Reflections upon a career thus far...
This week I celebrate twenty-five years at RBC Dominion Securities and thirty-eight years in the financial services industry. While I am not normally one who makes a big deal out of milestones for some reason I am particularly proud of this accomplishment and my career thus far…
I recall some thirty-eight years ago having lunch with my late father where he tried to convince me to join his fledging life insurance brokerage firm. I had recently graduated from McGill University and was, at the time, selling display advertising for a weekly newspaper called The Downtowner. I could see that my “career” in advertising sales was not going to be huge money-maker and that my father’s business actually seemed to have some great potential. Being in the life insurance industry was probably the last place I expected to find myself and working with my father, with whom I had a fraught relationship, seemed even more remote but I recognized a long-term opportunity and I seized it!
We were a tiny business set up in a residential building that my father owned on Baile St. in the Shaughnessy Village (in the shadow of the Grey Nuns on St. Mathieu below St. Catherine). While the business was a decent one and we did build it into a better one, I could see my longer -term interests lay in the management of investments over life insurance sales. At this point, I was now married and we had a daughter (with a son on his way) and I was in need of a more secure future. I decided that brighter prospects lay in the “ big leagues” and I started making the rounds of the larger brokerage firms. At this time, I had acquired both my life insurance licence and my securities license so I was quite marketable.
I landed up at RBC Dominion Securities as I was most impressed with their honest and hard working management (which continues to this day) as well as their wealth management infrastructure which was going to allow me to continue practicing my holistic approach to financial stewardship by blending my expertise in both life insurance and investment strategies. Twenty-five years later I still find myself with the firm and still growing and learning with every single day!
Throughout this period I have survived through several market calamities and events: high interest rates of the 1980’s (when I started GIC rates were in the 12-14% range); the Crash of 1987; the Quebec referendum of 1995 which destabilized bonds and the Canadian currency; the Dot Com bubble of 2000 which lead to the sudden collapse of a vast number of technology firms; the 2008 Global Financial Crisis which had the entire financial system teetering on the edge of collapse; and now, most recently, the global pandemic of 2020-2021. In each situation, I have remarkably picked myself up off the ground, dusted myself off and carried on to see another day.
So, today, I find myself reflecting over these years with great gratitude for an industry that has allowed me to thrive and lead a most satisfying career.
I would like to thank all those clients who have prevailed with me throughout this time, all of my associates and assistants who have been able to manage the demanding administration side of the business, all of the management team who have offered me tremendous opportunities year in and year out, my friends and colleagues within the industry with whom I have developed some close relationships, and my family and friends who supported me one way or another along the way.
However, please do not consider this soliloquy as my swan song as I have no plans of going anywhere and I look forward to a continued journey along this path meeting new friends, new clients, serving my current clients and continuing to lead a vibrant and invigorating career as long as I am able.
Thank you for listening. I am truly grateful.
John Archer, March 18, 2021.