Justin Manning is an Independent Financial Advisor at Justin Manning Vegan Financial Advisor. After a decade as a personal trainer, Justin transitioned in 2016 from a focus on physical health to helping clients achieve financial wellness.
Anup Ruparelia is an Independent Financial Planner at Affinity Capital Management Inc. A Finance Professional for 20+ years, Anup transitioned in 2017 from successfully managing corporate clients to focusing on helping individuals better manage their finances.
In this edition of Advisor Spotlight, we speak with Justin and Anup to learn more about them and their approach to financial planning.
What inspired you to become an advisor?
Justin: During my previous decade-long career as a physical wellness coach, I helped meet people where they were, create a plan to help them reach their goals, and educate them on best practices while being their accountability partner. When I realized how aligned financial wellness was to physical wellness, I decided to become an advisor. During my previous career, I also personally experienced driving my credit rating into the ground because I didn’t know how it all worked. I then built it back up to an ‘excellent score’ through my own research and knowledge. I figured it would be a fulfilling career to be able to pass along this important information to others who need it as I did. Canadians report financial wellness as their top stressor, after all.
Anup: For the last 25 years, I have been a successful financial consultant to mid-large corporations. I have helped them save millions of dollars by improving tax and accounting inefficiencies. 5 years ago, I felt it was time for a change and started looking for ways to help people rather than corporations become better money managers. I completed my CFP® designation in 2017 and started Affinity Capital Management Inc. It has been an amazing journey and I feel grateful to be able to help individuals and families improve their financial situation and hence their overall quality of life.
What do you feel is your competitive advantage?
Justin: 12+ years in nutrition, 10+ years in fitness, and 6+ years in group health & wellness benefits.
Anup: From day one, I had decided not to be connected to anyone’s bank or insurance company. Affinity Capital Management Inc. is an independent financial planning firm that serves the client first. I can provide unbiased financial coaching/mentoring/advice with ONLY the client’s best interest first and foremost. Essentially, the way I would want to be treated by a financial planner/advisor as a client.
What is the biggest misconception clients have about the process of getting insured?
Justin: “It’s too expensive,” and “nothing bad will happen to me.”
Anup: Same as Justin above and…I have found out through conversations that when the word insurance comes up…they immediately think I am trying to sell a product rather than educate them about their financial concerns…so I talk about their immediate financial concerns and then bring in insurance once I know a trusting foundation has been built.
How do you think digitization will affect the future of the industry?
Justin: It helps clients save time and money through the consolidation of information between multidisciplinary advisors. It also increases the importance of privacy and security.
Anup: Much needed and well overdue. Canada is actually far behind many other countries in fintech. Technology will allow fast back-office turnaround time. Advisors will be able to serve a much wider market…( I am in Ontario, and I now easily serve a client in BC), client/advisor access to vital client information and access to new investment/financial monitoring tools…I could go on…in short, the benefits far outweigh the threat of security because our digital footprints are everywhere already anyway….
How do you stay up to date with industry trends?
Justin: FP Canada, Benefits Canada, and provincial licensing councils.
Anup: FP Canada and CPB (bookkeeping association), and many industry media.
What’s something about being an advisor you wish you knew earlier in your career?
Justin: Riches are in the niches, you can’t be all things to all people, mentorship matters, and storytelling is the secret to building relationships.
Anup: The main reason I became a CFP® was to change the way the industry has been doing things. In the past, anyone could be an FA. I am so happy this is finally changing in Canada. In the past, I have never felt my FA had my best interest at heart but now, being in the industry, I am correct in thinking that the client wants…integrity, trust, unbiased advice and education where the client’s needs are the only focus…and best of all, they are willing to pay for it directly.
What is the major takeaway you’d like to leave your clients with when choosing you for their insurance needs?
Justin: Choosing to work with a needs-based advisor who provides access to all the options available while simplifying the process is important. Your health is your wealth, and your ability to produce income is your number one asset which can change in a flash at no fault of your own. Getting insured is the first step to a strong financial wellness foundation, protect/invest/spend the rest.
Anup: Clients are smart and know what is important for them and their families. I don’t sell insurance. I educate them throughout the financial planning process on the hierarchy of financial needs/wants. I talk about personal, and family security and its role in ensuring goals are met even when life may throw curveballs to try and derail your goals. Insurance plays an important role in achieving their goals and estate planning when they are gone.
What are some personality traits that make for a great advisor?
Justin: Mindset is everything. Great advisors display collaboration over competition. Warmth through strong listening skills and smart questions are paramount. Emotional Quotient (EQ) is far more valued than Intelligence Quotient (IQ) from the consumers perspective, and Adversity Quotient (AQ) is crucial for the confidence and longevity of the advisor themself.
Anup: Integrity, trust, transparency, honesty, empathy, loyalty…by the way did I mention TRUST.
What was one of the most meaningful moments of your career?
Justin: Winning a $4,000 cash donation prize at a 1,000+ advisor event, donating the prize to Foodstash Foundation, a registered Vancouver BC charity helping people suffering from food insecurity. Saving small businesses tens of thousands of dollars on their health and wellness benefits every year is also meaningful and rewarding.
Anup: I cannot narrow it down to one, but I feel most grateful when a client shares with me how they feel about working with me and entrusting me with their most intimate financial details. (by the way…fact…people feel more comfortable talking about their sex lives rather than their financial lives.
What challenges and opportunities do you foresee for yourself and the industry as a whole in the next 10 years?
Justin: The future of our industry is centered around consumer privacy, advisor fee transparency, value-aligned business models, and professional designation regulations.
Anup: Opportunity: leveraging fintech to capture a wider audience; moving toward greater transparency means only the FA’s providing true value-add to clients will survive; people, planet, profits…ethical/sustainable investing is the future…the only future…and investors know it, so it is a great opportunity.
Challenges: overdue professional designation regulation, which the industry must now enforce; one of the wealthiest client segments (65+) are not fintech savvy and don’t trust it; advisor value-add is going to be very important because people can do so much on their own online now…mortgages, DIY investing, Insurance…etc.
Justin and Anup’s unique career journeys have allowed them to develop distinctive approaches to helping clients. That, combined with their commitment to their client’s financial well-being, will continue to fuel their success in the years to come.