Financial business celebrating 25 years in Haliburton
By Angelica Ingram
Published Feb. 28, 2017
For Gord Schakelaar and Jan McMaster, business is about relationships.
The financial planning team who make up Assante Wealth Management in Haliburton believe the key to their 25 years of success lies in the solid relationships you build with your clients.
This year the financial services firm is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Haliburton, tracing its roots back to Schakelaar’s interest in changing careers.
A former metro Toronto police officer and builder, Schakelaar was seeking a new challenge when he decided to go into the financial industry.
Now a branch manager and senior financial planning advisor, he doesn’t regret the decision for a moment.
“I moved up in 1988 ... and started building for three years,” he said, adding he built the building where Assante is located on Maple Avenue. “In January 1992, we [Assante] started in this building and we’ve been here ever since.”
Schakelaar said his decision to move north was made because he didn’t want to raise his children in the city. The same went for McMaster, who has been with Assante for nearly 20 years, joining Schakelaar in 1998.
“I moved up in 1990 and had worked for IBM up until that point,” she said.
Married to a retired police officer, McMaster previously worked for a bank in Haliburton before joining Assante, now a financial planning advisor.
The business specializes in financial services, including investments, estate planning, life insurance, tax planning and more.
“Assante is one of the largest Canadian professional services firms supporting 750 advisors all across Canada,” said Schakelaar.
The pair point to a number of factors that have led to their success, including consistency, community and building relationships.
“The key for us is being here and being involved in the community for 25 years,” said Schakelaar.
Much of their business is acquired through referrals or word of mouth. While the pair has seen some changes in the industry over the years, many things have remained the same.
“We know our clients, we have relationships with them,” said McMaster. “You see them in the grocery store, or the doctor’s office. In a small town confidentiality is huge.”
The two have no plans to retire anytime soon and will still meet their clients around their kitchen tables.
The pair pride themselves not only on their client relationships, but on their open-for-business policy, willing to accept all types of investors.
“We’re good to accept just about anyone,” said McMaster. “I look at my own kids; if they’re just starting out and can afford $25 a month in their RRSP or TFSA, you don’t turn them away. I’m actually quite proud of that, that we’re open to any type of investing.”
“And we’ve chosen that,” said Schakelaar.