Written by Natalie Noble
In 2019, Katherine Parsons, CFP®, Investment Advisor at Parsons Financial Group - iA Private Wealth, was leading her practice through the biggest career year of her life. “I’d just acquired the family business after years’ spent learning, growing and developing the skills to take over the practice. Our team settled into our new office December of 2019. The office environment was positive and energetic, planning for our Grand Opening in our new location. It was an exciting time,” but Katherine recalls, “As March 19th, 2020 was only a few weeks away, we had to make the tough decision to postpone our event, for the health and safety of our guests.”
A second-generation investment advisor, proactive planning for any unexpected event and transition is what Katherine does. Applying her skill, passion and caring nature, not only did she put her aptitudes to work for her family, her office and team, she seamlessly gathered them to support her clients through unprecedented times. “It was amazing how everyone on our team adapted to changing routines so quickly, working from home and juggling different schedules,” says Katherine. “Quite honestly, I’ve loved my extra family time.” Making the most of things, Katherine set up to work from home where the family pursued their collected passion for cooking in their outdoor kitchen. The business kept running as Parsons Financial Group continued to be there for clients needing guidance to navigate through the pandemic.
Streamlining business for their clients is what Parsons Financial Group is all about. “Where it might be a complex planning strategy we’re implementing, we pride ourselves on simplifying the plan on the client’s end, making it as easy as possible for them to do business,” says Katherine, adding that she and her team communicate and coordinate with accounting firms on behalf of their clients. They’re able to efficiently provide value and a well-rounded service through partnerships with a number of trusted professionals and outsourcing for the best talent comes naturally to Katherine.
“Growing up as a synchronized swimmer, my experience later translated to a coaching career throughout high school and university,” she says. “I take that experience of goals setting, time management and teamwork, and apply it to the business while pulling in expertise wherever it’s needed. We reach out to our partnered professionals in insurance, estate planning, or tax planning. It really brings a unique aspect to the business. We can develop a full plan for our clients with both in-house and partnered professionals all working together.”
In addition to streamlining services for her clients, Katherine is passionate about the family focused aspect of financial planning. “We’re looking after parents, grandparents and children. We provide education and advice on estate planning and explore ideas of gifting or charitable donation to align with their ultimate wishes,” says Katherine. “We start by examining their current assets and liabilities, discovering their goals, short and long-term. From there, we can establish a plan to help achieve these goals, not only for our clients, but for their children and grandchildren.”
A destined family focus
It’s fair to say that family focus is something Parsons Group comes by naturally and Katherine’s genuine care for her clients is deeply rooted. Because her father, Joe Hagerman, and his partner, Greg Bencina, founded the business in 1991, Katherine has known many of the clients for decades. While the practice has successfully transitioned, she humbly credits that history to where the business is today. “It truly is one of the key reasons we’ve been successful in maintaining relationships for the long-term,” she says.
Stepping back into the earliest days of her career journey, Katherine fondly recalls, “I grew up in the business and was always helping my Dad out, coming in on Sunday nights to clean the office, often doing some filing,” she says. Later, while in the second half of her studies in Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University, things clicked. “It was when I took some retirement and tax planning courses that I felt this might be an area I really did have an interest in. At this point, I decided I would pursue my CFP designation in the future.”
Katherine was determined to make her own path outside of her father’s business by working elsewhere. “I thought it was important to have some outside experience to begin my career,” she says. But destiny intervened. “In my fourth year of university, the business needed help in the office with reception and administrative work. I agreed to work for that summer in the office when Greg approached me in August telling me he had a better plan for me. He said, ‘you’re going to come and work as my assistant and learn the business from me.’
“It was nice to have that opportunity to fully learn the business from both my father and from Greg,” adds Katherine. “I was able learn their different styles and approaches and combine them with my own to enrich the way I approach business. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know our clients on a deeper level – their interests, their passions, this is what sparks my interest. I absolutely enjoy and love my conversations with our clients.” Grateful for the understanding her business degree provided, Katherine believes her knowledge through earning her CFP designation has been essential to understanding the intricacies of her business. “Whether its insurance, tax or estate planning, the CFP delivers a well-rounded approach to goal setting. It’s essential to being successful in this business.”
Katherine modestly passes much credit to her team. “They have been an absolute support system for me; they are my backbone. I really appreciate the fact our clients are comfortable reaching out to all of our team members,” says Katherine. “Whether it’s Christine, Katrina, or our co-op student Brad, our clients feel comfortable reaching out to all of us. I’m most proud of building a team and office where everyone can collaborate and work together to make wishes a reality for our clients.”
Katherine is a strong believer in the power of growth, including continued education and giving back. “Education for me is key, it is how we effectively communicate with clients and grow our team,” she says. “It’s important to me that we communicate a very good understanding of individual finances. I want clients to understand their plan, as well as the strategies we are recommending.”
In addition to prioritizing continued education, Katherine believes in consistently supporting her community through numerous initiatives. “One very close to our heart is Camp McGovern. Camp McGovern exists so that children served by Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Family & Children Services, United Way agencies and other Community Agencies have the opportunity to attend a summer camp. Kids need hopes and dreams and a chance to fit in so they know they will be okay. We’ve supported this organization for over 15 years by running different fundraising events, including an annual poker run and golf tournament,” says Katherine. “We’re also passionate about supporting the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. We’ve always prided ourselves on having those community connections and ensuring that we’re giving back.”
Parsons Financial Group is also passionate guiding their clients through growth, taking a warm approach especially to younger clients who may find financial planning intimidating. “We see many families who need advice and guidance to achieve their goals,” says Katherine. “A lot of advisors are handling complex tax planning strategies for high-net-worth clients. But when any client walks into our office, it’s important to me that they feel welcome. I want them to feel that warm energy we have in our office and I never want anyone to experience an intimidation factor here. It’s not necessarily about how much income you’re bringing in; it’s how we’re structuring your plan, setting in some goals and disciplines step by step in order to get to that next stage.”
Like life in general, Katherine sees financial planning as an ebb and flow scenario that’s all about prioritization. “What are your current priorities and how are we going to get there?” she says. “That’s everything in life – prioritizing what’s important. If COVID’s taught us anything it’s that we have to prioritize ourselves and that’s when we can give back to others. It’s only then that we have the energy to give back to our business, our family and our community.”
Natalie Noble’s love of writing stems from her passion for hearing and sharing people’s stories. Over the years she has written for various business, real estate, and agriculture publications. At the heart of her work is a desire to continuously learn and connect.
This information has been prepared by Katherine Parson who is an Investment Advisor for iA Private Wealth Inc. and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of iA Private Wealth. The information contained in this newsletter comes from sources we believe reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or reliability. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. The information contained herein may not apply to all types of investors. The Investment Advisor can open accounts only in the provinces in which they are registered. iA Private Wealth Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. iA Private Wealth is a trademark and business name under which iA Private Wealth Inc. operates.
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