From his office, in a beautiful historic building in Rothesay, Peter Buckley shared his philosophy (and some advice) on how he and his team help their clients find a clear path to financial independence.
Peter, a financial adviser for more than 30 years (with seven professional designations), is co-founder of Buckley Patterson Shaw Securities (BPSS) an independent financial services firm that provides comprehensive wealth management. They support their clients with a mixture of financial plans, investment and insurance products and debt repayment strategies.
Peter also manages to offer a great deal of time to his community – from coaching sports and charitable work to participating in local government and heritage projects.
I started our conversation by asking Peter about his clientele.
A: We work primarily with business owners, medical specialists and dentists. It isn’t about the size of the business. We don’t discriminate. Many firms have a minimum threshold of a million dollars of investable assets. We don’t. We actually spend a lot of time with new medical specialists and new dentists.
Q: Why the focus on young professionals?
A: Through our many years of working with established medical and dental professionals, we feel it is important to share what we have learned from that experience. We think it’s crucial for young professionals to get a good solid foundation in place. It probably will lead to business but that would be well into the future, which is fine by us because we plan to be around for a long time. We feel like this focus is an investment in our community and an investment in our business.
Q: BPSS is in a beautiful, historic spot. How did you end up here?
A: I started in the financial business in the early ‘80s, and I worked my way through with another firm until about 10 years ago. At that point, my wife Kelly Patterson and I decided it was time to do our own thing. We bought this building and then built our business.
Q: What you have learned about your business in the last 10 years?
A: It’s important to surround yourself with good people. I have learned that there are a lot of people who are willing to help, but you have to ask for it. I have also learned that I really enjoy building a business in the way I think it should be done.
[Tweet “It’s important to surround yourself with good people.- Peter Buckley”]
Q: What pushed you into leaving another firm and launching BPSS?
A: I think we had enough experience when we started that we knew how we wanted to deal with clients and how we felt their situations should be managed. The goal was to always continue to do that and then build an organization where we could pass those values and beliefs on to others, so that the work will continue long after we’re gone.
Q: Did you have your customer segments already lined up or was that something that evolved?
A: We made that decision probably 20 years ago. These are the types of clients we enjoy dealing with. Their situations are complex enough that they need some outside guidance and we can definitely bring value to them. Some people in our industry focus on one particular area. In this part of the world that is difficult because there may not be enough clients in a single segment.
Q: How do you handle growth?
A: By being more efficient. As we help clients get organized and focused and headed towards their goals, there is not as much work in maintaining as there is in setting it up. So we’re pretty careful when we’re tracking new clients that they’re a good fit for us because the setting up period is pretty intense.
Q: What does a good client “fit” look like?
A: We need shared values, we need to see eye-to-eye and we need to see the world somewhat the same way.
[Tweet “We need shared values, we need to see eye-to-eye. – Peter Buckley”]
Q: What kind of values would you be looking for?
A: We’re looking for people that listen to advice, who can work with other people and are even-keeled.
Q: What is your approach to attracting new clients?
A: Mainly through our current clients, we get unsolicited introductions quite regularly from the people we’re dealing with.
Q: In terms of comprehensive wealth management, what is the area of opportunity you see for business owners?
A: I’m seeing that small business owners are very busy, that many times they have a hard time working on what I would call the important but not urgent things – like longer term planning, succession or even a contingency plan.
Q: Are there areas of a business that you support above and beyond the financials?
A: What differentiates us is that we have the patience to work with our clients on the things that really need to be in place for them to be financially successful. For example, we help put systems in place that support the management of their finances so that they can focus on other things in their business.
Q: Do you measure client satisfaction?
A: We commissioned an independent survey of our clients about 15 months ago and 97 per cent of the respondents were in the most satisfied category of the survey.
Q: What are the big opportunities you see in our economy and marketplace?
A: I see a lot of really innovative businesses that are a bit of a secret. I see a lot of really cool stories and the challenge is to grow. It’s not easy because not only do you have to run a business and find new clients, but you have to watch cash flow, expansion, etc.
Q: What do you believe is the biggest challenge for your industry?
A: I think it would be very difficult to start fresh right now. I think the best entry points for someone into our industry would be with a bank and maybe a salary position and learn the business. The other option is to start with an organization like ours.
Q: What has changed in your industry since you began working within it?
A: I think the consumer is much more educated. They have access to a lot more information. When I started there were the four pillars – the insurance business, banking business, the brokerage and trust companies – each pillar did their own thing. Now everybody is doing everything. There is a lot of competition. I think it is much more complicated and there are more products, so if you’re going to make a recommendation to a client you really need to understand the whole range of financial options and that takes time to grasp.
[Tweet “I think the consumer is much more educated. – Peter Buckley”]
Q: What systems do business owners typically have a challenge with?
A: Cash flow, tax remittance, overspending.
Q: What is the most important financial advice you give to a business owner?
A: Manage cash flow. Make sure you understand what’s yours and what belongs to the government. Create a plan and a target and constantly measure. Finally, make sure that you’re where you planned to be and if you’re not, discover why not.
[Tweet “Make sure that you’re where you planned to be. – Peter Buckley”]
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This article published in the Telegraph-Journal on Saturday, September 24, 2016.