Advisor Spotlight: Ashley D’Silva

Ashley D’Silva is the President of PlanningPath Wealth Management, an independent lifestyle and wealth management agency in Toronto, Ontario. Whether it relates to short-term flexible options or long-term planning, Ashley has focused on building client-first strategic financial plans to simplify and enrich his clients’ lives.

In this edition of Advisor Spotlight, we speak with Ashley to learn more about him and PlanningPath Wealth Management’s approach to financial planning.

What inspired you to become an advisor?

During the early years of my career at the banks I realized people really wanted a trusted person who would spend the time to really understand them and be there with them as they go through life journeys. They wanted this person to be available when they call, so they can get impartial perspectives and the information they need to make comfortable financial decisions.

This need inspired me to set up an independent advisory practice and I find it personally rewarding that I can be that person in my client’s life.

What do you feel is PlanningPath Wealth Management’s greatest competitive advantage?

Figuring out a balance between savings, investing, insurance and taxes is a complicated overwhelming time-consuming task to do on your own.   

We take our clients through a step-by step interactive financial planning process. Our planning process takes into consideration the tax implications of every decision. At each step of the process our clients learn about the options and strategies available for them.  

We guide, and the clients have the control on which decisions they are comfortable making.

What is the biggest misconception clients have about the process of getting insured? 

Some people feel they may get a high insurance premium or get rejected by an insurance company because they visited a doctor for a recent health matter. For this reason, they may shy away from just starting a conversation with an insurance professional. I was able to get a client a standard life insurance premium (even though he had recovered from a cancer treatment) by sending in applications to two different insurance companies to see who would come back with a favourable offer. 

Another point I would like to make is, don’t wait just because you feel you are healthy and young. At times an Underwriter reviewing your application would see your health is better than standard (based on their guidelines) and offer you a reduced premium.

How do you think digitization will affect the industry in 10 years?

Digitization has progressed tremendously since the first COVID lockdown. Overnight financial institutions, compliance departments, and advisor practices had no choice but to collectively innovate to survive. 

Currently clients don’t see all the tools advisors use behind the scenes to analyze and plan different scenarios before we provide our strategic recommendation(s). Today there are a different set of calculators available for the public on the web for those who want to do it themselves. 

I believe within 10 years these tools and calculators will come together for a more interactive client-advisor relationship. This innovation will bring more clarity, more confidence, and more opportunities, for the client and the advisor.

How do you stay up to date with industry trends?

The best part about being an independent financial advisor is having the opportunity to gain perspectives and brainstorm financial ideas by networking with other top independent advisors across Canada and the US.

With the knowledge I gain from being part of this community, I am able to share strategies, tips and tactics with my clients to multiply their results, along with efficient ways to grow my practice. 

What is one piece of advice you would give a person entering the advisory business today?

From the start learn to listen to what the client wants. By listening, you will ask the right questions. These questions will help you understand the client’s thoughts, emotions, experiences, hopes, and dreams to get them to what they want.

With every excited and empowered client, you have the opportunity for them to introduce you to the next potential client.

What’s something about being an advisor you wish you knew earlier in your career?

Over the years I have realized a big part of being the go-to advisor in my client’s life is also: 

  • Being an educator: every question a client asks is an opportunity for them to learn about all the moving parts and how they fit together.
  • Being a coach: by helping clients see how far they have come in the time we started working together helps them recognize their achievement. This gives them happiness and makes them more committed to do more for themselves, their family and community. 
  • Being a leader: by having meaningful conversations that excites clients to take steps towards achieving their meaning of freedom of time, relationships, and purpose. 

How has remote work affected your work and management styles?

Yes, it has been a blessing. With less driving I have more time to spend on creating financial plans and be available for more appointments online. Clients can now schedule an appointment using an appointment booking link I share with them.

Clients are comfortable with signing documentations electronically with DocuSign, and very comfortable with online appointments from the comfort of their home or office.

With more appointments clients are feeling more confident about their financial affairs and able to spend more time with their family, friends, and interests.

What is the major takeaway you’d like to leave your clients with when choosing you for their insurance needs?

Be open to starting a conversation about protecting your lifestyle and finances. I am available to guide you. 

You don’t have to do it by yourself. The process I use, starts with a 5-minute questionnaire. This questionnaire will assist in our meaningful discussion to understand some of the transitions you may be experiencing. 

If we both decide to work together, we will go over a needs calculation. My team will survey the market for features and benefits you can take advantage of, at the lowest premium.

What was one of the most meaningful moments of your career?

For me it was Feb 2012 when I decided to leave the corporate world to start my independent financial practice where I could live my personal meaning of freedom of time, relationships, and purpose. 

I get to talk to people about what is important. When I show people their plans, I help them envision what their life can be. The insurance products I provide helps guarantee their future and that of the people who depend on them. I get to provide coverages that they need where beneficiaries don’t just survive but they thrive. In short, I get to bring meaning and purpose to people’s lives.

Ashley has fostered a client-first approach by centering his client’s needs and creating interactive financial plans that are easy to understand. With this approach to financial planning, and an ongoing curiosity about industry trends, PlanningPath Wealth Management, is sure to grow to have many more successes in the years to come.