The brokers of Bay Street might guffaw at opening a world-class investment office in Winnipeg, but few can argue the move when it’s the number one ranked advisory firm in Canada that’s doing it.
With a focus on technology, an aggressive acquisition strategy, and the ability to attract top wealth advisors from other firms across the country, Winnipeg-based Wellington-Altus Private Wealth has managed to achieve a meteoric rise in assets under management, surpassing $10 billion in less than three years. This growth has resulted in expanding to more than 300 employees and over 20 national offices, including their new Winnipeg headquarters.
“We’re proud to have a head office here,” states Shaun Hauser, founder and president of the firm, adding being a Winnipegger is a point of pride for both himself and co-founder and chairman Charlie Spiring. “Winnipeg remains an affordable, exciting community for our employees to live and work in; we’re proud champions of this great city and hope that our presence and success can encourage other organizations to make Winnipeg their home.”
Located on the 25th floor of 201 Portage Ave - just steps away from the city’s iconic intersection of Portage and Main - the office’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic visuals of downtown Winnipeg, including a birds-eye view into Shaw Park, the home of the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team, and The Forks.
Designed with these visuals in mind, the board and meeting rooms feature electrochromic glass that allows for privacy but ensures the views and natural light are always available. This also allows for brightness to flow through the office’s state-of-the art, open-concept employee workstations, and in-house, full-service café.
The café, which is available to employees, is just one example of the company’s unique client-first experiences. Whether it be their favourite smoothie or dinner dish, menus are prepared and tailored in advance of the client’s arrival, and to top it off, when they depart, they’re given a sweet box of baked goodies.
They’ve also implemented advanced technology to ensure client safety and health when they come for in-person meetings. Along with managing the number of visitors to ensure that distancing is maintained, the company has installed an infrared temperature scanning kiosk for a hands-off approach to safety checks.
This bricks and mortar experience may fly in the face of the current movement towards a remote workforce, but plays a key role in true collaboration and connection between clients and advisors, as well as employee dynamics.
“We’re committed to providing a top-notch employee experience. While we have the IT infrastructure to allow us to work from home, we know that our teams thrive when they’re given the space, tools, and opportunity to work together,” states Hauser. “We actively encourage communication, collaboration and open doors at all levels, and feel that the ability to work together in a fantastic physical environment drives that work style and our success.”
However, Hauser does acknowledge the future of the industry has changed with some physical meetings being replaced by virtual ones, and clients expecting more transparency and frequency regarding communications. Wellington-Altus has placed technological advancements at the forefront and transitioned to a more digitized style of wealth management with investment advisors participating more readily in digital media such as podcasts, webinars, and social media platforms.
Most recently, the company launched Wellington-Altus Labs - an in-house centre for digital transformation, equipped to build and curate tech-based applications that drive productivity and create efficiencies for advisors and create a better client experience.
This kind of internal innovation and streamlining is guided by what’s dubbed as the easy button committee, whose entire focus is to break the cycle on conventional norms and do the same things better and faster. In the age of disruptive technology, this has also meant pivoting on the people they put in place to attract not just brokers and “number crunchers” but comprehensive wealth advisors who are positioned to address the rapidly changing investment industry.
“Successful wealth advisors are knowledgeable in all types of planning events, and, as importantly, can access a team of specialists that are employees of the company. In the case of Wellington-Altus, no cost has been spared in curating a team of planning specialists whose only purpose is to support our advisors on financial and estate planning needs of their clients,” explains Hauser, adding their financial advisors are more than just financial — they are part-time psychologists, connectors, life coaches, and more, benefiting clients on a number of fronts.
To learn more about Wellington-Altus Private Wealth, visit wellington-altus.ca.