Being an empathetic listener is very important. It allows for better engagement and trust, whether that be dealing with clients or your team.
Dwayne Rettinger is a Certified Financial Planner professional (CFP) who has over ten years of experience helping clients make sound financial decisions. Dwayne currently provides financial guidance and planning to clients at Rettinger & Associates Private Wealth Management, a part of Investors Group Financial Services Inc. He has also served as a senior consultant at KPMG, and held similar leadership roles with Eli Lilly Canada and Deloitte Canada. He was eventually made partner and vice president of KPMG, and was responsible for KPMG’s Eastern Canada communications and utilities practice division. When he’s not working, Dwayne is an active community member, a local hockey coach, and an impactful philanthropist.
Where did the idea for Rettinger & Associates Private Wealth Management come from?Prior to becoming a business owner or an entrepreneur in the wealth management space, I was a partner at an international management consulting firm. I did a lot of corporate consulting in the position and the business process around consulting is very similar to what I do now. But, it was difficult for me to close the loop on the benefits and outcomes of my efforts. So, I would be parachuted into a corporation somewhere in North America and would be involved in a six month to one year long project and then I would leave. I never really saw the results of my efforts in a measurable way.
So, the reason I came into this practice or built a wealth management practice is because I’m consulting with individuals and families where that feedback loop is much faster and I get to see the measurable results as I work with my clients over the years. I find that very fulfilling.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?Typically, I start the day with an early morning workout and then go into one of my offices. I work out of three offices, but I go to the one that has the majority of my team and associates, where we will review the files for the day. Following that, I conduct three to four appointments with clients throughout the day. I also often go to a client event in the evening or a prospecting event, whether that be that a seminar or an educational event.
How do you bring ideas to life?A lot of my creative thinking is actually done outside the typical work day. I do a lot of my introspective thinking during the weekends. So, on a Saturday morning typically, I will review the week that was, think of things that I’d like to apply going forward within the practice and because my short-term memory is not as good anymore, I write things down quickly or I send emails or texts to myself.
What’s one trend that excites you?Plenty of both industry trends and society trends excite me. Technology obviously is very exciting. It enables a lot of efficiency in how we run our practice and manage our client relationships. The tools keep on improving.
However, technology in our industry sometimes offers the illusion of companionship or a relationship between financial planner and client. So, the part that I think our practice adds are individual relationships.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?I would say, just getting in front of my calendar and being more purposeful with my time. I used to be controlled by my calendar and not the other way around. That was kind of a big tipping point for me: just stopping the insanity of reacting and responding to every query or question or concern of either my team or clients and be more purposeful.
What advice would you give your younger self?Invest in yourself. Oftentimes, when you’re a busy professional either as a business owner or just in the general workplace, you forget about taking care of yourself, either in terms of physical well-being or mental well-being or professional development. We have a very reliable resource in ourselves and we have to invest in that resource.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.Because clients now have access to an almost infinite number of informational resources, if left to their own devices, clients will often implement plans that solve the wrong problems. That is a challenge. There is a constant threat of robo advisors or AI-based solutions that many are fearful will overtake their place in the workforce. My thinking is that information and data is readily accessible. But, without a good diagnosis or somebody who can help break down problems appropriately, you end up solving or addressing the wrong problems.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?Being an empathetic listener is very important. It allows for better engagement and trust, whether that be dealing with clients or your team. Clients and associates can sense when you’re being genuine in your concern and care for them. That usually starts by being a good listener. So, that is a skill I have acquired over time and recognize its importance.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?I would say empowering my team and associates was critical in terms of having breakout performance in my practice. Removing myself from the critical path. There was a time where I was the weak link and it was my capacity that mattered in terms of our productivity and growth. I truly have a flat organizational structure. I’m not a boss, I’m just a team member, and all my associates have equal capacity and capability and I simply leverage that. That has allowed us to expand our collective capacity.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?I think early on I had the perception or I thought that clients valued me being the smartest guy in the room. So, based on that perception, I was very prescriptive and did most of the talking and was not a very good listener. That led to client defections because that’s not what clients want. They didn’t want me to be the smartest guy in the room, but simply wanted to know that I cared and understood their challenges and concerns. And so, that, which was just perception-based, got in the way of my early success. So, that’s something that I had to work on and overcome and it’s made a big difference.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?It’s the concept of leveraging teams and human resources. The tipping point for the breakout of my success was when I realized I was not operating a single shingle advisory practice. I had a private wealth management team and I was a business manager more than a consultant. I am managing a larger enterprise now and that has really been the key to my business success.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?I belong to a charitable organization called “100 Guys Who Care Oakville” and every quarter we get together. It’s the best cheque I write throughout the year. Our contributions go to a local charity that we vote on as a group. We get candidate agencies and charities, usually three or four that provide a pitch, and we vote on them. The contribution I make to this each quarter is the most satisfying $100 that I spend every time.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?It’s an internally developed application we call “Pathway”. It’s our CRM tool and it’s allowed us to digitize all our client assets, applications, transactions, and confirmations. Everything is now digitized, so we’re able to consolidate our client files from an area that would be the size of a small house to a single filing cabinet. My calendars are on it, my workflow is on it, client information, addresses, even the Google map information of a new client address. Everything is in front of me at all times and accessible on all my mobile devices and tablets. That has been a breakthrough technology for us.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?For junior entrepreneurs, I always come back to the book “Think and Grow Rich”.
What is your favorite quote?opI don’t know if I can attribute this to anyone in particular, but I have a quote that I do mention often: “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done.” That’s a quote I remember and I’m certainly inspired by.
- Truly understand the value of being an empathetic listener. Being a good listener takes an ability to actively engage with what is being said. It’s a skill that is incredibly important for success both within and outside the work environment.
- Continually remember the importance of empowering one’s team – this is essential to unlocking the collective capacity of a team and achieving broader success.
- You control your calendar; do not let the calendar control you. Proper time management begins and ends with this.
Dwayne Rettinger on LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/drettinger
Dwayne Rettinger on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dretting
Dwayne Rettinger on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dwaynerettingercfp/