While they didn’t know each other as teenagers, Lynn MacNeil and Fadi Ephtimios had a similar curiosity and interest in money at a young age. Years before they met in wealth management, Lynn and Fadi were both developing an interest in saving and investing.

While driving with her father one day, 13-year old Lynn asked her dad what a stockbroker did. He explained that “it’s ‘someone who makes money with money’.” Lynn continues; “I just found that so fascinating. When I got my first part time job at 15, my dad helped me to start investing, and I’ve been investing ever since.”

Meanwhile, over on the West Island, Fadi Ephtimios had a part time job doing oil changes at a local garage. “I was earning just $80 a week, but somehow I managed to save $1,000. At the time, GICs were paying 11%, and so on my father’s advice, I used my savings to buy my first Term Deposit.”

Lynn continues; “My parents were born in 1928 and 1933. They grew up poor, during WWII, it was tough times. They both became well-educated adults and provided a comfortable upbringing for our family, but… they never forgot their meagre origins and instilled in us a frugality and the value of money. In turn, Fadi and I work hard to teach our three teenagers about the value of money; which can be tricky with this young generation and the influences of social media on them.”

Lynn has been a long-time contributor to The Montrealer with her column, Managing Your Money, found on the inside back cover of each issue. Today, the couple bring their interest and enthusiasm for sound financial management to their practice at Richardson GMP. “It’s fair to say that we complement each other, both in our skills and areas of expertise” notes Fadi. Lynn adds; “I work primarily with women over 50 and retirees (or soon-to-be retirees), while Fadi works mostly with business owners and professionals. So, we have pretty much all bases covered.”

“It’s been a time of heightened anxiety, and reducing financial anxiety is
what we do best.”

As financial planners, they take a comprehensive approach to each client’s situation. Fadi gives the example of a new client who was preparing to sell a business. “He had spent his time and effort building a successful business, and not worrying about investments or retirement. He came to us for guidance on ‘am I going to be ok?’ He needed help not only on the investments, but on the tax side with his corporate structure, and with planning how to effectively pass on his wealth.  We worked with his accountant and lawyer to ensure everything was properly set up for his retirement and for his family’s future.”

Their focus is on far more than just the investments, points out Fadi; “It’s funny how people work so hard to get an extra percent or two on their investments, but are leaving money on the table with taxes.   We take a very holistic approach with our clients and use a comprehensive financial checklist, because we know that most people out there are missing out on opportunities. We want our clients to be confident that we’ve ‘dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s’. Lynn goes on to describe a recent situation about a nearly missed opportunity. “A few weeks ago, I received a call from a long-time client. I had previously advised her about a tax strategy that she could use this year that would save her over $8,200 in taxes. When she mentioned it to her bank, they told her that it wasn’t possible, and suggested she should contact her tax advisor, who also told her that it wasn’t possible. So, she called me back, confused about the conflicting advice. I assured her that the tax strategy, although less known, is completely legal and legitimate, and that I’ve used it many times for people in her situation. I emailed her a document, which, strange as it might seem, was published by her own bank, detailing the tax saving strategy and how it works. This is only one example that we’ve seen over the years where people are missing out, and not getting proper advice. It often pays to get a second opinion”

“Generally, most of our clients have saved diligently or sold a business and have worked hard to get where they are financially. We take their life savings very seriously and treat them as we would our own family. The majority of our clients come from referrals, and we’ve had an increase in the number of people reaching out during COVID. It’s been a time of heightened anxiety, and reducing financial anxiety is what we do best.”

“Truly – our understanding of our clients’ needs, goals and especially their worries and fears helps us to prepare a plan that allows them to sleep at night. We know our clients very well – many of our relationships have extended over 20 or 25 years.”

“In a few cases, we have three generations of family for whom we manage their finances. In one case, we got to know the son of one of our clients when he became involved in his mother’s finances. He appreciated our philosophy and honesty and decided to work with us even though he lives in Vancouver.”

Almost simultaneously, Fadi and Lynn state; “A big part of our success comes from our other team members, Tania Italiano and Anna Lyne Poblador. Not only are they kind and understanding with our clients, but they are highly competent and responsive in all their work.  We have a very professional operation, and we owe much of that to them.”

Lynn describes the relationship that they have with Richardson GMP. “We think that most people want advice that is fair and unbiased, whether it’s from their doctor or financial professional. We feel the same way. With Richardson GMP we’re not limited. We have access to a greater variety of investments than most firms in Canada.  Aside from the traditional stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, we also have extensive access to private equity, real estate, and other specialty investments.”

Fadi adds; “Richardson GMP has a stellar reputation in the high net worth market and with family offices, particularly because of our access to alternative and private investing.”

Repeat business and referrals are the best indicators of a solid business. In the case of Lynn MacNeil and Fadi Ephtimios, they have long-term client relationships; have won the confidence of second and third generation family members; and receive referrals from satisfied clients. In closing our conversation Lynn concludes; “What we’re most proud of is the longevity and strength of our client relationships and when a client recommends us to a family member, friend or business associate. I think that is a true testament to who we are as people, and to the work that we do. “

For information about Fadi and Lynn’s practice at Richardson GMP, please visit: www.EphtimiosMacNeil.com  or call 514-981-5796.

Fadi Ephtimios holds an MBA from the John Molson School of Business, at Concordia University as well as the Financial Planner designation (Fin. Pl.) from the Institut québécois de planification financière. Fadi also holds the Trust and Estate Practioner (TEP) designation and is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Lynn MacNeil studied at Concordia University in Business Administration, and is currently enrolled there in an Art History & Studio Arts program. Lynn holds the Financial Planner (Fin. Pl.) designation from the Institut québécois de planification financière. Lynn’s email: [email protected]