Ranked Top 50 Advisors for the Fifth Year!
An Interview with Paul Green
For the fifth year, Paul Green has been ranked as one of the TOP 50 ADVISORS by Wealth Professional Magazine. We had the opportunity to sit down with Paul to ask him a few questions about being ranked as one of the Top 50 Advisors in Canada and what that means to his firm and for the small town of Woodstock.
What does it mean for you and your firm to be ranked as one of the top 50 Advisors in Canada for the fifth year in a row?
To be recognized as one of the top 50 Advisors in Canada, for a fourth year, is truly quite humbling. This recognition acknowledges that during our 27 years in the industry, we have been working hard to deliver exceptional value and service to our clients. Seeing our clients happy and satisfied with Green Private Wealth is the true gauge of success.
What are the benefits of working and living in a small town like Woodstock?
The benefit of a small town community is the sense of closeness we have with our clients. We see our clients at the grocery store or at the bank. We may run into them at charity functions or out for a walk with their family. When we look after our clients, it’s as though we are looking after our own family. We care for our clients and their future, the same way we care for our own family members. Our clients trust us to grow and protect their wealth and look after their financial future. It’s a high level of responsibility we don’t take lightly and a service we are privileged to provide.
What makes your firm different from your competitor’s?
We truly practice financial planning through a holistic approach. We are also discretionary portfolio managers that focus first and foremost on protecting our clients from severe market declines. Our main focus in terms of the investment process is protection. There are less than 10% of Financial Advisors in Canada that are portfolio managers, making this a very important difference between Green Private Wealth and other financial institutions, including large banks. We are independent in that we work for our clients, not for big banks or mutual fund companies. Our job is to make our clients happy and satisfied and we pride ourselves in strong client relationships and value of service. Our focus is service and results.
Can you further explain what you are referring to as “severe market declines? Are you saying that you are able to protect your clients from down shifts in the market?
Our process is to analyze the trends and see where big money is moving. Big money is always in motion and, for example, we are watching to see if it is moving from stocks into very safe investments like treasury bills. We know that there are severe market declines approximately every 4 to 6 years in a secular bear market and that the average decline in a stock portfolio would be 35%. What we want to do is protect our clients from those severe declines so they are not exposed to the full 35% average decline. It is important to remember that losing 35% in the stock market means that you need to make a 54% return in order to get your account back to what it was. However, if a stock portfolio could move to cash and lose just 10% that means you only need to make 11% to get it back to whole. This is why we have a sell discipline and follow a risk management program – so the impact of a severe market decline is drastically less for our clients. Protecting our clients from severe market declines doesn’t mean we can protect our clients from all market declines, as any market cycle will see -5% to -10% moves every year in the stock markets. We believe these market moves are just ‘noise’ and they do not trigger our sell discipline. These smaller declines are common but our goal is to protect our clients from experiencing severe declines, such as that of 2008.
You have a few different titles to your name, one being Discretionary Portfolio Manager. How does this benefit your clients?
Most advisors do not have discretionary trading abilities, this means they would have to get a verbal or written approval from each client in order to process trades in their portfolios. The average advisor has approximately 250 plus households, so imagine the amount of time it would take to obtain consent from all households for one move. This is why most advisors leave their clients in a Buy and Hold strategy. The reality is that it is very difficult for advisors to make portfolio changes, unless they are a Portfolio Manager. The benefit of having a Portfolio Manager is their ability to trade on their clients’ behalf. If we need to exit the market and move all assets to cash or if we are processing a buy/sell we can act much faster as we don’t need to contact our clients for permission to trade. Another benefit is eliminating the sophisticated investor rules on certain products such as non publicly traded assets. This means all of our clients have access to products that are typically restricted to the very wealthy. Having non publicly traded assets (private debt, real estate and infrastructure) in clients portfolios brings an additional level of risk management. Lastly, Portfolio Managers are held to the “fiduciary” standard, meaning we must act in the best interest of our clients by law. This leaves more than 90% of advisors in Canada held to the “suitability” standard which is a liberal interpretation of client care and easily defended in court.
How many people do you have on staff at GWPC?
We have a team of 9. The importance of the team is a necessity and the reason for GPWC’s success. Mentorship is equally central to our approach. Team growth is key to survival in this industry and we train our associate advisors to constantly improve their service levels and efficiency. If it were just myself, there would be missing links in the business, as we all have our strengths and weaknesses. My team at GPWC fills in these gaps and offers our clients everything they need to feel secure and confident about putting their future in our hands. This is a responsibility that everyone in the firm takes personally.