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Making Waves

October 16, 2018


At just 33 years old, Grant White is young for a financial advisor. Yet with 12 years of experience already under his belt, he’s demonstrating that youth isn’t always a stumbling block in this industry. After graduating from the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business, White made stops at Wellington West and BMO Nesbitt Burns before starting his own practice, White Hewson Wealth Advisory Group, under the National Bank umbrella.

White’s interest in the industry was piqued while he was working in retail sales during university. His father, a financial advisor himself, told White that if he enjoyed working with people, he should consider becoming an advisor because it was a great way to help people achieve their goals. It didn’t take long for White to realize that the industry would be a perfect fit.

“I realized how much I enjoyed the market and investing in companies,” he says. “It was a combination of two passions: working with people and helping them succeed while diving deeper into investing.” Entering the business wasn’t easy, though, even with familial support.

“I started as an advisor at 26 years old,” he says. “My challenge was picking up new clients as a young advisor and getting credibility in the industry.” But White was eventually able to learn the ropes and has now established his own mentorship program for new advisors at his firm, whom he encourages to pick one strategy, follow through and keep working at the business.

During more than a decade as an advisor, White has seen a number of changes, but the main one has been increased transparency.

“I started on the MFDA side – a world where fees were very opaque and people didn’t have a clue as to what they were paying for an advisor’s services,” he says. “I have seen a lot more transparency, but I think it needs to go even further.”

Another major change has been the advances in technology. “I think the advantage that artificial intelligence gives us in this business is incredible,” White says. “Technology will have a great benefit in terms reducing manpower costs going forward and helping us be more efficient.”

While many advisors are wary of new technology like robo-advisors, White sees them as a helpful tool, pointing out that “they are part and parcel of being able to manage more clients and provide more advice.”

In providing that advice, White takes a planning-focused approach. He starts by determining what’s most important to a client and then working backwards, saving any talk of specific investments until after a plan is in place. That approach has been a hit with White’s clients, many of whom are fellow small business owners in Winnipeg.

“Wealth management is a family business, but we have owned and operated a number of [other] family businesses here for decades,” he says. “We work with a lot of small business owners and feel we can speak on the same level with them.”

In terms of strategy, White keeps the focus on value-based investing. Recently, he has been building up cash investments in anticipation of an inevitable market correction – something he views as an opportunity rather than cause for alarm.

“We are planning for that and welcome it because we think we will take advantage of good companies at lower prices,” he says.

White’s investment philosophy seems to be paying dividends so far: In May, he was named Young Gun of the Year at the Wealth Professional Awards.

“In an industry dominated by older people, it’s nice to be recognized and respected for the work we’re doing,” he says. “We have a good vision of how we’re going to make an impact on the industry.”

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