Growing Wellington-Altus tops investment advisory rankings


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After just three years in business and in the first year of its eligibility, Wellington-Altus Private Wealth was rated the No. 1 investment advisory firm in Canada.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/05/2020 (877 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After just three years in business and in the first year of its eligibility, Wellington-Altus Private Wealth was rated the No. 1 investment advisory firm in Canada.

The ranking, produced by the publication Investment Executive, surveys financial advisors at the 14 largest firms in the country including the Big Six banks’ investment firms.

Wellington-Altus’ score was the highest by far.

Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press files Wellington-Altus founder Charlie Spiring.

“Not all firms were equal,” Investment Executive said. “The gap between the… ratings for the top- and lowest-rated firms was significantly wider than a year ago (at 2.7 in 2020 versus 1.9 in 2019), and it seems that a clearly communicated firm strategy can make or break a rating.”

Wellington-Altus racked up an average score of 9.6. Only three others broke 9.0.

With a focus on technology and an aggressive acquisition strategy, the firm has grown to about 22 offices, 250 employees and $10 billion in assets under administration. The firm has been particularly successful attracting top producers from other firms across the country.

Founded by Charlie Spiring, the Winnipeg broker who founded and grew Wellington West capital and sold it to National Bank Financial in 2011, Wellington-Altus is on an even faster growth trajectory than Wellington West ever was.

“It took Wellington West 18 years to get to $10 billion,” Spiring said. “This time we did it in three years and with a bear market.”

But the COVID-induced market collapse in March has been followed by a significant spike in April.

“I started in 1981 and it was an awful market that year,” Spiring said. “I have been through several of them. I do my best work here.”

And Spiring said the irony is that April has been the best month on the markets since 1987.

“It’s never been easier to make money,” he said. “No one seems to give a hoot about the bounce back we’ve had.”

Advisors were asked how they rate their firm on more than two dozen categories and Wellington-Altus was the top ranking firm in just about every one.

“We run an enviable book and we are doing it in Winnipeg,” Spiring said. “Everyone keeps telling me I have to do it in Toronto. How can we have the best back office, the best service, the best technologies and we are in a backwater called Winnipeg? It’s a really great thing.”

Martin Cash

Martin Cash

Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.

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