The ledgeand the ledger

July 10, 2020

This just in…in an extension of a previous episode of 54Lights, S2.EP8..Playbook Live (https://54lights.com/2020/06/playbook-live/), we sat down with investment advisor Gabriel Flores to talk about managing money in times of crisis. In these uncertain times, where people need to be more prudent about their expenses, we were compelled to talk to a professional whose day-to-day is helping people manage their relationship with money.

Gabriel is an advisor in RBC’s Wealth Management division(https://ca.rbcwealthmanagement.com/gabriel.flores/). He has a diverse skillset which includes, among many things, a background in the sciences. His measured, thoughtful and humane approach to his craft set him apart from other advisors in the marketplace. His focus is on education and information which helps his clients feel empowered. His hands-on approach has needed to adapt, given COVID19, but he’s adjusted admirably and continues to help people achieve their goals and cement their legacies.

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Episode Transcript

S2.EP10..The ledge and the ledger

Featured Guest..Gabriel Flores

 

 

Host: Good morning, good day, or good evening and welcome to 54Lights. Every once in a while we have an interview that compels us to take a detour. On May, 27 2020, we launched an episode featuring Ricardo McCray a captivating leader within this community.

 

For those who are interested, I invite you to check out that episode featuring Ricardo called playbook live. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you do your listing.

 

Now during that talk. We spoke about mentoring entrepreneurship and financial management, with a particular focus on the black community. And while that show presented us with many openings for a detour, it is this last nugget financial management that is that inspired this tension. Now financial management, aka fiscal responsibility is a concern for all Canadians, and people the world over impacts businesses, households, and people, young and old. And while we grapple with that reality, it’s important to understand the context we’re dealing with. For starters, many countries are dealing with a shrinking, or non-existent, middle class. That cohort is the gateway to progress. And there remain critical inequities in the workplace, both racial and gender-based. There are unbalanced supply chains that keep power in the hands of a few powerful companies. All this, it seems, to conspire to put a disproportionate burden on underrepresented communities. If there’s pain to be felt the disadvantaged will feel it. And they’ll do it sooner and harder than anybody else. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and you have a cocktail that’s punishing to digest. So when facing these situations, we should see progress and reconciliation, partially through education, through our own devices or through trusted resources.

 

And so with that said, today’s episode, our present detour points our gaze squarely on fiscal management, financial responsibility, and takes a small but real bite out of that problem. Our show is dedicated to celebrating people and projects from the African continent. Every once in a while though, our paths cross someone who’s not from the continent. And while it may be tempting to run from that exchange, I’ve opted instead to embrace it. For it is through these tangential conversations that our community, and the broader audience of listeners, can learn and grow. Today’s tangent is not with an African guest yet it holds significance for all listeners, be they from the continent, or beyond.

 

My name is Kondwani Mwase. And today’s episode is The ledge. and the ledger. Our guest today is Gabriel Flores. Gabriel works at RBC in wealth management. Now Gabriel is not your typical wealth management professional. He’s active on LinkedIn. And if you watch his posts, you’ll see that he showcases initiatives that drive his interest, both in the financial industry and those that the drive his interest in support philanthropic efforts. His personal approach to client management speaks volumes about his character and motivation. One that’s not really driven by the bottom line.

 

It’s time.

 

Here, in part, is my conversation with Gabriel.

 

Host: Maybe I’ll start at the beginning, which is where I start with everybody that I interview. We have a history but the audience has no idea who you are. So, can you give me your full name, and origins of your name.

 

Gabriel: Sure, I’ll keep it brief. First of all, thank you very much for having me on the podcast. I consider it an honour. And you’re right, our history goes back over 20 years. My name is Gabriel Flores. And to answer your question the origin of my name is actually from El Salvador. So, my parents came to Canada in 1973. My father first then followed by my mother. I’m first generation Canadian. Born in ‘78 here in Montreal. And I consider myself very fortunate in that regard, especially against the current backdrop. I am an investment advisor at RBC Dominion Securities.

 

Host: If I can stick with your name and your background for a second…How close are you to your Salvadorian roots. Do you go back often is that part of your current culture?

 

Gabriel: So I’ve been back I remember my URL. My first memory of El Salvador was being there in 1986, while the Civil War was still going on. And, you know, I remember military checkpoints. I remember hearing gunfire at dusk. I remember, obviously, military presence throughout. And it gave me a sense of how fortunate I was  – not having to grow up in that environment – and also having the luxury of leaving that behind because I would come back to Montreal. So, you know, my connection to the country is really through my parents and more particularly through my grandparents. Shortly after I was born, and, you know, as is the case, with many people I think, that are first generation Canadian, they have their grandparents around to help raise them while their parents are busy. You know, establishing a beachhead here in Canada, and I’m no different. That’s where I learned my Spanish. That’s how I learned about Salvadoran cuisine. And that’s how I learned about where I came from.

 

Host: You mentioned in the prologue there that you worked, you work at RBC as an investment advisor. Is that correct?

 

Gabriel: That’s correct.

 

Host: Is there like you talked about your grandparents and your dad and your mom and your dad. Is there a history of that in your family – from a financial institution perspective or are you an outlier in that respect?

 

Gabriel: You know what I’m an outlier I and my career trajectory is somewhat unique in that regard because you know I was initially on a science track. You know I did my undergraduate degree in physiology. And I had done basic research in sciences, both in Montreal and in London, England. And I thought that was where I was headed. And, you know, I had studied that, at that point in time, a lot of immunology and also I’ve worked in a lab as well with tropical disease, which I guess you know in certain respects is pretty relevant these days. But I also I guess committed the happy mistake of also taking some electives in business, and that really opened up a whole new world to me. You know, the opportunity to see the interaction and the interplay between macroeconomic events and the markets and finance in general. That to me was a whole new world that I hadn’t previously been exposed to. So, you know, at that point in time I basically made that decision to shift to a finance background and I was, you know, the only one in my family that had really gone in that direction – my sisters in pharmaceuticals. My mother’s a physician. My father is a retired architect.

 

Host: How has the current crisis affected your livelihood..your work?

 

Gabriel: Well, I think that I’m quite fortunate certain regard because I haven’t been as badly affected as some people out there. You know I hear stories all the time about small business owners, and people that depend on the hospitality and tourism industry. And, you know, my thoughts are with them because I’m sure they’re going through a very difficult and uncertain period at this point in time, in terms of my business, you know I’m able to run my business at full capacity from my home office. And so, you know, being able to meet with an individual over coffee or over lunch or even in a in a straight for business meeting is not possible these days. And so we have to adapt and part of adapting is leveraging the technology that we have. So I’ve been more active in webinars and in doing virtual meetings and I think that we were headed in that in that direction to begin with. But the COVID crisis really accelerated things and brought that timeline a lot closer, in many different industries including my own.

 

Host: I had a previous interview, of which this portion your response will drop in, where there was one gentleman whose his perspective was to say, if you’re not playing that game (financial), if you’re not looking at that you’re just out of the game, you don’t even know the rules and you’re just you’re just a pawn in the world, so to speak. And so I guess what I’m trying to ask is what impact has the current crisis head on people who are your key constituents, like your key clients, how has that changed their lives?

 

Gabriel: You know that’s a great question, and I think the best way to answer that question is in highlighting the fact that my approach is a highly geared towards education and information. And I think that if I am able to convey information about what’s happening in the markets, what’s happening in in macro-economics, how different industries are being affected and bring that back to you know the the circumstances of whoever I’m speaking to at the time. I think that adds a certain level of empowerment. You know I think information is power and I think that education, and being able to walk my clients and other individuals through uncertain times is extremely important. And that gives them that peace of mind that they need to focus on what’s important to them, and whether that is in the addressing the basic needs of their family, whether that is in getting the reassurance that they need – in terms of the fact that their cash flow is going to be adequate over this uncertain period of time, or whether it’s in bringing in any number of partners that I work with, to be able to better their personal situation, I can do that, and I want to do that. And the end result is rewarding to me, because you know if I can shepherd my clients through the uncertainty that we witnessed in February and in March and throughout the course of early April…then I’m doing my job, and I’m able to add value. And part of being able to do that is being an effective communicator. And so if I can communicate to them and listen to what their underlying uncertainties and uneasiness is, then I can better forge that relationship for the long term. And I think in my experience, if we can make it through this period of time, relatively unscathed. Then, you know the confidence in our relationship is going to be that much stronger.

 

Host: In the course of your career in this domain you talked a lot about uncertain times and certainly we’re living through some now. People come to you for help for advice for counsel for your industry has been wracked with some players who have taken their clients, taken that trust and essentially done damage to the whole industry by doing the wrong things with what they have been trusted to do. How do you, in your relationship with your clients, how do you combat that stigma?

 

Gabriel: You know unfortunately there are more cynical views of the industry, than I would like. But what I tell my clients is that ultimately we’re going to build trust through transparency and that you know if I’m able to convey to them in the limited amount of time that we have when we first meet when we first speak. The what my intentions are in helping them address their current and future financial situation, then that already starts to engender some of that trust and confidence that we need to build a strong foundation for us to work going forward. And you know I remind them that I’m a fiduciary that I act in their best interests that ultimately you know in being able to work with them in a certain times is where I can add value. And I can also leverage on my previous experience from the you know the, ‘08/’09 crisis, and also you know leverage on my experience in working with people through that area. You know, there are many parts of my business, and one of the parts of my business for example where I think I can show the level of trust, trust and confidence that I can bring to a relationship is with older clients, you know, seniors. There’s been quite a, unfortunately, a negative amount of press around. You know how advisors and even family members. Take advantage of seniors, whether it be, you know, quite frankly ripping off. In terms of stripping of any of their wealth, but also in terms of depriving them of the fruits of their own labor over the course of their lives. And so for me, the opportunity of working with that particular sub-population is also particularly interesting and rewarding because I can come in and work with that type of client and their families, quite frankly, to be able to protect their wealth and be able to have it be used in a way that that they want.

 

Host: You mentioned about seniors and it triggered a part of my mind to go to people who are not necessarily underbanked because i don’t know I think that might be a little bit too extreme in what I was trying to ask but people who maybe don’t leverage resources such as yourself. And are they missing out? I’m assuming you would say yes but maybe in a short way, the shortest answer possible. Why are they missing out if they’re not using a counsel, such as yours?

 

Gabriel: Well, look, I mean, every advisor runs their business differently in my regard. You know when I meet someone, I really take the time to listen to them, and I take the time to better understand their previous experience if any with a financial professional. Sometimes it’s been traumatic. And sometimes it’s been, sub-optimal. So that’s important for me to know it’s important for me to know some of the background and where they’re coming from. And it’s also important for me to better understand where the pieces fit at the moment. Often times you know we spend the discovery meeting talking about what their pie in the sky type idea is and what their ideal situation would be. And then we go back and try to reverse engineer how we can get there. And, you know, that sometimes that means having a difficult conversation about credit repair that might that might be a difficult conversation about, you know, making sure that they’ve also taken the adequate steps in protecting their estate. So part of the conversation really is, you know, when was the last time that you updated your will? And I would say, nine out of 10 times the reply is, I don’t have a will. And when that happens, I think we have to pivot to a conversation of okay well what’s important to you? You know what legacy do you want to leave behind? Because you know as we found out with the tragic events of Kobe Bryant earlier this year. You never quite know when your legacy is going to begin. And when you look at things from that perspective how fleeting life can be especially in light of the recent events of COVID-19, to be able to have that peace of mind that that type of planning can give you can’t be measured in dollars and cents. You did mention how every, every advisor every professional in your domain is different.

 

Host: You seem to be very different from a lot of your colleagues that I’m aware of. That’s not a slight in the script community, but you do things differently. Where does that come from?

 

I mean, you know, part of part of what I’ve seen before, is I believe you do have your services are available in Spanish, you do, do a lot of things out there. I want to talk about responsible investing in a second but you do seem to put a lot of the activities that you do for fundraising and charities online. So it seems that you have a different, a different flair to you. Where does that come from?

 

Gabriel: Well, that’s a great question, and where that comes from is, you know, we only really have one life to live at the end of the day, and to choose a profession or a vocation. That gives you purpose and motivates you on a daily basis, whether it’s in the midst of the most disastrous bear market or, or not, is something that not everyone can find. And I guess I’ve been fortunate enough to find a profession that really leverages all my previous experiences in both financial markets and in life. And so, for me, I think that my approach is different because I come to it from a point of gratitude, and I come to it from a point of, you know, really looking to positively affect change in not only my clients situation so bring them closer to where they need to need to get, but also in the grander scheme of things as you touched on, on the responsible investment and on the ESG side of things in trying to help educate and inform my client. And really the general public, on how they can affect positive change, and see the change that they want to see in the world around them through their investments, you know ultimately what am I trying to achieve I’m trying to achieve a business that is sustainable and how am I going to do that, I’m going to do that by way of running a highly business of high integrity, one where you know I walk the walk and one as well where you know ultimately it boils down to how I can add value to a particular client situation. And that brings me fulfillment. And that brings me a level of reward that is priceless.

 

Host: Is that the inspiration behind responsible investing? Is that why you do that in your portfolio?

 

Gabriel: That’s, that’s a part of it. that’s definitely a part of it. I always, you know I think of the way that people want to affect the world positively in a way that you know you can better affect the change that you want to see in the world by allocating your capital to industries and businesses that are making changes happen, whether it be on the environmental side of things on the social side of things in taking care of the worker, for example, or on the governance side of things investing in companies that run ethical businesses with strong governance practices. I think that at the end of the day. That’s something that that needs to be more front and center, if we’re going to affect the change that we want to see over the coming decades.

 

Host: Dream vacation, no limits, two weeks. We are in a either a pre COVID or a post COVID meaning, we’ve got a vaccine so it’s not an issue. Where are you going?

 

Gabriel: You know I think I’d like to take my, my family, my kids to a place like the Galapagos. You know I’ve, I’ve studied the history of science and evolution and, and, and all the work that Charles Darwin did in the Galapagos, and you know to be honest with you, given what we see in in environmental trends. I don’t know how much longer that bio system and ecosystem well boy exists in its current form so to be able to see that. Now, and share that experience with my family I think would be quite priceless.

 

Host: Are you a man of the sword, or are you a man of the pen?

 

Gabriel:  Well if that pen is, if that pen is able to write checks and if that pen is able to direct investments in areas that are going to affect change, then that’s who I am. Because, you know, I think we’ve shut we’ve seen that, you know, voting for one political party or another might bring some short term change, but as soon as the party switches over a lot of that changes on Wow. You know, I think that if you’re looking to make permanent positive change happen that you’re better off voting with your wallet. You’re better off in showing companies and industries that you can you can allocate your capital, and that that goes two ways you can take capital away. Or you can allocate capital to.

 

Host: So there you have it, the conversation continues. I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in today’s show, be they behind the scenes, or on the mic. Part of our show was recorded and produced at Corner Studios with the assistance of our producer John Kit. Music for this episode was composed played and enjoyed with permission by Joachim Nortabert and Andy Ninville.

 

If you like what you’ve heard there’s more, follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Under our handle crowd 54. Remember, you can find us wherever you do you’re listening on iTunes, Spotify SoundCloud. And that’s just a few of them.

 

Listen. Like, Share.

 

Until we meet again. Thanks for listening.

 

S2.EP10..The ledge and the ledger

Featured Guest..Gabriel Flores

 

 

Host: Good morning, good day, or good evening and welcome to 54Lights. Every once in a while we have an interview that compels us to take a detour. On May, 27 2020, we launched an episode featuring Ricardo McCray a captivating leader within this community.

 

For those who are interested, I invite you to check out that episode featuring Ricardo called playbook live. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you do your listing.

 

Now during that talk. We spoke about mentoring entrepreneurship and financial management, with a particular focus on the black community. And while that show presented us with many openings for a detour, it is this last nugget financial management that is that inspired this tension. Now financial management, aka fiscal responsibility is a concern for all Canadians, and people the world over impacts businesses, households, and people, young and old. And while we grapple with that reality, it’s important to understand the context we’re dealing with. For starters, many countries are dealing with a shrinking, or non-existent, middle class. That cohort is the gateway to progress. And there remain critical inequities in the workplace, both racial and gender-based. There are unbalanced supply chains that keep power in the hands of a few powerful companies. All this, it seems, to conspire to put a disproportionate burden on underrepresented communities. If there’s pain to be felt the disadvantaged will feel it. And they’ll do it sooner and harder than anybody else. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and you have a cocktail that’s punishing to digest. So when facing these situations, we should see progress and reconciliation, partially through education, through our own devices or through trusted resources.

 

And so with that said, today’s episode, our present detour points our gaze squarely on fiscal management, financial responsibility, and takes a small but real bite out of that problem. Our show is dedicated to celebrating people and projects from the African continent. Every once in a while though, our paths cross someone who’s not from the continent. And while it may be tempting to run from that exchange, I’ve opted instead to embrace it. For it is through these tangential conversations that our community, and the broader audience of listeners, can learn and grow. Today’s tangent is not with an African guest yet it holds significance for all listeners, be they from the continent, or beyond.

 

My name is Kondwani Mwase. And today’s episode is The ledge. and the ledger. Our guest today is Gabriel Flores. Gabriel works at RBC in wealth management. Now Gabriel is not your typical wealth management professional. He’s active on LinkedIn. And if you watch his posts, you’ll see that he showcases initiatives that drive his interest, both in the financial industry and those that the drive his interest in support philanthropic efforts. His personal approach to client management speaks volumes about his character and motivation. One that’s not really driven by the bottom line.

 

It’s time.

 

Here, in part, is my conversation with Gabriel.

 

Host: Maybe I’ll start at the beginning, which is where I start with everybody that I interview. We have a history but the audience has no idea who you are. So, can you give me your full name, and origins of your name.

 

Gabriel: Sure, I’ll keep it brief. First of all, thank you very much for having me on the podcast. I consider it an honour. And you’re right, our history goes back over 20 years. My name is Gabriel Flores. And to answer your question the origin of my name is actually from El Salvador. So, my parents came to Canada in 1973. My father first then followed by my mother. I’m first generation Canadian. Born in ‘78 here in Montreal. And I consider myself very fortunate in that regard, especially against the current backdrop. I am an investment advisor at RBC Dominion Securities.

 

Host: If I can stick with your name and your background for a second…How close are you to your Salvadorian roots. Do you go back often is that part of your current culture?

 

Gabriel: So I’ve been back I remember my URL. My first memory of El Salvador was being there in 1986, while the Civil War was still going on. And, you know, I remember military checkpoints. I remember hearing gunfire at dusk. I remember, obviously, military presence throughout. And it gave me a sense of how fortunate I was  – not having to grow up in that environment – and also having the luxury of leaving that behind because I would come back to Montreal. So, you know, my connection to the country is really through my parents and more particularly through my grandparents. Shortly after I was born, and, you know, as is the case, with many people I think, that are first generation Canadian, they have their grandparents around to help raise them while their parents are busy. You know, establishing a beachhead here in Canada, and I’m no different. That’s where I learned my Spanish. That’s how I learned about Salvadoran cuisine. And that’s how I learned about where I came from.

 

Host: You mentioned in the prologue there that you worked, you work at RBC as an investment advisor. Is that correct?

 

Gabriel: That’s correct.

 

Host: Is there like you talked about your grandparents and your dad and your mom and your dad. Is there a history of that in your family – from a financial institution perspective or are you an outlier in that respect?

 

Gabriel: You know what I’m an outlier I and my career trajectory is somewhat unique in that regard because you know I was initially on a science track. You know I did my undergraduate degree in physiology. And I had done basic research in sciences, both in Montreal and in London, England. And I thought that was where I was headed. And, you know, I had studied that, at that point in time, a lot of immunology and also I’ve worked in a lab as well with tropical disease, which I guess you know in certain respects is pretty relevant these days. But I also I guess committed the happy mistake of also taking some electives in business, and that really opened up a whole new world to me. You know, the opportunity to see the interaction and the interplay between macroeconomic events and the markets and finance in general. That to me was a whole new world that I hadn’t previously been exposed to. So, you know, at that point in time I basically made that decision to shift to a finance background and I was, you know, the only one in my family that had really gone in that direction – my sisters in pharmaceuticals. My mother’s a physician. My father is a retired architect.

 

Host: How has the current crisis affected your livelihood..your work?

 

Gabriel: Well, I think that I’m quite fortunate certain regard because I haven’t been as badly affected as some people out there. You know I hear stories all the time about small business owners, and people that depend on the hospitality and tourism industry. And, you know, my thoughts are with them because I’m sure they’re going through a very difficult and uncertain period at this point in time, in terms of my business, you know I’m able to run my business at full capacity from my home office. And so, you know, being able to meet with an individual over coffee or over lunch or even in a in a straight for business meeting is not possible these days. And so we have to adapt and part of adapting is leveraging the technology that we have. So I’ve been more active in webinars and in doing virtual meetings and I think that we were headed in that in that direction to begin with. But the COVID crisis really accelerated things and brought that timeline a lot closer, in many different industries including my own.

 

Host: I had a previous interview, of which this portion your response will drop in, where there was one gentleman whose his perspective was to say, if you’re not playing that game (financial), if you’re not looking at that you’re just out of the game, you don’t even know the rules and you’re just you’re just a pawn in the world, so to speak. And so I guess what I’m trying to ask is what impact has the current crisis head on people who are your key constituents, like your key clients, how has that changed their lives?

 

Gabriel: You know that’s a great question, and I think the best way to answer that question is in highlighting the fact that my approach is a highly geared towards education and information. And I think that if I am able to convey information about what’s happening in the markets, what’s happening in in macro-economics, how different industries are being affected and bring that back to you know the the circumstances of whoever I’m speaking to at the time. I think that adds a certain level of empowerment. You know I think information is power and I think that education, and being able to walk my clients and other individuals through uncertain times is extremely important. And that gives them that peace of mind that they need to focus on what’s important to them, and whether that is in the addressing the basic needs of their family, whether that is in getting the reassurance that they need – in terms of the fact that their cash flow is going to be adequate over this uncertain period of time, or whether it’s in bringing in any number of partners that I work with, to be able to better their personal situation, I can do that, and I want to do that. And the end result is rewarding to me, because you know if I can shepherd my clients through the uncertainty that we witnessed in February and in March and throughout the course of early April…then I’m doing my job, and I’m able to add value. And part of being able to do that is being an effective communicator. And so if I can communicate to them and listen to what their underlying uncertainties and uneasiness is, then I can better forge that relationship for the long term. And I think in my experience, if we can make it through this period of time, relatively unscathed. Then, you know the confidence in our relationship is going to be that much stronger.

 

Host: In the course of your career in this domain you talked a lot about uncertain times and certainly we’re living through some now. People come to you for help for advice for counsel for your industry has been wracked with some players who have taken their clients, taken that trust and essentially done damage to the whole industry by doing the wrong things with what they have been trusted to do. How do you, in your relationship with your clients, how do you combat that stigma?

 

Gabriel: You know unfortunately there are more cynical views of the industry, than I would like. But what I tell my clients is that ultimately we’re going to build trust through transparency and that you know if I’m able to convey to them in the limited amount of time that we have when we first meet when we first speak. The what my intentions are in helping them address their current and future financial situation, then that already starts to engender some of that trust and confidence that we need to build a strong foundation for us to work going forward. And you know I remind them that I’m a fiduciary that I act in their best interests that ultimately you know in being able to work with them in a certain times is where I can add value. And I can also leverage on my previous experience from the you know the, ‘08/’09 crisis, and also you know leverage on my experience in working with people through that area. You know, there are many parts of my business, and one of the parts of my business for example where I think I can show the level of trust, trust and confidence that I can bring to a relationship is with older clients, you know, seniors. There’s been quite a, unfortunately, a negative amount of press around. You know how advisors and even family members. Take advantage of seniors, whether it be, you know, quite frankly ripping off. In terms of stripping of any of their wealth, but also in terms of depriving them of the fruits of their own labor over the course of their lives. And so for me, the opportunity of working with that particular sub-population is also particularly interesting and rewarding because I can come in and work with that type of client and their families, quite frankly, to be able to protect their wealth and be able to have it be used in a way that that they want.

 

Host: You mentioned about seniors and it triggered a part of my mind to go to people who are not necessarily underbanked because i don’t know I think that might be a little bit too extreme in what I was trying to ask but people who maybe don’t leverage resources such as yourself. And are they missing out? I’m assuming you would say yes but maybe in a short way, the shortest answer possible. Why are they missing out if they’re not using a counsel, such as yours?

 

Gabriel: Well, look, I mean, every advisor runs their business differently in my regard. You know when I meet someone, I really take the time to listen to them, and I take the time to better understand their previous experience if any with a financial professional. Sometimes it’s been traumatic. And sometimes it’s been, sub-optimal. So that’s important for me to know it’s important for me to know some of the background and where they’re coming from. And it’s also important for me to better understand where the pieces fit at the moment. Often times you know we spend the discovery meeting talking about what their pie in the sky type idea is and what their ideal situation would be. And then we go back and try to reverse engineer how we can get there. And, you know, that sometimes that means having a difficult conversation about credit repair that might that might be a difficult conversation about, you know, making sure that they’ve also taken the adequate steps in protecting their estate. So part of the conversation really is, you know, when was the last time that you updated your will? And I would say, nine out of 10 times the reply is, I don’t have a will. And when that happens, I think we have to pivot to a conversation of okay well what’s important to you? You know what legacy do you want to leave behind? Because you know as we found out with the tragic events of Kobe Bryant earlier this year. You never quite know when your legacy is going to begin. And when you look at things from that perspective how fleeting life can be especially in light of the recent events of COVID-19, to be able to have that peace of mind that that type of planning can give you can’t be measured in dollars and cents. You did mention how every, every advisor every professional in your domain is different.

 

Host: You seem to be very different from a lot of your colleagues that I’m aware of. That’s not a slight in the script community, but you do things differently. Where does that come from?

 

I mean, you know, part of part of what I’ve seen before, is I believe you do have your services are available in Spanish, you do, do a lot of things out there. I want to talk about responsible investing in a second but you do seem to put a lot of the activities that you do for fundraising and charities online. So it seems that you have a different, a different flair to you. Where does that come from?

 

Gabriel: Well, that’s a great question, and where that comes from is, you know, we only really have one life to live at the end of the day, and to choose a profession or a vocation. That gives you purpose and motivates you on a daily basis, whether it’s in the midst of the most disastrous bear market or, or not, is something that not everyone can find. And I guess I’ve been fortunate enough to find a profession that really leverages all my previous experiences in both financial markets and in life. And so, for me, I think that my approach is different because I come to it from a point of gratitude, and I come to it from a point of, you know, really looking to positively affect change in not only my clients situation so bring them closer to where they need to need to get, but also in the grander scheme of things as you touched on, on the responsible investment and on the ESG side of things in trying to help educate and inform my client. And really the general public, on how they can affect positive change, and see the change that they want to see in the world around them through their investments, you know ultimately what am I trying to achieve I’m trying to achieve a business that is sustainable and how am I going to do that, I’m going to do that by way of running a highly business of high integrity, one where you know I walk the walk and one as well where you know ultimately it boils down to how I can add value to a particular client situation. And that brings me fulfillment. And that brings me a level of reward that is priceless.

 

Host: Is that the inspiration behind responsible investing? Is that why you do that in your portfolio?

 

Gabriel: That’s, that’s a part of it. that’s definitely a part of it. I always, you know I think of the way that people want to affect the world positively in a way that you know you can better affect the change that you want to see in the world by allocating your capital to industries and businesses that are making changes happen, whether it be on the environmental side of things on the social side of things in taking care of the worker, for example, or on the governance side of things investing in companies that run ethical businesses with strong governance practices. I think that at the end of the day. That’s something that that needs to be more front and center, if we’re going to affect the change that we want to see over the coming decades.

 

Host: Dream vacation, no limits, two weeks. We are in a either a pre COVID or a post COVID meaning, we’ve got a vaccine so it’s not an issue. Where are you going?

 

Gabriel: You know I think I’d like to take my, my family, my kids to a place like the Galapagos. You know I’ve, I’ve studied the history of science and evolution and, and, and all the work that Charles Darwin did in the Galapagos, and you know to be honest with you, given what we see in in environmental trends. I don’t know how much longer that bio system and ecosystem well boy exists in its current form so to be able to see that. Now, and share that experience with my family I think would be quite priceless.

 

Host: Are you a man of the sword, or are you a man of the pen?

 

Gabriel:  Well if that pen is, if that pen is able to write checks and if that pen is able to direct investments in areas that are going to affect change, then that’s who I am. Because, you know, I think we’ve shut we’ve seen that, you know, voting for one political party or another might bring some short term change, but as soon as the party switches over a lot of that changes on Wow. You know, I think that if you’re looking to make permanent positive change happen that you’re better off voting with your wallet. You’re better off in showing companies and industries that you can you can allocate your capital, and that that goes two ways you can take capital away. Or you can allocate capital to.

 

Host: So there you have it, the conversation continues. I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in today’s show, be they behind the scenes, or on the mic. Part of our show was recorded and produced at Corner Studios with the assistance of our producer John Kit. Music for this episode was composed played and enjoyed with permission by Joachim Nortabert and Andy Ninville.

 

If you like what you’ve heard there’s more, follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Under our handle crowd 54. Remember, you can find us wherever you do you’re listening on iTunes, Spotify SoundCloud. And that’s just a few of them.

 

Listen. Like, Share.

 

Until we meet again. Thanks for listening.

 

S2.EP10..The ledge and the ledger

Featured Guest..Gabriel Flores

 

 

Host: Good morning, good day, or good evening and welcome to 54Lights. Every once in a while we have an interview that compels us to take a detour. On May, 27 2020, we launched an episode featuring Ricardo McCray a captivating leader within this community.

 

For those who are interested, I invite you to check out that episode featuring Ricardo called playbook live. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you do your listing.

 

Now during that talk. We spoke about mentoring entrepreneurship and financial management, with a particular focus on the black community. And while that show presented us with many openings for a detour, it is this last nugget financial management that is that inspired this tension. Now financial management, aka fiscal responsibility is a concern for all Canadians, and people the world over impacts businesses, households, and people, young and old. And while we grapple with that reality, it’s important to understand the context we’re dealing with. For starters, many countries are dealing with a shrinking, or non-existent, middle class. That cohort is the gateway to progress. And there remain critical inequities in the workplace, both racial and gender-based. There are unbalanced supply chains that keep power in the hands of a few powerful companies. All this, it seems, to conspire to put a disproportionate burden on underrepresented communities. If there’s pain to be felt the disadvantaged will feel it. And they’ll do it sooner and harder than anybody else. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and you have a cocktail that’s punishing to digest. So when facing these situations, we should see progress and reconciliation, partially through education, through our own devices or through trusted resources.

 

And so with that said, today’s episode, our present detour points our gaze squarely on fiscal management, financial responsibility, and takes a small but real bite out of that problem. Our show is dedicated to celebrating people and projects from the African continent. Every once in a while though, our paths cross someone who’s not from the continent. And while it may be tempting to run from that exchange, I’ve opted instead to embrace it. For it is through these tangential conversations that our community, and the broader audience of listeners, can learn and grow. Today’s tangent is not with an African guest yet it holds significance for all listeners, be they from the continent, or beyond.

 

My name is Kondwani Mwase. And today’s episode is The ledge. and the ledger. Our guest today is Gabriel Flores. Gabriel works at RBC in wealth management. Now Gabriel is not your typical wealth management professional. He’s active on LinkedIn. And if you watch his posts, you’ll see that he showcases initiatives that drive his interest, both in the financial industry and those that the drive his interest in support philanthropic efforts. His personal approach to client management speaks volumes about his character and motivation. One that’s not really driven by the bottom line.

 

It’s time.

 

Here, in part, is my conversation with Gabriel.

 

Host: Maybe I’ll start at the beginning, which is where I start with everybody that I interview. We have a history but the audience has no idea who you are. So, can you give me your full name, and origins of your name.

 

Gabriel: Sure, I’ll keep it brief. First of all, thank you very much for having me on the podcast. I consider it an honour. And you’re right, our history goes back over 20 years. My name is Gabriel Flores. And to answer your question the origin of my name is actually from El Salvador. So, my parents came to Canada in 1973. My father first then followed by my mother. I’m first generation Canadian. Born in ‘78 here in Montreal. And I consider myself very fortunate in that regard, especially against the current backdrop. I am an investment advisor at RBC Dominion Securities.

 

Host: If I can stick with your name and your background for a second…How close are you to your Salvadorian roots. Do you go back often is that part of your current culture?

 

Gabriel: So I’ve been back I remember my URL. My first memory of El Salvador was being there in 1986, while the Civil War was still going on. And, you know, I remember military checkpoints. I remember hearing gunfire at dusk. I remember, obviously, military presence throughout. And it gave me a sense of how fortunate I was  – not having to grow up in that environment – and also having the luxury of leaving that behind because I would come back to Montreal. So, you know, my connection to the country is really through my parents and more particularly through my grandparents. Shortly after I was born, and, you know, as is the case, with many people I think, that are first generation Canadian, they have their grandparents around to help raise them while their parents are busy. You know, establishing a beachhead here in Canada, and I’m no different. That’s where I learned my Spanish. That’s how I learned about Salvadoran cuisine. And that’s how I learned about where I came from.

 

Host: You mentioned in the prologue there that you worked, you work at RBC as an investment advisor. Is that correct?

 

Gabriel: That’s correct.

 

Host: Is there like you talked about your grandparents and your dad and your mom and your dad. Is there a history of that in your family – from a financial institution perspective or are you an outlier in that respect?

 

Gabriel: You know what I’m an outlier I and my career trajectory is somewhat unique in that regard because you know I was initially on a science track. You know I did my undergraduate degree in physiology. And I had done basic research in sciences, both in Montreal and in London, England. And I thought that was where I was headed. And, you know, I had studied that, at that point in time, a lot of immunology and also I’ve worked in a lab as well with tropical disease, which I guess you know in certain respects is pretty relevant these days. But I also I guess committed the happy mistake of also taking some electives in business, and that really opened up a whole new world to me. You know, the opportunity to see the interaction and the interplay between macroeconomic events and the markets and finance in general. That to me was a whole new world that I hadn’t previously been exposed to. So, you know, at that point in time I basically made that decision to shift to a finance background and I was, you know, the only one in my family that had really gone in that direction – my sisters in pharmaceuticals. My mother’s a physician. My father is a retired architect.

 

Host: How has the current crisis affected your livelihood..your work?

 

Gabriel: Well, I think that I’m quite fortunate certain regard because I haven’t been as badly affected as some people out there. You know I hear stories all the time about small business owners, and people that depend on the hospitality and tourism industry. And, you know, my thoughts are with them because I’m sure they’re going through a very difficult and uncertain period at this point in time, in terms of my business, you know I’m able to run my business at full capacity from my home office. And so, you know, being able to meet with an individual over coffee or over lunch or even in a in a straight for business meeting is not possible these days. And so we have to adapt and part of adapting is leveraging the technology that we have. So I’ve been more active in webinars and in doing virtual meetings and I think that we were headed in that in that direction to begin with. But the COVID crisis really accelerated things and brought that timeline a lot closer, in many different industries including my own.

 

Host: I had a previous interview, of which this portion your response will drop in, where there was one gentleman whose his perspective was to say, if you’re not playing that game (financial), if you’re not looking at that you’re just out of the game, you don’t even know the rules and you’re just you’re just a pawn in the world, so to speak. And so I guess what I’m trying to ask is what impact has the current crisis head on people who are your key constituents, like your key clients, how has that changed their lives?

 

Gabriel: You know that’s a great question, and I think the best way to answer that question is in highlighting the fact that my approach is a highly geared towards education and information. And I think that if I am able to convey information about what’s happening in the markets, what’s happening in in macro-economics, how different industries are being affected and bring that back to you know the the circumstances of whoever I’m speaking to at the time. I think that adds a certain level of empowerment. You know I think information is power and I think that education, and being able to walk my clients and other individuals through uncertain times is extremely important. And that gives them that peace of mind that they need to focus on what’s important to them, and whether that is in the addressing the basic needs of their family, whether that is in getting the reassurance that they need – in terms of the fact that their cash flow is going to be adequate over this uncertain period of time, or whether it’s in bringing in any number of partners that I work with, to be able to better their personal situation, I can do that, and I want to do that. And the end result is rewarding to me, because you know if I can shepherd my clients through the uncertainty that we witnessed in February and in March and throughout the course of early April…then I’m doing my job, and I’m able to add value. And part of being able to do that is being an effective communicator. And so if I can communicate to them and listen to what their underlying uncertainties and uneasiness is, then I can better forge that relationship for the long term. And I think in my experience, if we can make it through this period of time, relatively unscathed. Then, you know the confidence in our relationship is going to be that much stronger.

 

Host: In the course of your career in this domain you talked a lot about uncertain times and certainly we’re living through some now. People come to you for help for advice for counsel for your industry has been wracked with some players who have taken their clients, taken that trust and essentially done damage to the whole industry by doing the wrong things with what they have been trusted to do. How do you, in your relationship with your clients, how do you combat that stigma?

 

Gabriel: You know unfortunately there are more cynical views of the industry, than I would like. But what I tell my clients is that ultimately we’re going to build trust through transparency and that you know if I’m able to convey to them in the limited amount of time that we have when we first meet when we first speak. The what my intentions are in helping them address their current and future financial situation, then that already starts to engender some of that trust and confidence that we need to build a strong foundation for us to work going forward. And you know I remind them that I’m a fiduciary that I act in their best interests that ultimately you know in being able to work with them in a certain times is where I can add value. And I can also leverage on my previous experience from the you know the, ‘08/’09 crisis, and also you know leverage on my experience in working with people through that area. You know, there are many parts of my business, and one of the parts of my business for example where I think I can show the level of trust, trust and confidence that I can bring to a relationship is with older clients, you know, seniors. There’s been quite a, unfortunately, a negative amount of press around. You know how advisors and even family members. Take advantage of seniors, whether it be, you know, quite frankly ripping off. In terms of stripping of any of their wealth, but also in terms of depriving them of the fruits of their own labor over the course of their lives. And so for me, the opportunity of working with that particular sub-population is also particularly interesting and rewarding because I can come in and work with that type of client and their families, quite frankly, to be able to protect their wealth and be able to have it be used in a way that that they want.

 

Host: You mentioned about seniors and it triggered a part of my mind to go to people who are not necessarily underbanked because i don’t know I think that might be a little bit too extreme in what I was trying to ask but people who maybe don’t leverage resources such as yourself. And are they missing out? I’m assuming you would say yes but maybe in a short way, the shortest answer possible. Why are they missing out if they’re not using a counsel, such as yours?

 

Gabriel: Well, look, I mean, every advisor runs their business differently in my regard. You know when I meet someone, I really take the time to listen to them, and I take the time to better understand their previous experience if any with a financial professional. Sometimes it’s been traumatic. And sometimes it’s been, sub-optimal. So that’s important for me to know it’s important for me to know some of the background and where they’re coming from. And it’s also important for me to better understand where the pieces fit at the moment. Often times you know we spend the discovery meeting talking about what their pie in the sky type idea is and what their ideal situation would be. And then we go back and try to reverse engineer how we can get there. And, you know, that sometimes that means having a difficult conversation about credit repair that might that might be a difficult conversation about, you know, making sure that they’ve also taken the adequate steps in protecting their estate. So part of the conversation really is, you know, when was the last time that you updated your will? And I would say, nine out of 10 times the reply is, I don’t have a will. And when that happens, I think we have to pivot to a conversation of okay well what’s important to you? You know what legacy do you want to leave behind? Because you know as we found out with the tragic events of Kobe Bryant earlier this year. You never quite know when your legacy is going to begin. And when you look at things from that perspective how fleeting life can be especially in light of the recent events of COVID-19, to be able to have that peace of mind that that type of planning can give you can’t be measured in dollars and cents. You did mention how every, every advisor every professional in your domain is different.

 

Host: You seem to be very different from a lot of your colleagues that I’m aware of. That’s not a slight in the script community, but you do things differently. Where does that come from?

 

I mean, you know, part of part of what I’ve seen before, is I believe you do have your services are available in Spanish, you do, do a lot of things out there. I want to talk about responsible investing in a second but you do seem to put a lot of the activities that you do for fundraising and charities online. So it seems that you have a different, a different flair to you. Where does that come from?

 

Gabriel: Well, that’s a great question, and where that comes from is, you know, we only really have one life to live at the end of the day, and to choose a profession or a vocation. That gives you purpose and motivates you on a daily basis, whether it’s in the midst of the most disastrous bear market or, or not, is something that not everyone can find. And I guess I’ve been fortunate enough to find a profession that really leverages all my previous experiences in both financial markets and in life. And so, for me, I think that my approach is different because I come to it from a point of gratitude, and I come to it from a point of, you know, really looking to positively affect change in not only my clients situation so bring them closer to where they need to need to get, but also in the grander scheme of things as you touched on, on the responsible investment and on the ESG side of things in trying to help educate and inform my client. And really the general public, on how they can affect positive change, and see the change that they want to see in the world around them through their investments, you know ultimately what am I trying to achieve I’m trying to achieve a business that is sustainable and how am I going to do that, I’m going to do that by way of running a highly business of high integrity, one where you know I walk the walk and one as well where you know ultimately it boils down to how I can add value to a particular client situation. And that brings me fulfillment. And that brings me a level of reward that is priceless.

 

Host: Is that the inspiration behind responsible investing? Is that why you do that in your portfolio?

 

Gabriel: That’s, that’s a part of it. that’s definitely a part of it. I always, you know I think of the way that people want to affect the world positively in a way that you know you can better affect the change that you want to see in the world by allocating your capital to industries and businesses that are making changes happen, whether it be on the environmental side of things on the social side of things in taking care of the worker, for example, or on the governance side of things investing in companies that run ethical businesses with strong governance practices. I think that at the end of the day. That’s something that that needs to be more front and center, if we’re going to affect the change that we want to see over the coming decades.

 

Host: Dream vacation, no limits, two weeks. We are in a either a pre COVID or a post COVID meaning, we’ve got a vaccine so it’s not an issue. Where are you going?

 

Gabriel: You know I think I’d like to take my, my family, my kids to a place like the Galapagos. You know I’ve, I’ve studied the history of science and evolution and, and, and all the work that Charles Darwin did in the Galapagos, and you know to be honest with you, given what we see in in environmental trends. I don’t know how much longer that bio system and ecosystem well boy exists in its current form so to be able to see that. Now, and share that experience with my family I think would be quite priceless.

 

Host: Are you a man of the sword, or are you a man of the pen?

 

Gabriel:  Well if that pen is, if that pen is able to write checks and if that pen is able to direct investments in areas that are going to affect change, then that’s who I am. Because, you know, I think we’ve shut we’ve seen that, you know, voting for one political party or another might bring some short term change, but as soon as the party switches over a lot of that changes on Wow. You know, I think that if you’re looking to make permanent positive change happen that you’re better off voting with your wallet. You’re better off in showing companies and industries that you can you can allocate your capital, and that that goes two ways you can take capital away. Or you can allocate capital to.

 

Host: So there you have it, the conversation continues. I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in today’s show, be they behind the scenes, or on the mic. Part of our show was recorded and produced at Corner Studios with the assistance of our producer John Kit. Music for this episode was composed played and enjoyed with permission by Joachim Nortabert and Andy Ninville.

 

If you like what you’ve heard there’s more, follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Under our handle crowd 54. Remember, you can find us wherever you do you’re listening on iTunes, Spotify SoundCloud. And that’s just a few of them.

 

Listen. Like, Share.

 

Until we meet again. Thanks for listening.

 

S2.EP10..The ledge and the ledger

Featured Guest..Gabriel Flores

 

 

Host: Good morning, good day, or good evening and welcome to 54Lights. Every once in a while we have an interview that compels us to take a detour. On May, 27 2020, we launched an episode featuring Ricardo McCray a captivating leader within this community.

 

For those who are interested, I invite you to check out that episode featuring Ricardo called playbook live. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you do your listing.

 

Now during that talk. We spoke about mentoring entrepreneurship and financial management, with a particular focus on the black community. And while that show presented us with many openings for a detour, it is this last nugget financial management that is that inspired this tension. Now financial management, aka fiscal responsibility is a concern for all Canadians, and people the world over impacts businesses, households, and people, young and old. And while we grapple with that reality, it’s important to understand the context we’re dealing with. For starters, many countries are dealing with a shrinking, or non-existent, middle class. That cohort is the gateway to progress. And there remain critical inequities in the workplace, both racial and gender-based. There are unbalanced supply chains that keep power in the hands of a few powerful companies. All this, it seems, to conspire to put a disproportionate burden on underrepresented communities. If there’s pain to be felt the disadvantaged will feel it. And they’ll do it sooner and harder than anybody else. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and you have a cocktail that’s punishing to digest. So when facing these situations, we should see progress and reconciliation, partially through education, through our own devices or through trusted resources.

 

And so with that said, today’s episode, our present detour points our gaze squarely on fiscal management, financial responsibility, and takes a small but real bite out of that problem. Our show is dedicated to celebrating people and projects from the African continent. Every once in a while though, our paths cross someone who’s not from the continent. And while it may be tempting to run from that exchange, I’ve opted instead to embrace it. For it is through these tangential conversations that our community, and the broader audience of listeners, can learn and grow. Today’s tangent is not with an African guest yet it holds significance for all listeners, be they from the continent, or beyond.

 

My name is Kondwani Mwase. And today’s episode is The ledge. and the ledger. Our guest today is Gabriel Flores. Gabriel works at RBC in wealth management. Now Gabriel is not your typical wealth management professional. He’s active on LinkedIn. And if you watch his posts, you’ll see that he showcases initiatives that drive his interest, both in the financial industry and those that the drive his interest in support philanthropic efforts. His personal approach to client management speaks volumes about his character and motivation. One that’s not really driven by the bottom line.

 

It’s time.

 

Here, in part, is my conversation with Gabriel.

 

Host: Maybe I’ll start at the beginning, which is where I start with everybody that I interview. We have a history but the audience has no idea who you are. So, can you give me your full name, and origins of your name.

 

Gabriel: Sure, I’ll keep it brief. First of all, thank you very much for having me on the podcast. I consider it an honour. And you’re right, our history goes back over 20 years. My name is Gabriel Flores. And to answer your question the origin of my name is actually from El Salvador. So, my parents came to Canada in 1973. My father first then followed by my mother. I’m first generation Canadian. Born in ‘78 here in Montreal. And I consider myself very fortunate in that regard, especially against the current backdrop. I am an investment advisor at RBC Dominion Securities.

 

Host: If I can stick with your name and your background for a second…How close are you to your Salvadorian roots. Do you go back often is that part of your current culture?

 

Gabriel: So I’ve been back I remember my URL. My first memory of El Salvador was being there in 1986, while the Civil War was still going on. And, you know, I remember military checkpoints. I remember hearing gunfire at dusk. I remember, obviously, military presence throughout. And it gave me a sense of how fortunate I was  – not having to grow up in that environment – and also having the luxury of leaving that behind because I would come back to Montreal. So, you know, my connection to the country is really through my parents and more particularly through my grandparents. Shortly after I was born, and, you know, as is the case, with many people I think, that are first generation Canadian, they have their grandparents around to help raise them while their parents are busy. You know, establishing a beachhead here in Canada, and I’m no different. That’s where I learned my Spanish. That’s how I learned about Salvadoran cuisine. And that’s how I learned about where I came from.

 

Host: You mentioned in the prologue there that you worked, you work at RBC as an investment advisor. Is that correct?

 

Gabriel: That’s correct.

 

Host: Is there like you talked about your grandparents and your dad and your mom and your dad. Is there a history of that in your family – from a financial institution perspective or are you an outlier in that respect?

 

Gabriel: You know what I’m an outlier I and my career trajectory is somewhat unique in that regard because you know I was initially on a science track. You know I did my undergraduate degree in physiology. And I had done basic research in sciences, both in Montreal and in London, England. And I thought that was where I was headed. And, you know, I had studied that, at that point in time, a lot of immunology and also I’ve worked in a lab as well with tropical disease, which I guess you know in certain respects is pretty relevant these days. But I also I guess committed the happy mistake of also taking some electives in business, and that really opened up a whole new world to me. You know, the opportunity to see the interaction and the interplay between macroeconomic events and the markets and finance in general. That to me was a whole new world that I hadn’t previously been exposed to. So, you know, at that point in time I basically made that decision to shift to a finance background and I was, you know, the only one in my family that had really gone in that direction – my sisters in pharmaceuticals. My mother’s a physician. My father is a retired architect.

 

Host: How has the current crisis affected your livelihood..your work?

 

Gabriel: Well, I think that I’m quite fortunate certain regard because I haven’t been as badly affected as some people out there. You know I hear stories all the time about small business owners, and people that depend on the hospitality and tourism industry. And, you know, my thoughts are with them because I’m sure they’re going through a very difficult and uncertain period at this point in time, in terms of my business, you know I’m able to run my business at full capacity from my home office. And so, you know, being able to meet with an individual over coffee or over lunch or even in a in a straight for business meeting is not possible these days. And so we have to adapt and part of adapting is leveraging the technology that we have. So I’ve been more active in webinars and in doing virtual meetings and I think that we were headed in that in that direction to begin with. But the COVID crisis really accelerated things and brought that timeline a lot closer, in many different industries including my own.

 

Host: I had a previous interview, of which this portion your response will drop in, where there was one gentleman whose his perspective was to say, if you’re not playing that game (financial), if you’re not looking at that you’re just out of the game, you don’t even know the rules and you’re just you’re just a pawn in the world, so to speak. And so I guess what I’m trying to ask is what impact has the current crisis head on people who are your key constituents, like your key clients, how has that changed their lives?

 

Gabriel: You know that’s a great question, and I think the best way to answer that question is in highlighting the fact that my approach is a highly geared towards education and information. And I think that if I am able to convey information about what’s happening in the markets, what’s happening in in macro-economics, how different industries are being affected and bring that back to you know the the circumstances of whoever I’m speaking to at the time. I think that adds a certain level of empowerment. You know I think information is power and I think that education, and being able to walk my clients and other individuals through uncertain times is extremely important. And that gives them that peace of mind that they need to focus on what’s important to them, and whether that is in the addressing the basic needs of their family, whether that is in getting the reassurance that they need – in terms of the fact that their cash flow is going to be adequate over this uncertain period of time, or whether it’s in bringing in any number of partners that I work with, to be able to better their personal situation, I can do that, and I want to do that. And the end result is rewarding to me, because you know if I can shepherd my clients through the uncertainty that we witnessed in February and in March and throughout the course of early April…then I’m doing my job, and I’m able to add value. And part of being able to do that is being an effective communicator. And so if I can communicate to them and listen to what their underlying uncertainties and uneasiness is, then I can better forge that relationship for the long term. And I think in my experience, if we can make it through this period of time, relatively unscathed. Then, you know the confidence in our relationship is going to be that much stronger.

 

Host: In the course of your career in this domain you talked a lot about uncertain times and certainly we’re living through some now. People come to you for help for advice for counsel for your industry has been wracked with some players who have taken their clients, taken that trust and essentially done damage to the whole industry by doing the wrong things with what they have been trusted to do. How do you, in your relationship with your clients, how do you combat that stigma?

 

Gabriel: You know unfortunately there are more cynical views of the industry, than I would like. But what I tell my clients is that ultimately we’re going to build trust through transparency and that you know if I’m able to convey to them in the limited amount of time that we have when we first meet when we first speak. The what my intentions are in helping them address their current and future financial situation, then that already starts to engender some of that trust and confidence that we need to build a strong foundation for us to work going forward. And you know I remind them that I’m a fiduciary that I act in their best interests that ultimately you know in being able to work with them in a certain times is where I can add value. And I can also leverage on my previous experience from the you know the, ‘08/’09 crisis, and also you know leverage on my experience in working with people through that area. You know, there are many parts of my business, and one of the parts of my business for example where I think I can show the level of trust, trust and confidence that I can bring to a relationship is with older clients, you know, seniors. There’s been quite a, unfortunately, a negative amount of press around. You know how advisors and even family members. Take advantage of seniors, whether it be, you know, quite frankly ripping off. In terms of stripping of any of their wealth, but also in terms of depriving them of the fruits of their own labor over the course of their lives. And so for me, the opportunity of working with that particular sub-population is also particularly interesting and rewarding because I can come in and work with that type of client and their families, quite frankly, to be able to protect their wealth and be able to have it be used in a way that that they want.

 

Host: You mentioned about seniors and it triggered a part of my mind to go to people who are not necessarily underbanked because i don’t know I think that might be a little bit too extreme in what I was trying to ask but people who maybe don’t leverage resources such as yourself. And are they missing out? I’m assuming you would say yes but maybe in a short way, the shortest answer possible. Why are they missing out if they’re not using a counsel, such as yours?

 

Gabriel: Well, look, I mean, every advisor runs their business differently in my regard. You know when I meet someone, I really take the time to listen to them, and I take the time to better understand their previous experience if any with a financial professional. Sometimes it’s been traumatic. And sometimes it’s been, sub-optimal. So that’s important for me to know it’s important for me to know some of the background and where they’re coming from. And it’s also important for me to better understand where the pieces fit at the moment. Often times you know we spend the discovery meeting talking about what their pie in the sky type idea is and what their ideal situation would be. And then we go back and try to reverse engineer how we can get there. And, you know, that sometimes that means having a difficult conversation about credit repair that might that might be a difficult conversation about, you know, making sure that they’ve also taken the adequate steps in protecting their estate. So part of the conversation really is, you know, when was the last time that you updated your will? And I would say, nine out of 10 times the reply is, I don’t have a will. And when that happens, I think we have to pivot to a conversation of okay well what’s important to you? You know what legacy do you want to leave behind? Because you know as we found out with the tragic events of Kobe Bryant earlier this year. You never quite know when your legacy is going to begin. And when you look at things from that perspective how fleeting life can be especially in light of the recent events of COVID-19, to be able to have that peace of mind that that type of planning can give you can’t be measured in dollars and cents. You did mention how every, every advisor every professional in your domain is different.

 

Host: You seem to be very different from a lot of your colleagues that I’m aware of. That’s not a slight in the script community, but you do things differently. Where does that come from?

 

I mean, you know, part of part of what I’ve seen before, is I believe you do have your services are available in Spanish, you do, do a lot of things out there. I want to talk about responsible investing in a second but you do seem to put a lot of the activities that you do for fundraising and charities online. So it seems that you have a different, a different flair to you. Where does that come from?

 

Gabriel: Well, that’s a great question, and where that comes from is, you know, we only really have one life to live at the end of the day, and to choose a profession or a vocation. That gives you purpose and motivates you on a daily basis, whether it’s in the midst of the most disastrous bear market or, or not, is something that not everyone can find. And I guess I’ve been fortunate enough to find a profession that really leverages all my previous experiences in both financial markets and in life. And so, for me, I think that my approach is different because I come to it from a point of gratitude, and I come to it from a point of, you know, really looking to positively affect change in not only my clients situation so bring them closer to where they need to need to get, but also in the grander scheme of things as you touched on, on the responsible investment and on the ESG side of things in trying to help educate and inform my client. And really the general public, on how they can affect positive change, and see the change that they want to see in the world around them through their investments, you know ultimately what am I trying to achieve I’m trying to achieve a business that is sustainable and how am I going to do that, I’m going to do that by way of running a highly business of high integrity, one where you know I walk the walk and one as well where you know ultimately it boils down to how I can add value to a particular client situation. And that brings me fulfillment. And that brings me a level of reward that is priceless.

 

Host: Is that the inspiration behind responsible investing? Is that why you do that in your portfolio?

 

Gabriel: That’s, that’s a part of it. that’s definitely a part of it. I always, you know I think of the way that people want to affect the world positively in a way that you know you can better affect the change that you want to see in the world by allocating your capital to industries and businesses that are making changes happen, whether it be on the environmental side of things on the social side of things in taking care of the worker, for example, or on the governance side of things investing in companies that run ethical businesses with strong governance practices. I think that at the end of the day. That’s something that that needs to be more front and center, if we’re going to affect the change that we want to see over the coming decades.

 

Host: Dream vacation, no limits, two weeks. We are in a either a pre COVID or a post COVID meaning, we’ve got a vaccine so it’s not an issue. Where are you going?

 

Gabriel: You know I think I’d like to take my, my family, my kids to a place like the Galapagos. You know I’ve, I’ve studied the history of science and evolution and, and, and all the work that Charles Darwin did in the Galapagos, and you know to be honest with you, given what we see in in environmental trends. I don’t know how much longer that bio system and ecosystem well boy exists in its current form so to be able to see that. Now, and share that experience with my family I think would be quite priceless.

 

Host: Are you a man of the sword, or are you a man of the pen?

 

Gabriel:  Well if that pen is, if that pen is able to write checks and if that pen is able to direct investments in areas that are going to affect change, then that’s who I am. Because, you know, I think we’ve shut we’ve seen that, you know, voting for one political party or another might bring some short term change, but as soon as the party switches over a lot of that changes on Wow. You know, I think that if you’re looking to make permanent positive change happen that you’re better off voting with your wallet. You’re better off in showing companies and industries that you can you can allocate your capital, and that that goes two ways you can take capital away. Or you can allocate capital to.

 

Host: So there you have it, the conversation continues. I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in today’s show, be they behind the scenes, or on the mic. Part of our show was recorded and produced at Corner Studios with the assistance of our producer John Kit. Music for this episode was composed played and enjoyed with permission by Joachim Nortabert and Andy Ninville.

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