Johnathan Pollock is a Senior Partner at Goals Based Financial Planning Limited – a firm on a mission to create a lifetime of financial security and peace of mind for their clients through fostering trust and developing meaningful relationships. Johnathan has dedicated himself to the financial well-being of his clients since the start of his career. His success is significantly due to his commitment to helping his clients reach their short-term and long-term goals.
In this edition of Advisor Spotlight, we speak with Johnathan to learn more about him and his approach to financial planning.
What inspired you to become an advisor?
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My dad owned a vacuum shop that started from nothing and grew to multiple locations, my uncle owns software companies, and my other uncle has had several businesses throughout his career.
Being a business owner on its own is tough. Then add to the fact you need to manage cash flow, attract and train key employees, manage risk, and build wealth. We understand how difficult and daunting this can be. So, we built a Team of the brightest minds in the industry and brought everyone together to provide proactive and holistic planning to our clients while simplifying the process along the way.
What do you feel is your competitive advantage?
There are a million products and solutions out there, and not all of them are great, let alone good.
At the end of the day, we are all just people, trying to make it and find some happiness in this crazy world we live in. People don’t want to be sold. We try to put ourselves in their shoes as best as we can and really get to the bottom of what drives them and what their fears and concerns are. Then we educate them on solutions that would be best fitted to address these issues, and the client plays an active role in the decision-making process.
What is the biggest misconception clients have about the process of getting insured?
That anyone can get insurance. Insurance is a funny thing. We often don’t want or see the true value of insurance until we are older and likely have had someone we care about or ourselves suffer a major health event such as a Heart Attack, Stroke, or Cancer. Conversely, when we are young and healthy is the best and most affordable time to get insurance. However, we often see ourselves as invincible at this age and insurance is just not a priority.
How do you think digitization will affect the future of the industry?
It’s hard to say for certain, however, I think it could have a pretty big impact.
There are definitely an excruciating amount of inefficiencies and redundancies in our industry, which clog up an enormous amount of time, time of which could be better spent serving clients. Our true value to our clients is not provided by sitting in front of computer screens filling out endless paperwork and navigating ever-changing compliance rules and regulations. These changes are necessary to help weed out the bad actors in our industry not acting in clients best interest, and only thinking about sales.
However, I see technology evolving to a point where advisors can leverage this to save an enormous amount of time with mundane tasks, while staying compliant and having more time to serve clients on a more intimate level.
On the other hand, there could be a temporary, unintended impact due to these advances in technology, as advisors later in their career may grow frustrated with all the changes, not just with compliance, but the ever- evolving and changing technology that we need to do our jobs. I could see this pushing a fair amount of good advisors out of the industry, earlier than they would have, and as a result less access to good advice for our fellow Canadians.
How do you stay up to date with industry trends?
I am an active member of Advocis, a professional association for Financial Advisors, and, I like to read, a lot. Knowledge is power.
What’s something about being an advisor you wish you knew earlier in your career?
You can’t please everyone, nor should you want to. Not every client is going to be the right fit. People want to work with other people like them, that share similar interests and holland similar values. Find out what your niche market is, and hone in on it.
What is the major takeaway you’d like to leave your clients with when choosing you for their insurance needs?
Take the time to really dig deep to find out what is most important to you, and what you would like to see happen for your family/business if you were to pass.
Then interview a couple of advisors, and find one you connect with, that listens to you, and takes the time to fully understand you and what makes you unique. Anyone can sell you a product, a great advisor will help guide you as to your best options.
What are some personality traits that make for a great Advisor?
Talk less, listen more.
What was one of the most meaningful moments of your career?
My first death claim for a client. You can read all you want, but nothing will quite prepare you for your first death claim. It’s emotional and relieving all at once. We talk about the importance of insurance all the time, however, in a moment when it feels like no one else can help, we can. We can’t help bring a loved one back, but we can help support them tremendously, financially, and often having one less thing to worry about (losing the family home) is what makes all the difference.
What challenges and opportunities do you foresee for yourself and the industry as a whole in the next 10 years?
I see advisors that are already working hard and doing what’s best for their clients will adapt and actually might come to enjoy the time savings that the ever-evolving changes in technology will bring. I could also see it pushing advisors out of the industry who have been running their business as a transaction-based sales model. As technology evolves, and more parts of our job become automated, it will become increasingly important for advisors to convey their value offering. Anyone can open some savings accounts and insurance and call that a plan, but it’s not.
The advisors that can adapt and embrace technology to enhance their service offerings will thrive, and those who fight it will have a tough road ahead.
Johnathan is a proud member of Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada. His continual interest in furthering his education in finance is a testament to his commitment to providing quality guidance to his clients. At the same time, his ability to keep growing and learning about the latest technology is a sign that the best is to come for Johnathan as his insurtech savviness continues to improve his customers’ experience.