Jason Heath — Ontario, Canada
Jason Heath: Index Advisors For Canadian Expats
Jason Heath is in a tough business. He provides objective financial planning but doesn’t receive a dime in commissions. The Markham, Ontario based CFP and income tax specialist doesn’t earn annual fees based on his client account sizes either. So how does the guy make money?
Jason charges consultation fees for broad financial planning: everything from estate planning, to budgeting, to retirement goals and investment allocation. Because he doesn’t benefit from investment purchases or client account sizes, he advises with no strings attached. In fact, the strings are nowhere to be seen. His firm has an in-house accountant and estate lawyer. And Jason isn’t too proud to use external resources when it makes sense to do so.
“I was disillusioned by the mainstream financial industry,” he says, “so I wanted to do something different.” Few investment advisors could survive such a lean, transparent compensation structure. But Heath builds a client base through heaps of credibility. He writes a column devoted to financial planning for the National Post, one of Canada’s two national papers. Such a platform gives him plenty of exposure.
“I have clients in Canada, Brazil, Europe, the U.S. and Africa,” he says. Jason’s services are perfect for Canadian expats building portfolios of low cost index funds. “If they open accounts with an offshore discount brokerage [like TD Direct International, Saxo Capital Markets, DBS Vickers] or a non-resident account with TD Waterhouse, I can assist them with portfolio allocation after providing comprehensive short term and long term retirement, children’s education and asset allocation strategies.”
Heath spends plenty of time constructing financial planning goals with clients. He charges anywhere from $1,500 to $4,500 for a plan. “Some of my clients have relatively simple goals and asset distributions,” he says. “But other individuals might have assets all over the place: a home in London, investment accounts in Asia, RRSPs in Canada, college funds in a RESP. “My job is to negotiate strategies to best utilize these resources with tax efficiency, while aligning with the clients’ goals. And as they invest each month, they can call me up and I’ll ensure they stick to a logical investment allocation.”
Jason’s services are worth the money. Consider someone with a $100,000 portfolio paying 2.5 percent in Canadian actively managed mutual fund fees. They would pay $2,500 each year ($2,500 is 2.5% of $100,000). Those with $500,000 portfolios would pay $10,000 a year in hidden expenses. Advisors stuffing client accounts with such products aren’t objective. Canadian actively managed mutual funds are the world’s most expensive. Those selling them benefit nicely. With Jason, however, investors could pay as little as $1,500 once, before getting on track with their plan and their ultra low cost portfolio of index funds.