Clearsight Acquired by Wellington West

The company that my investment advisor works for, Clearsight, has been acquired by Wellington West. As a result of this, my advisor will no longer be with the newly formed company,

One outcome of our new partnership is that your current advisor, X, will not remain with Wellington West Clearsight. As a result, Y will now be responsible for your accounts. Be assured that you will receive the same sound investment advice that you have come to expect from Clearsight.

It looks like the new company will be called “Wellington West Clearsight.” Wellington West was the worser name of the two so I think they should just change the name to Clearsight. After browsing their website for a bit, a couple negatives jumped out at me

  • One of their core principles is “At Wellington West, our commitment to independent growth is an asset that we will always preserve.” If you click on the growth link you see some graphs that shows the growth in the number of client accounts they have and the number of assets under their management? Huh? Am I supposed to want to take my money there because they can grow their client base? I says: “At Wellington West, the loyalty of our clients and our dedication to independent growth are assets that we will always strive to preserve. As our history shows, we are capable, confident, and committed to our core value of moving our clients forward.” What does growing their assets and growing their number of clients have to do with “moving clients forward.” What does “independent growth” mean anyways? Does it mean growth done independently without acquisitions? In their email to me they were also very proud to tell me about their growth as a company for some reason: “Wellington West is Canada’s fastest-growing independent wealth management firm, managing more than $7.6 billion in assets with 28 branches across the country and 425 employees. It has more than 30,000 client accounts.”
  • On their home page there is graphic that says “move clients forward and keep them eternally.” Um… Great sales pitch. Come to us and we will do everything in our power to keep you here eternally. I think keeping clients eternally should be a positive side-effect for the business if they do everything else right but keeping clients shouldn’t be a goal in itself. That’s the sort of thing that Microsoft does.
  • Another principle is “at Wellington West, we are the best at whatever we undertake.” Understatement of the year.
  • They mention their “clear, uncompromising focus: we serve our clients first” and their “clients’ interests and needs always come first” although I was a bit dismayed at how, after the takeover, I was neither a) consulted on what I thought of my advisor (maybe if he received enough praise from clients they would have kept him?), b) contacted me personally about my advisor’s leaving/dismissal, instead I received a form letter. They say in their email that I’ll be contacted in the next few weeks. To me that doesn’t sound like “serving clients first” or “clients interests always come first.” Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, I don’t know.

It’s easier for me to find some negatives. The positives are a bit harder to figure out because I just don’t know enough yet. There are some things I would like to know more about, for example:

  • “The fruits of our strategic collaborations include access to quality independent research, deal-flow and, one of the most advanced fixed income offerings in Canada, our Rapid Electronic Bond Access (REBA) system”
  • They have several “solutions” and I haven’t heard of any of them and would have to look in to it some more.
  • The advisor who is taking over my account sounds much more senior than my advisor was, although that may just mean that I will have less access to him while he spends more time with his big clients.

By the way, my ex-advisor did not contact me. I can only assume that they locked up his computer and Internet access yesterday morning and so he was unable to get a list of home numbers to contact his now former clientele and thus recruit them to wherever he goes next. I will be searching for his number and I will eventually make a decision of whether to stay at Wellington West Clearsight or move with my ex-advisor. Whether or not Clearsight stays with Ross Healy might be a factor, considering it was the reason I went to Clearsight in the first place. I am not aware of the alternatives to Ross Healy’s services out there, although I am sure they exist.

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