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June 17, 2024

From Values to Action: How Financial Advisors Can Develop a Business Philosophy

Financial advisors are constantly working. There is always a call to return, a trade to place or a financial plan to review. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re always reacting instead of actively pursuing opportunities.

And, on top of all that work, advisors are constantly facing difficult decisions, including:

  1. Which solution is best for this client’s scenario?
  2. Our team messed something up and the client is upset—how do we make things right?
  3. We want to actively pursue a new opportunity, but how do we know it’s the best move?

These are big questions that, if answered incorrectly, can have a profound impact on your practice and the cohesiveness of your team.

Establishing a business philosophy can make the decision-making process easier. Think of it as your compass, pointing your team toward true north. It’s your team’s purpose and the values that guide it every day. It’s your raison d’être.

A few years ago, a Deloitte study found that “purpose-oriented companies have higher productivity and growth rates, along with a more satisfied workforce who stay longer with them… Such companies report 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors.”1

Many of the world’s most recognizable teams, brands and businesses have philosophies.

Bill Walsh, who as San Francisco 49ers coach took the team from NFL laughingstock to Super Bowl champions in just three years, encapsulated his philosophy in a “Standard of Performance.” It begins, “Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement.”2

Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, penned “Nike’s Manifesto” in 1980. The second value on his list reads, “We’re on offense. All the time.”3

Former clients of mine, McFaull Financial in Saskatoon, used two words to guide everything they do: “Simplify and Protect”. So, how can you write your own business philosophy? Consider these points:

  • Look to unify. Ideally, you want to inspire those outside your team to want to work with you, while also motivating those who are a part of the team to contribute at the highest level.
  • Provide clear direction and orientation. Consider creating a “Team Playbook” that establishes how each person on your team is expected to act and execute their role.
  • Keep it simple. Your business philosophy should be concise and to the point, so it’s easy for your team to implement and your clients to understand.

Once you’ve created your business philosophy, you’ll be able to apply it when:

  • Hiring a new member for the team to help evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for your team and the culture you’ve developed.
  • Resolving mistakes to help choose which solution will best represent the practice’s values.
  • Pursuing an opportunity, such as purchasing a new book of business or merging with another team, to help determine if you share common values and approaches to doing business.

A business philosophy can give your team a sense of purpose and direction—and businesses that have one can attract better talent and keep that talent on their team for longer than their competitors.

For support as you establish your own business philosophy, reach out to your CI sales representative.


O’Brien, D., Main, A., Kounkel, S., Stephan, A. “Purpose is everything” October 15, 2019
Walsh, Bill. The Score Takes Care of Itself. Penguin, 2009, p. 32.
Hilder, R. “This 1970s Nike manifesto is absolutely wild” January 22, 2023

About the Author

Mathieu Messina

Mathieu Messina

Director, Advisor Development
CI Global Asset Management

Mathieu Messina joined CI Advisor Consulting in October 2023, bringing with him 9 years of service and sales experience.

Using a consultative approach, Mathieu’s primary objective is helping advisors take their practice to the next level by providing actionable solutions through one-on-one consultations and presenting CI Advisor Consulting’s industry-leading content.

Working with advisors across Canada has nurtured his belief that client service is the foundation of any successful practice. Mathieu loves helping advisors improve their client experience and grow their business by delivering exceptional service and value.


For Advisor Use Only.

This communication is published by CI Global Asset Management (“CI GAM”). Any commentaries and information contained in this communication are provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice. Facts and data provided by CI GAM and other sources are believed to be reliable as at the date of publication.