Michael Taglieri,

Michael Taglieri, an ad­vi­sor with As­sante Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment in Burling­ton, Ont., has a back­ground in art and a pen­chant for tech­nol­ogy. He says both in­ter­ests en­hance his abil­ity to serve his clients

Investment Executive - - FRONT PAGE - BY LEAH GOLOB

se­nior wealth ad­vi­sor with As­sante Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment Ltd. in Burling­ton, Ont., makes tech­nol­ogy an in­te­gral part of his prac­tice. Taglieri em­braced so­cial me­dia seven years ago, and uses the ma­jor plat­forms to share com­pelling — of­ten non-fi­nan­cial — con­tent with his clients. He in­cor­po­rates tools such as video-con­fer­enc­ing and meet­ing plat­forms to com­mu­ni­cate with his clients.

tech­nol­ogy al­lows michael Taglieri to fo­cus on what mat­ters most in his fam­ily-based fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory prac­tice: one-on-one time with his clients.

The 38-year-old se­nior wealth ad­vi­sor with Toronto-based As­sante Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment Ltd. in Burling­ton, Ont. has been quick to em­brace the dig­i­tal age — and make tech­nol­ogy part of his prac­tice.

When As­sante de­vel­oped a so­cial me­dia pol­icy in 2011, en­abling its ad­vi­sors to use so­cial me­dia plat­forms, Taglieri em­braced Twit­ter, LinkedIn and Face­book — the so­cial me­dia plat­forms com­monly rec­og­nized as the Top Three for fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors.

Al­though the ini­tial goal of Taglieri’s so­cial me­dia strat­egy was to ac­quire new clients, he later learned so­cial me­dia was a more ef­fec­tive tool for build­ing his brand and show­cas­ing his value. (See story on page 14.)

“Not ev­ery­thing I post is fi­nancere­lated,” Taglieri says. “It’s more about who I am as an in­di­vid­ual and some of my per­sonal philoso­phies.”

Taglieri of­ten shares con­tent re­lated to health, mind­ful­ness, arts and cul­ture, and fam­ily re­la­tion­ships. Most peo­ple al­ready have ac­cess to what’s oc­cur­ring in pol­i­tics or the fi­nan­cial mar­kets, he says.

To avoid be­ing slowed down by com­pli­ance mea­sures, Taglieri digs around for ap­prox­i­mately two weeks worth of con­tent to send to the firm’s mar­ket­ing ap­proval team ahead of time. He typ­i­cally re­ceives the go-ahead within a few days, then be­gins post­ing.

At the end of each month, Taglieri col­lects the data from his so­cial me­dia links and cre­ates a news­let­ter fea­tur­ing three ar­ti­cles on sub­jects that re­ceived the most ac­tiv­ity. He in­cludes com­men­tary on why the ar­ti­cles are im­por­tant and pro­vides a brief summary.

Al­though Taglieri no longer ex­pects his dig­i­tal ef­forts to bring in new busi­ness im­me­di­ately, he has no­ticed that a hand­ful of prospects have ap­proached him be­cause ex­ist­ing clients for­warded the news­let­ter to them.

“There’s never a pitch or any­thing in [the news­let­ters] to ac­quire [new clients],” Taglieri says. “But be­cause of the mes­sage, this sort of hap­pens or­gan­i­cally.”

Taglieri also notes that his on­line re­la­tion­ships with clients — par­tic­u­larly on Face­book — add value by help­ing him cre­ate per­sonal con­nec­tions off­line. By be­com­ing “friends” with Taglieri on Face­book, his clients can watch his chil­dren grow up — and vice versa.

“It’s some­thing we get to dis­cuss when we’re to­gether in per­son,” he says.

The Face­book plat­form is per­fect for the type of clients Taglieri serves, which typ­i­cally range in age from their mid-40s to their late 60s and are con­cerned with is­sues re­gard­ing fam­ily wealth — par­tic­u­larly es­tate preser­va­tion and cre­at­ing good in­her­i­tors.

Taglieri keeps this fam­ily-re­lated per­spec­tive in mind when build­ing port­fo­lios. For ex­am­ple, for a client cou­ple, he cre­ates a sin­gle “fam­ily” port­fo­lio rather than a port­fo­lio for each spouse.

“Once the port­fo­lio is cre­ated, we de­liver a cus­tom­ized fam­ily in­vest­ment pol­icy state­ment, which out­lines the fam­ily’s in­vest­ment, tax and fi­nan­cial strate­gies,” Taglieri says. “It works as a man­date or rule book for how we will be mak­ing in­vest­ment de­ci­sions within the port­fo­lio.”

The fam­ily niche is a com­fort­able fit for Taglieri, who runs his busi­ness with his wife, Sab­rina. She is the Taglieri team’s client ser­vices spe­cial­ist and han­dles or­ga­ni­za­tional and struc­tural pro­cesses. The three-per­son team in­cludes an ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant.

Michael Taglieri, who has been in the fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory busi­ness for 10 years, came to the fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory busi­ness via an un­con­ven­tional route. Af­ter com­plet­ing a bach­e­lor of fine arts — with a fo­cus on pho­tog­ra­phy and art his­tory — he spent a few years as a pri­vate art con­sul­tant be­fore mov­ing into the field of fi­nance.

Switch­ing from art con­sul­ta­tion to fi­nan­cial ad­vice was a nat­u­ral tran­si­tion, he says. As an art con­sul­tant, he helped art col­lec­tors and cor­po­rate clients work within their bud­gets to ac­quire works of art for their col­lec­tions.

“[That’s] sim­i­lar to what we do [now],” he says. “If you get ap­proached from a client who has X amount of dol­lars, you sit down and learn about his or her needs and wants so you can build a port­fo­lio ac­cord­ingly.”

Taglieri’s busi­ness has grown to serve 180 house­holds, with a to­tal of $78 mil­lion in as­sets un­der man­age­ment.

Taglieri’s “out­side the box” think­ing means his team re­mains on the look­out for new tech­nolo­gies that can make pre­par­ing for and hold­ing client meet­ings more ef­fi­cient.

For ex­am­ple, Taglieri projects com­put­er­gen­er­ated re­ports on his Mi­crosoft Sur­face (a hy­brid lap­top/tablet com­puter) onto a TV screen in his meet­ing room. (See story on page 18.)

One of Taglieri’s favourite Sur­face fea­tures is a sty­lus he uses to write on the screen. He can draw on re­ports and cir­cle num­bers to help clients un­der­stand the data he is shar­ing.

“[This use of tech­nol­ogy] saves a tremen­dous amount of time,” Taglieri says. In­stead of print­ing doc­u­ments for clients in ad­vance, his team can at­tach rel­e­vant doc­u­ments to each client’s ac­count dig­i­tally. Taglieri can edit these doc­u­ments “live” dur­ing client meet­ings, so he doesn’t need to make notes dur­ing the meet­ing and up­date the ac­count in­for­ma­tion later.

For Taglieri’s snow­bird clients, out of town clients and pro­fes­sional clients who are too busy to meet in per­son, Taglieri uses GoToMeet­ing, a web-hosted on­line meet­ing soft­ware plat­form that al­lows au­dio, video and screen-shar­ing among meet­ing par­ties.

“We try to em­u­late as much of an in­per­son meet­ing as pos­si­ble,” Taglieri says. “Be­ing able see the other per­son helps en­gage­ment and fo­cus. If you’re not look­ing at each other, you could eas­ily get dis­tracted by tex­ting or feed­ing your dog.”

Al­though not ev­ery client is at ease with tech­nol­ogy, GoToMeet­ing is sim­ple enough for most clients to use. For clients who may need as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing some se­nior clients, Taglieri sets up a call five min­utes be­fore the meet­ing so he can walk them through the setup process.

Help­ing clients adapt to As­sante’s data com­mu­ni­ca­tion por­tal, through which ad­vi­sors and clients can com­mu­ni­cate and ex­change data, proved more dif­fi­cult. Sab­rina spent a good chunk of 2016 and 2017 as­sist­ing clients with the reg­is­tra­tion pro­cesses and pro­vid­ing clients with tu­to­ri­als that demon­strate ways of us­ing the plat­form.

Clients have ad­justed to the por­tal, Taglieri says, and use it fre­quently. In fact, clients use the highly se­cure “chat” mes­sag­ing sys­tem on the por­tal to con­tact Taglieri more than they use reg­u­lar email. Taglieri, in turn, can share client in­for­ma­tion, such as meet­ing notes, quickly and se­curely through the por­tal.

“[Us­ing the por­tal] is great dur­ing tax time,” Taglieri says, “be­cause we can up­load per­ti­nent tax forms or tax slips, and not have to worry about in­for­ma­tion get­ting hacked or any­thing else.”

Tech­nol­ogy also is a topic Taglieri ad­dresses dur­ing his semi-an­nual client ad­vi­sory board (CAB) meet­ings. Twelve of Taglieri’s clients are mem­bers of the CAB and rep­re­sent his client base pro­vid­ing feed­back to Taglieri and his team. Meet­ings with the CAB present op­por­tu­ni­ties for Taglieri to share im­por­tant in­dus­try is­sues and so­licit opin­ions and rec­om­men­da­tions for im­proved client ser­vice.

CAB meet­ings also pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for Taglieri to pitch new ways of in­cor­po­rat­ing tech­nol­ogy into his busi­ness. For ex­am­ple, in the spring of 2017, Taglieri made a pre­sen­ta­tion to a CAB panel re­gard­ing his plans to re­build his team’s web­site. Sur­pris­ingly, his clients told him not to bother. “They didn’t feel it was a sig­nif­i­cant tech­nol­ogy,” he says.

When Taglieri isn’t busy serv­ing clients, he en­joys spend­ing time with Sab­rina and their two chil­dren — ages seven and four. He also rides his mo­tor­cy­cle, at­tends arts and mu­sic events, and sits on the board of the Pre­fix In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Art, a pub­lic gallery and arts pub­lish­ing house in Toronto that fo­cuses on con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy and dig­i­tal arts.

Clients use the mes­sag­ing sys­tem in As­sante’s por­tal to con­tact Taglieri more of­ten than they use email

PAUL LAWRENCE

PAUL LAWRENCE

Michael Taglieri, who holds a bach­e­lor of fine arts de­gree, be­lieves his back­ground as an art con­sul­tant helped pre­pare him for a ca­reer as a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor. In both cases, he says,“You sit down with [clients] and learn about their needs and wants.”

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