Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Canadian Responsible Investment Conference: Switching to SRI

Transitioning your practice to SRI can be a painless process, according to one advisor who made the move successfully. Gail Taylor of Gail Taylor and Associates at CIBC Wood Gundy in Edmonton has a $100 million SRI book and more than 100 clients.

Speaking at the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference in Victoria this week, Taylor says she built her practice the traditional way and had worked her way up to $80 million by the early 1990s. But she was unhappy and went to a business coach for help.

The business coach told Taylor that she had to find a way to build passion into her business. Taylor decided to switch to SRI, but was worried about what her clients would think. “My clients didn't hire me to be a do-gooder,” she said. “I expected a 20% haircut.”

Instead, the opposite happened. Taylor got no push back whatsoever. “Clients told me that it was great and asked why I didn't make the move sooner. It's easy to transition to SRI and it's important work.”

Taylor says advisors who make the switch offer a unique value proposition. “The number of advisors doing SRI is still relatively small,” she says. Taylor describes herself as an “anomaly” in the CIBC office, since she's the only one offering SRI. “Our industry is at the early adapter stage. It's at the cusp of moving exponentially. My organization is going to get SRI in the future.”

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