Prior to March 2020, approximately 30 per cent of the meetings we held were done remotely. The remaining 70 per cent were done in person. As a portfolio manager we have always had the ability to do remote meetings. Remote meetings have been the standard for clients who live in different cities, provinces or different countries.
What has changed in the last couple of months is that 100 per cent of the meetings are now done remotely, even for clients who live on Vancouver Island. Both portfolio managers and clients have had to adapt to this change during the past couple of months with the required social distancing as we all face the pandemic challenges together.
Less than two per cent of my clients do not have a computer and internet access. In these cases, the meetings are all done through phone calls and verbal conversations. For the remaining clients we will encourage a remote meeting where we share the same information that we would for an in-person meeting electronically beforehand and then speak on the phone.
Some of the challenges in preparing for remote meetings are how to send confidential information for each meeting where the transmission will be both secure enough to thwart any advanced cyber hacker’s attempts and easy and user-friendly for the less experienced home computer user.
Several years ago we would simply send an email with a PDF attachment — this was an acceptable practice back then. This is no longer an option, given the potential for cyber hackers to steal confidential information. The experts agree that a secure email platform is a recommended way to share confidential information between clients and portfolio managers, preferably with at least a two-step authentication process, that is easy to navigate for a novice computer user.
We recommend a couple of things for our clients, with the first being online access to your investment accounts and banking accounts. The second recommendation is to use secure email, with the preferred secured platform being the one available through your online access. Having online access for your accounts, and a secure email platform (that is available through your online access), will make it easier to follow what is happening with your investments. Another advantage is that it makes it easier to share meeting reports between clients and the portfolio manager.
Setting up online access is easy to do via a simple request to your portfolio manager or a member of the team. In some cases we have had clients who have forgotten a password or needed assistance with the set up or navigation. Our team has a dedicated individual that can verbally walk our clients through all the steps.
Prior to a remote meeting, a team member will send the meeting package through to the client, typically the day before the meeting. This gives the client ample time to access and review the meeting material. If the client has any technology issues with accessing the information online then they can simply call a team member for assistance. The team member will ensure you have access and are familiar with the platform prior to the phone conversation with the portfolio manager.
Below is the information your portfolio manager and advisory team will need to submit the request for online access:
1. Account numbers for your online access
2. Financial Power of Attorney for any accounts not in your name
3. Document Delivery: do you want paperless or paper delivery for monthly statements, trade confirmations, tax documents or annual trading summaries
4. Mothers maiden name
Once we confirm the above information then the online access card is ordered (similar to a credit card) and sent to your house, provided you do not already have one. You will receive an email notification with a separate password, following by a letter mailed through Canada Post that will contain additional activation instructions and the online access card as part of the two-step authentication process.
Every financial institution will be slightly different. For illustration purposes we have outlined the instructions that we provide to our clients for gaining access to both their Scotiabank (banking) and ScotiaMcLeod (investing) accounts under one card.
Once you receive your card in the mail, then you follow these steps:
Internet Login Instructions for new and replacement cards
1. Access your account
• Go to www.scotiaonline.scotiabank.com and select the “Activate Now” button
• Enter your 16-digit ScotiaCard (online access card) number, without any spaces
• Create your username and new password
2. Verify your identity
• Enter your ScotiaCard Security Code, which is the Card Verification Value (CVV — the last three digits on the back side of the card)
• Answer the security questions
• (Optional) 2-step verification:
• Select “No” if you don’t have an active Canadian mobile number tied to your account.
• Select “Yes” and enter your active Canadian mobile number tied to your account. You will receive an SMS — Short Message Service.
• Sign in to your Scotia OnLine banking with your newly created username/card number and password
3. Read agreements
• Read and agree to the Digital Access Agreement
• Read and agree to the Scotia Wealth Management Online Access Agreement
4. Last steps
• Create your Access Code
• (Optional) Download the Online Security Software to bank securely
Once you have successfully logged into your account, you will have access to some of the following information:
Account Summary and Details
Review cash balances, individual holdings, market values and other account details.
View transaction history for up to 45 months with advanced filtering and sorting options.
Annual Trading Summary
Obtain an annual summary for all non-registered accounts to help simplify your tax preparation.
Access a wide range of equity and research reports from ScotiaMcLeod and Scotia Capital, plus third-party reports from Financial Post and Morningstar. Real-time stock quotes, company news and analyst ratings are also available.
Connected Banking Functions
Scotiabank clients will also be able to view banking and borrowing information, pay bills, transfer funds between account and more.
Paperless Record Keeping
OnLine clients can sign up for Scotia eRecords. This service allows them to access monthly statements and annual trading summaries and transaction confirmations in an electronic format instead of receiving them by mail. They can sign up for this service under the Manage My Account link and select the Document Preferences tab.
SecureShare is a file sharing feature in Scotia OnLine that make it easier for a portfolio manager to securely share key documents with their clients and vice-versa. SecureShare allows clients to securely share important files and information confidentially with their advisor teams. It also allows advisor teams to securely share documents with their clients. Clients understanding the SecureShare component of Online access is a critical component to setting up remote meetings.
We know that setting up online access and learning how to send and receive documents securely takes time in the short term to learn. Nearly all of our clients who have set this up find the process straight forward and easy to use. Every time our clients have a remote meeting the process becomes easier and more routine. In the past we have always like to give our clients the option of an in-person meeting or a remote meeting. As more and more clients get accustomed to remote meetings, they can always utilize this in the future for any reason. We have set up remote meetings for clients for many reasons, including: for those who are away travelling or not feeling well, the weather is bad, don’t like coming into the city to find parking, saving travel time, etc.
For many years our team has encouraged the benefits of online access, paperless options and remote meetings, all of which provide good environmental benefits with less travel and less paper. Another huge benefit is that a meeting can be set up very quickly if a life event occurs or if you need to urgently speak with your portfolio manager.
Not only can regular meetings be scheduled remotely, but we can also open new accounts and make other account modifications remotely as well. Next week, we will outline how this remote service works and how it can benefit both existing and new clients.
Kevin Greenard CPA CA FMA CFP CIM is a portfolio manager and director, wealth management, with The Greenard Group at Scotia Wealth Management in Victoria. His column appears every week at timescolonist.com. Call 250-389-2138. greenardgroup.com