Canadian wealth managers jockey to recruit advisers

Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:19pm EDT
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* Aging work force, regulatory change driving competition

* Big companies may benefit from high compliance costs

* Arduous process means good fit is key

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - An aging workforce and looming regulatory change are driving stiff competition between Canada's top wealth managers to recruit new advisers, a costly and arduous process that makes finding the right fit crucial for both sides.

With the average age of advisers at full-service investment companies nearing 50 and compliance demands rising, top-tier firms say the next few years may bring the stiffest competition yet as advisers and employers jockey to find a permanent match.

"There are a lot of things going on in the industry over the next few years, and that's spurring a lot of advisers to think about where they're practicing, and ask, 'Is it the right place for them for the long term?'" said George Garner, head of national sales at Manulife Securities.

As Canadian regulators demand more in transparency and compliance with what is known as a Client Relationship Model, advisers are facing more arduous documentation requirements, from client suitability surveys to performance reporting and cost and compensation explanations.

For some, the looming regulatory increase may mean it is time to jump from a small independent wealth manager, or a firm that isn't technologically savvy, to one that is ahead of the curve and ready to help them with the hard lifting so they can focus on the client, not the paperwork.   Continued...