”

What is your best advice for less senior advisors?

Isadore Sharp, the founder and chairman of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, wrote: “The most vital element that I believe underwrites all aspects of success is ethics. For me, any business agreement is a relationship rooted in trust, and trust is the emotional capital of a company. They say trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.”

I believe that.

Maili Wong

Rob Kelland

Portfolio Manager,
The Kelland Wealth Management Group, ScotiaMcLeod

Rob Kelland is a portfolio manager who has been with ScotiaMcLeod throughout his career, starting after university when his application letter serendipitously landed on the president’s desk and led to an interview.

Based in London, Ontario, he leads The Kelland Wealth Management Group, a team of 10+ investment and service professionals.