Wes Ashton, CIM, PM

The second installment in the Advisor Spotlight Series

Published by Tanner Geary
August 10, 2020


Welcome back to our second feature in the advisor spotlight series. Several advisors expressed their support following our first post last week and appreciated the introduction into how Adam approaches working with younger clients, the advancement of risk assessment software, and how he is using technology to scale his practice. For those of you who missed our first post, click here to read the RiskMetrics feature on Adam Bornn of Parallel Wealth. We are excited to continue the series this week with a leader in the Canadian wealth management industry who is using an independent, unbiased approach to rapidly accelerate the growth of his firm.

RiskMetrics's second edition in the advisor spotlight series showcases Wes Ashton, CIM, PM, National Sales Manager, and Co-Founder at Harbourfront Wealth Management. Harbourfront is an advisor owned IIROC dealer with branches across Canada. Wes is also a principal in one of Canada's top-ranked wealth management teams; Popescu Ashton Group. He has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 50 Advisors in the last two years, placing in the top 10 in 2019. He has over 18 years of industry experience and has been featured in various media sources including Advisors Edge Magazine, as well as a guest speaker on “Asset TV Canada” and “Business in Vancouver/Roundhouse Radio”. I was fortunate enough to speak with Wes several weeks ago with regards to risk assessment software and was able to take away some valuable advice for approaching advisors with technology products. Yet most importantly, I was able to glean some insights into what separates Harbourfront and Wes from the more traditional advisory approach and their ongoing success as a result of focusing on the importance of maintaining a customer-centric approach.

I originally came into contact with Wes as RiskMetrics was going through its customer discovery process. I had been connecting with wealth management professionals to see what their approach to understanding their client's risk tolerance was and how best to provide a risk assessment software solution. Wes graciously returned my email and agreed to spare some of his time to speak with me. My previous conversations with advisors followed a typical structure of introducing our company, the industry problems we had identified and a description of our risk assessment software followed by some high-level summary response as to how that particular advisor slowly arrived at an understanding of their clients' risk tolerance. From the onset of my conversation with Wes, I could tell that this call would be different. It was clear that in all business-related communication he strived to provide the most value for all individuals involved.

From the beginning of the call, Wes wanted to understand what our risk assessment software would do, the value it brought for advisors, what the implications were for compliance, and how our risk assessment software may satisfy the KYC requirements. Wes knew that even though we were still in a discovery phase that it would be important for me to articulate the concept of our risk assessment software to all the advisors we were talking to throughout the discovery process. Wes reminded us that what we're trying to accomplish isn't too different than building a successful practice and that it is important to communicate our value along the way and help our clients understand the final product and/or service and how it will benefit them in the future.

Wes's points were a great reminder to me as I approached future advisor calls and can also be best practices for wealth professionals in the industry doing due diligence when adopting new technology into their business. COVID 19 has forced advisors to utilize technology to scale their business and to set themselves apart from their competition. When searching for new software solutions, or are being solicited by software companies, it is crucial that advisors ensure they are getting the value they need out of the technology. Wes's focus on understanding the nuances of how the product worked, asking tough questions that others would have typically left for future meetings, and asking directly what value the software would bring to advisors to grow their practice allowed him to immediately discern whether or not this solution was the right fit for him.

Being purposeful in all interactions and taking care in deciding which type of technology to employ are just a couple of examples which highlight Harbourfront's independent and unbiased customer-centric approach. Although I approached Wes with some questions surrounding risk assessment software, he knew that understanding how the software benefitted his clients was most important. Harbourfront's open architecture environment provides their advisors the autonomy and the ability to make decisions on how the technology would be deployed to their clients to maximize its value.

A customer-centric approach is what drives our business here at RiskMetrics and Harbourfront is a prime example of its necessity in a wealth management firm. All of our decisions surrounding our risk assessment software are about how can we best deliver a service to advisors which in turn maximizes our impact on the clients themselves. Similarly, financial advisors must ensure that all communication, technology decisions, and operational choices are made with the best interests of the clients as the deciding factor.

Wes and Harbourfront Wealth Management can be reached with regards to any questions or interest you may have by clicking the contact button below. Looking ahead, we are excited to be releasing a post reviewing some of the best technology to integrate into your firm and our third post in the advisor spotlight series.

Contact Wes

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