Ask the Experts How to Make the Most of Your Money
“Most people say you can’t avoid death or taxes,” says Joelle Hall, Investment Advisor with The O’Brien Team at Richardson GMP. “ But you can reduce the amount of tax that you pay.”
The O’Brien Team operates under the umbrella of Richardson GMP, Canada’s leading independent wealth management firm. “We help business owners and professionals maximize how much money they have to do the things they love by using tax reduction strategies wrapped around investment advice,” Hall explains. With tax rates as high as they are, finding ways to correctly reduce the amount of taxes you pay will make a huge difference in your take-home amount.
“Think of it like this,” explains Paula O’Brien, Director, Wealth Management. “A tax-dollar saved is one that you don’t have to take out of your investment portfolio to give to the Canada Revenue Agency: this will make the portfolio last longer.”
The O’Brien Team was founded by O’Brien, who made a career change after working as a chartered professional accountant for many years. More recently, she met Hall at a networking event and they bonded over their past lives as accountants. Now they work together and use their advanced tax knowledge in addition to their expertise in finance to help their clients make the most of their money.
As self-described “tax geeks,” the pair work well together to manage all aspects of their clients’ financial portfolios. “We know that cash flow doesn’t necessarily equal taxable income,” says Hall. “We help people plan for the cash flow they want while attracting the least amount of tax. We look at tax-reduction strategies over our clients’ entire investing horizon: from when they are growing their assets to when they are spending during retirement and, if they so desire, leaving some for the next generation.”
Richardson GMP is the first wealth management company in Canada to be certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, which means the firm opens themselves to a rigorous, independent third-party audit of their practices. This esteemed annual certification program ensures that Richardson GMP’s Portfolio Management Account platform, for those advisors who have been delegated control over investment decisions for their clients, conforms to the global fiduciary standards of excellence.
As a portfolio manager, O’Brien takes her role very seriously, ensuring she and her team act in the best interest of their clients. Their open architecture and innovative solutions mean they are not restricted in finding the types of investments that are best suited to their clients. This freedom allows them to create unique funds and fill marketplace gaps, and look for off-market opportunities when appropriate for their clients.
When it comes to divulging your finances to someone, trust is key. “A client has to feel comfortable in everything that we do to allow them to share very intimate details of their lives—some of them personal, some of them financial—because really what we’re trying to be is a dream advocate for them to help them achieve their goals,” says O’Brien. “If there’s no trust, then we shouldn’t be their advisor.”
They start the process off with new clients with what they call a “fit” meeting, to make sure there is a mutual feeling of comfort. The O’Brien Team builds relationships with their clients that extend through multiple generations. That’s why succession was on O’Brien’s mind when she took Hall into the fold. They now have a plan in place for Hall to assume leadership of the team in the next two years, but with an extended period of overlap to ensure a smooth experience for their clients.
The client experience is always top of mind. As advisors, The O’Brien Team develops close relationships that allow them to witness the milestones in their clients’ lives. “We always love to get those calls when a client wants to take money out to buy a home for their family, or finally buy that boat they’ve talked about for years,” says O’Brien. “We are truly honoured to make a difference in our clients’ lives and witness the achievement of their goals.”
Hall and O’Brien encourage investors to think about tax planning and investment planning being intertwined, not as isolated considerations only to be addressed at tax time. Their approach has a compounding impact on portfolios and can help you achieve your bucket list sooner!