Article June 10, 2020

New technologies: turning barriers into opportunities

Since the start of the pandemic, advisors have had to embrace new technologies to continue their activities. For some, the transition hasn’t been easy. For others, it has proved to be a springboard.

Patrick Charette launched his own business as a financial security advisor and a mutual fund dealer representative under the name Services Financiers Patrick Charette in January 2020. A few weeks later, Quebec went into lockdown and put all economic activity on hold. Without an established client base, it wasn’t easy for him to kick-start his career under these circumstances.

But Patrick didn’t give up. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. “First, I started using Microsoft Teams videoconferencing to meet my clients. At first, people weren’t used to it, but by the second meeting, they felt more comfortable. Now, most say they like this approach because it’s more practical and saves time.”

But that’s not all. Patrick has created a website and a blog, and has been actively engaged on social networks, in particular Facebook and LinkedIn, so that more people can benefit from his expertise.

Share knowledge to make yourself known

As well as posting information daily on a range of financial health topics, Patrick answers questions from people who contact him through his Facebook or LinkedIn page. “I explain general aspects of financial services, and every two weeks, I offer a webinar on a variety of topics, such as critical illness insurance, disability insurance, RRSPs and TFSAs.”

Those interested can then call on his expertise if they so wish. Patrick’s office is in Saint-Jérôme, but he has clients from all over the province, and even in Nunavut! “In this difficult period full of uncertainty, people are keen to ask questions and review their financial situation,” says Patrick. “They need advice to help them make better choices. I’ve also found that they feel reassured when I contact them regularly to see how things are going.”

Patrick, a responsible investment specialist, says telework and the possibilities opened up by new technologies (paperless work, remote meetings, electronic signatures, etc.) are in line with his values. “It’s an opportunity to educate my clients about sustainable development,” he says. “I hope some things are here to stay.”

A 100% virtual approach

Philippe Vézina-Tardif, a financial security advisor, is also using social networks a lot. Philippe holds a finance degree from HEC Montréal and previously worked in a marketing agency. He joined ProAssurance as an associate one year ago and has developed a platform so the firm can offer services and information entirely online.

“With this platform, initial contact can be made through social networks,” explains Philippe. “For example, people seeking information about insurance products can click our ad on Facebook or Google. This will bring them to our website where, if they wish, they can complete a form, indicating their needs.”

An advisor will then contact them to provide an overview of what we can do for them.
“Due to the current crisis, we’ve received a lot of requests from people looking for information as well as firms wanting to create a platform so they can offer this type of service,” he says. Philippe thinks that a virtual approach has a lot of advantages for professionals starting out in their career.

Same level of professionalism

It’s true that social networks provide access to a wide audience, but it’s important not to overlook ethical requirements. The CSF would like to point out that representatives must, at all times, conduct their activities with competence, integrity and professionalism, and need to be even more vigilant when using websites and social media.

It’s important to act with the same level of professionalism as in face-to-face, phone and written interactions with clients. Be sure to provide content that is educational rather than promotional: content that is valuable, informative, clear and accessible to the public. And remember to provide sources and references to support your content. The aim is to earn people’s respect and trust, with a view to maintaining the image and credibility of the profession.

Info Déonto—Websites and social media (French only) 

Refer to the CSF’s InfoCOVID-19 section for more information