2016 marks my 20th anniversary as an advisor and I am proud to say that after all these years I still love coming into work every day. I can’t help but look back over the years to reflect upon the strides we have made together. I cherish every single client relationship that we have developed since our firm’s inception; and I’m especially proud of the accomplishments we have shared together. Helping our clients create a successful investment experience has been at the centre of our story for the past twenty years. Here’s why:

I left the institutional bond-trading world in 1996 to work more closely with real investors and their families. Although working with some of Canada’s largest and most advanced institutional investors from 1992 to 1996 was an incredible career for any young professional, I knew I could have a more profound impact working with individual Canadian investors.

I took what I learned from my time in the institutional world to create the early foundations of a client-driven investment approach. Those clients who have been with us since Day One know that our investment philosophy has been consistent, robust and evidence-based. Our vision for an investment philosophy in those early days included an asset allocation approach that embraced diversification, used market-based index/ passively managed asset class vehicles, and practiced disciplined rebalancing.

There would be no market timing, no active money managers, no hedge funds and no smoke and mirrors. We would focus our energies on the issues we could control, such as asset allocation, costs, taxes, and financial planning with clients. Clients would experience a clean and transparent service that made achieving their goals the top priority. It was the investment philosophy, backed by science, data, and evidence that we believed had the highest probability of creating a long-term successful investment experience for our clients.

As early adopters of this investment approach in Canada, we were part of the first group of Canadian advisors to discover and use ETFs (exchange traded funds) in portfolio management. We were one of the first to write about this investment approach in articles that appeared in the Montreal Gazette and Financial Post. In those early years, we were asked to speak and share our thoughts and experiences at many investor and advisor conferences.

We were part of the small group that helped bring Dimensional Fund Advisors to Canada in 2003. In 2005, the 1st edition of The Empowered Investor was published in Canada. We subsequently added a 2nd and 3rd edition and the book went on to become a Canadian national bestseller. We answered every email from every reader across Canada with a question to help where we could.

Our philosophy on how to work with clients was simple; be transparent, open, and always act as a fiduciary. We embraced investor-friendly principles such as transparency on investments, costs, and fees. We remained independent by not relying on the use of in-house products or commissions and being able to help clients by providing unbiased and conflict-free advice.

We were early and passionate adopters of this approach in Canada. We worked long hours to share the ideas and evidence with investors because we knew it would help improve their overall investment and planning experiences.

Attracting and finding clients in the early years was a challenge. Investors were being bombarded with more speculative and more seductive “get rich quick” strategies. The level of public awareness in our evidence-based investment approach was not as prevalent as it is now. All in all there were roughly 25 advisors out of 80,000 in Canada that had adopted this approach. This was a group of dedicated and passionate advisors who at the time were sacrificing an easier living to do what they felt was right for their clients.

At the beginning, we attracted two types of clients: very sophisticated and knowledgeable investors who recognized that this was a powerful way to invest and plan for their future or more regular investors who simply trusted us and needed help with their investments.

I remember how I met each and every one of our clients. I remember their personal and financial circumstances, their life goals, and their worries and concerns. We have shared many of life’s challenges together. You are the reason we exist today and your decision to work in this type of approach puts you well ahead of the curve and makes you a part of the global investor revolution.

Many clients have told us that they feel more empowered, and more transformed. Yes markets will always go up and down, but they have less worry or concern than before. They feel more in control of their journey; there is less stress and more peace.

The investor/advisory marketplace is evolving today in ways that support many of the decisions we made ten and twenty years ago with regard to how we deal with our clients. New industry regulations called CRM 2 will now mandate all advisors in Canada to start sharing performance and fee reports to all clients beginning in 2017. This is essentially an activity that we have been doing for the last twenty years. Secondly, for close to a decade now, investors like you around the world have been discovering the benefits of adopting this evidence-based investment approach that is part of our core foundation. While this movement really started in the mid 1970’s at a snail’s pace with Jack Bogle and Vanguard Corp, index and passively managed asset specialty firms like Vanguard, Blackrock, and Dimensional Fund Advisors are now among the largest and fastest growing firms in the world.

I remember the excitement that I had twenty years ago when we were early adopters of this way of doing business. To me, it is clear that the tipping point has arrived and that Canadian investors want to be a part of it. Today at 52, I am so excited about the next twenty years. With a 95% client retention rate over the past two decades, we are working hard to be your trusted advisors and to execute the needed portfolio, planning and tax services for you and your family. 2016 was a record year for new client referrals from our existing clients, and for that we are most appreciative and grateful.

Our team is dedicated to helping you. Julie, Elizabeth, Oxana, Cindy, Ruben, Edmond, Marcelo, Don and Hugh are the foundation and reason we can be careful advisors for you. And I could not have wished to work with more caring and thoughtful people.

We so look forward to the next twenty years. Our client base at Tulett, Matthews and Associates will continue to grow as more Canadians seek out this way of doing business. Over time, we will evolve and expand our services as needed for our clients. We will make it easier for our clients to share what we do with friends and family members they feel we can help. We will add more client-servicing support to ensure the highest level of service. We will continue to seek feedback on how we are doing and use that information to improve.

Many thanks to all my Canadian advisory friends who are working in like-minded firms to better serve Canadian investors. It is a magical community that shares knowledge and expertise to make us all stronger.

To my family, Caroline, Lauren, Jackson, and William: thank you for always being there and supporting my passion to help Canadian investors.

Finally, to my clients: whether you have been with us since the beginning or have just come onboard, you are the reason I still love my job after all these years.

Sincerely,

Keith Matthews