Tom Terzis is an Independent Wealth Specialist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His family was very entrepreneurial, which heavily inspired Tom since he was young. His grandfather came from Europe and instilled a strong work ethic with a willingness and desire to be of service to others.
He is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a minor in economics. After graduation, he began his career path which included working in the hospitality industry, a large manufacturing company, a schedule B bank, and a telecom company. In the process, Tom developed both relationship and financial analytical skills. He felt he could better serve others by venturing on his own in the financial services industry. After 20 years of industry experience, Tom is an Independent Wealth Specialist providing lifestyle and financial planning services. In addition, he is known for his one-pagers that provide concepts in easy to understand terms.
He acts as an Accountability Coach where he helps his clients stay on track over time and reach their life goals. He works with a network of independent financial advisors in all areas of Wealth Management, including investing, real estate, tax, estate, insurance and credit planning. He has a holistic approach to Wealth Management which is truly “one stop”.
Tom Terzis’ hobbies include various sports, traveling, and dining and spending time with clients, friends and family.
How did you get started? What inspired you to do so?
My career in the financial services industry came from a recommendation of a close friend. He acknowledged my effort and the value I was to my corporate employer. He believed that I would provide a great service by working in the Financial Services industry. My career revolved around finance. I thought it was a great opportunity to start my own business. I was aware of the confusion and frustration people have around finances. I knew I could help them understand all their options, simplify their lives, and give them peace of mind.
How does your firm generate revenue?
I generate revenues by offering life and financial planning services. I have a vested interest in my clients. As they do better financially, I do better – there is no conflict. Financial strategies are made strictly in my clients’ best interests and I am a resource for my clients for any questions or if they are seeking other professionals. I have a network of financial professionals to introduce to clients if required. I understand the value of having a client for life.
How long did it take for your firm to become profitable?
I was profitable early in my career. I was on local radio and television. People were made aware of how different I was and the value I could provide. I did Lunch and Learns to provide potential clients with crucial information and to answer any questions they might have. Much of my business was generated from referrals. I would invite clients to dinner and ask them to invite someone like themselves. I would ask their guests what type of services they were receiving and what they liked and disliked from their advisors. By the end of dinner, I knew what services were missing and how I could add more value than others.
When you first started out did you ever doubt that this would work for you? If so, how did you handle it?
I have always been confident in his ability to provide value added services. I left Financial Consulting when I realized there were better options offered by true Portfolio Managers. I became tired of Wholesalers promoting inferior products. In addition to that, I realized I could not run a business, manage staff and compliance and be able to research so many products. Being the forward-thinking individual that I am, I looked to the U.S.A for trends. My solution was to focus on planning and being a great resource. I did not doubt that I could help clients achieve financial freedom. I have a network of independent professionals providing people with simple financial advice, trusted strategies, and quality solutions.
How did you find your first customer?
I invested heavily in a telemarketing service and a local radio show (640 A.M.) which was Called the Experts Hour. I invited specialists in all areas of Wealth Management to the show and had people call in with their questions. I received my first client via a cold call made by a telemarketer and being heard on a local radio show. The family were dissatisfied with their advisor and were looking for an alternative. My soon to be new client compared the services they were receiving from a large Brokerage. They realized I had their best interest in mind and appreciated the fact that I had the right combination of relationship skills, a professional Network of Professionals, questioning ability to find what was important to them, market knowledge and constant follow up.
What is one marketing strategy other than referrals that you use to generate new business?
I utilize several Marketing Strategies but always lead with a free consultation, plan, and receiving a second opinion on their investments, insurance, credit, tax, etc. I offer to have my client’s portfolios reviewed by a Portfolio Manager for any glaring mistakes. I am a true believer of the holistic Family Office Approach where all areas of a person’s goals are reviewed, addressed, and constantly monitored.
What is the toughest decision you have had to make in the past few months?
The toughest decision I had to make was how persistent I had to be with a person I met for the first time. I had to convince them to make changes to their thinking, portfolio and future planning, which was in their best interest. I knew I could dramatically affect their future and lifestyle they wanted but I did not want to seem too pushy or come across as just another sales guy. I take a holistic, independent, Family Office approach. I do everything I can to clarify information and empower them with knowledge, and gain trust. But, in the end, it is up to everyone to accept what I have to offer.
I did what I could to explain the benefits, but these people decide to listen to someone who knew nothing about this product. Because it was a family member, I didn’t pursue this further.
What do you think makes you successful?
I believe my success is largely based on the experience, knowledge, and my ability to find out what my clients need and want. I have access to a network of individual professionals, and constantly follow up. I believe in the excellence of execution. I focus on the 3 major areas, People, Process, Products/Services.
By creating a lifestyle plan, I can organize all their assets and put them to work for them. My personal service allows people the opportunity to talk with someone passionate about working with them and willing to listen and understand their concerns. My network of independent professionals offers clients the convenience of professionals with one-stop shopping.
What has been your most satisfying moment since opening your own firm?
My most satisfying moment was not necessarily a happy one in all respects. One of my younger client’s wife passed away. He was left rearing 3 beautiful daughters. Because he had the appropriate amount of life insurance, he can spend less time on his business endeavors and spend time with his daughters. He is in a difficult position but has financial freedom and options. He has spent time with his daughters traveling and making sure they focus on their education. He invited me to a family dinner where he let his daughters listen to our conversations. He said they need financial knowledge and I was the go-to person. He is such a great guy and well respected in his community. At his wife’s funeral, he introduced me to all his family and friends, as his “Money Guy”.
What is a recent purchase that you have made for your business?
A recent purchase was a course from Brian Tracey, whose material focuses on productivity and goal setting. I also invested in software and technology to make me more efficient.
What does the future hold for you and your firm? What are you most excited about?
I always anticipate where the services are going. I know many people will try to copy my model. Not many people dare to leave a profitable business to adopt this model. The media has commercials where people are not happy with their advisors and are tired of paying high fees. I get excited about the professional relationships I have, and the impact will make in people’s lives. it is very fulfilling.
What books have inspired would you recommend.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. My favorite authors include Warren Buffet, Nick Murray, Anthony Robbins, Ray Dalio, Jay Abraham, Ed Mylett, Brian Tracey, Tim Ferris, and Enzo Calamo.
What do you feel are the most important financial issues people have today?
Canadians rank money issues as being one of the issues where they experience stress. Canadians have many financial regrets which include not saving early enough, investing more, and spending less.
People want financial information that is real world, not strictly theoretical, outcome focused, and profitable.
People want to know what specific action they need to take, what is in their best interest, the benefit of doing it, the penalty for not and the best ways to move forward. People are looking for leadership for specific actions they need to take.
I work with people to develop a plan and identify their needs, using a proven methodology to keep people up to date, educated and informed about their financial future. I help clients achieve financial freedom. I have a network of independent professionals providing people with simple financial advice, trusted strategies, and quality solutions.