Business

Economic resurgence prompts search for financial advisors

A resurgence in the financial advisor marketplace in the U.S. may be an indication that country’s slumping economy is on the upturn.

And for a Kelowna firm, it means the need to expand quickly, evident by a job fair the company will host at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 12.

Pareto Platform, a management financial advisory consulting service, has about 25 people working out of its Landmark Tower office, and will look to double that in the coming year.

Most of those client service support jobs will be based in Kelowna, but Pareto is also looking to expand its expertise around the globe.

Duncan MacPherson, who founded Pareto Systems with David Miller in 2000, said their company was founded on the principle that about 80 per cent of an entrepreneur’s business is generated by about 20 per cent of his or her clients.

So Pareto’s objective was to help those entrepreneurs to attract and keep clients in that 20 percentile while creating a  precise and efficient business in the process.

“What we found is that we’d help a client by providing a consulting service direction for them, but when we stepped out of the picture, the client would revert to their old habits,” MacPherson said.

So in 2003, MacPherson and Miller developed the Pareto Platform, an extension of their consulting philosophy that enabled financial advisors with an easy-to-use dashboard for managing client relationships through management processes that everyone in a given practice could easily follow.

It includes templates and scripts for interaction with clients, as well as audio and video covering countless aspects of a financial advisor’s practice.

The concept took off when they partnered with Microsoft on the delivery of the software package.

“They brought us instant credibility, as everyone knows Microsoft,” MacPherson said.

Using a car analogy, MacPherson said Microsoft provided a Volkswagen chassis and the Pareto software program turns it into a Porsche.

“It was a classic example of where one plus one equalled three.”

He said the financial advisory business is a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., bigger in California alone than in all of Canada.

“The heaviest concentration is in New York City and Boston, which is the financial centre of America,” MacPherson said.

But they see no need to leave Kelowna as the home base for their business, because the world is becoming more technically savvy.

“The mobility and portability of a web-based solution in Kelowna that can reach clients in Singapore, United Kingdom, you name it. And it’s definitely part of our growth plan to go beyond North America.”

MacPherson said they are trying to follow the model of WestJet, which expanded its flight services beyond being a regional carrier, but didn’t lose or drastically change its corporate identity in the process.

MacPherson said there will be a need with continued growth to expand their client service capabilities to other locations in North America and globally, with the firm’s Kelowna roots remaining intact.

“It’s a great location for us,” MacPherson said of Kelowna.

“We live here and our core staff live here, and there is a lot of talent in the Okanagan Valley, Vancouver and Alberta who would do anything to move here.”

For more information about the upcoming job fair, check out the company’s website at www. paretoplatform.com.

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