By Drew Finerty
Welcome to Colwood Shores Financial! My name is Drew Finerty, Founder, President and Financial Advisor at our family boutique investment services firm located on the Westshore of Victoria, British Columbia. With this, my first experience in Social Media, I thought I would start by sharing my story and how I came to operate Colwood Shores Financial.
I grew up in the Victoria core, as one of five children to an Irish immigrant, Father, a Pharmaceutical Rep, and Prairie-girl Dell, a stay-at-home Mom. My business career began soon after graduating from Reynolds High School in 1975 when I joined a Vancouver Island Soccer League team called DaVinci FC. The player-coach was my high school Math teacher and soccer coach and he offered me a job as a Drywaller. A few years later, one of my longest friends (and current client) who was also working as a Drywaller and I began operating our own company. It didn’t take long for us to both decide drywalling was going to take a toll on our bodies, and so, in 1979 we both moved to the lower mainland in search of sunnier shores. I wanted to be a sportswriter and took a stringer job at a North Van newspaper and he accepted a soccer scholarship at SFU.
By 1980, I had moved into the Display Advertising department at the newspaper, while I continued covering the local sports teams in my after-hours time including evenings and weekends. As an Ad Rep, I learned the roles of sales, marketing, and operating a business, as well as, enjoying creative time designing ad campaigns and learning some photography skills. Soon after the birth of my first son Dustin (now, Colwood Shores Communications Director), I made the decision to return home to the island in 1984.
In 1986 I joined the Times Colonist to continue my Advertising career and it was there that I first took an interest in Investing. I’m not ashamed to say that at 31 years old I didn’t know what an RRSP was; but I kept hearing my older colleagues discussing their plans at the start of every year, better known then as “RRSP Season.” Not wanting to show my ignorance, I spent a few years listening to these vets talk about money and saving for retirement.
It was about this time in 1988 when my wife Shelley and I purchased our first home in Colwood. Growing up in the city, it was a bit odd to find myself in the Western Communities, but we felt at home there and spent the next 20 years raising our three, now grown-up children.
As luck would have it, when we moved into our new home, we received a package from the Neighbourhood Welcome Wagon that included a Complimentary Financial Analysis with one of the largest Financial firms in Canada. I thought this was a good time to discover what retirement planning was all about, and how I could start to create financial security for my family. That was the beginning of what became a lifelong passion: saving & investing. I learned quickly what an RRSP was and how it could save me taxes while planning for retirement. At that time, I had a pension and learned that a Spousal RRSP would be a great benefit to our portfolio, as Shelley was now at home with the kids and not earning an income. Investing into a plan for her taught us how to take advantage of income splitting and again, save taxes. At the same time, we opened an RESP to save money for the kids to continue their post-secondary educations.
In 1990, our Advisor approached me with the idea of joining his firm to help spread the word about financial independence. He pegged me as a person with a wide circle of relationships and the ability to market myself. My colleagues at the newspaper & friends thought I was crazy to give up a secure paycheck and a pension to become a self-employed contractor in the finance industry but during my journey of financial discovery I had learned so much, and I wanted to share that knowledge with others. Ironically, some of those same people became my first clients.
To be honest, those early days in the business were incredibly challenging, but with the support of my family, friends, and a few mentors at the firm, I made a new career for myself. I spent ten years with that firm, learning the industry, acquiring my designation, and improving my personal income and net worth. By 1994, I had been promoted to Division Manager and became responsible for recruiting and training a team of Advisors. Teaching others is a great way to learn and give back to my community. Now in my early 40’s, I led a team of 12 Advisors and was part of the Management Team.
During the mid-late nineties Roller hockey was a new sport and our kids loved it. Where we once played street hockey old school (on foot) when we were kids, this generation found a better way to get around, on roller blades. Our two boys were already playing ice hockey and pleaded with me to find some off-ice competition during the off-season for them and their friends to keep their game up…except on wheels.
Through my relationships, I approached a local sporting goods store and presented the idea of partnering to create a league for kids to play in the spring, once the ice came out of the local rinks. By 2000, we had turned a family hobby into a growing business with over 500 kids and 400 adults enjoying the game of Roller Hockey. They bought a lot of equipment through my friend’s store and we competed against other communities around the province and the world including hosting teams from California.
Over time I added other contracts to my Sports Management & Marketing business and for the next 13 years, we operated a one-of-a-kind family business, culminating with my final sports contract; developing a professional Soccer Organization as GM of the Victoria Highlanders Football Club, competing across North America in the United Soccer Leagues (USL). After building out the program with a Men’s and Women’s First Team, along with a development program; I made the decision to step down in order to have a more balanced lifestyle.
After taking some time to consider my next chapter, I realized that I still had a passion for helping people save and invest; accepting an offer to join a local Credit Union in 2013 and re-instating my investment license.
I had never worked in banking before, but my experience as a Financial Advisor was a great fit for the team at the Colwood office, my home branch. Now as a Senior Advisor, my role included mentoring staff and newly licensed Advisors about the Investment industry. I also had a mostly dormant book of clients that I grew from $10 Million in assets to $50 Million over my time there while working with the Branch Manager to train and educate the team about financial services and products. In 2014 we were awarded “Branch of the Year” for reaching and breaking milestones at the Credit Union, an accomplishment that I am very proud of.
By 2018 I had come to realize that there was more that I wanted to accomplish in my field and felt that there were other ways that I could better serve and deepen my relationships with my clients and so I made the decision to go back into business for myself, opening Colwood Shores Financial in July of 2018. It was the best career decision for me at the time and has worked out tremendously well. I now have a great client base that I am able to better serve and that allows me to keep a healthier work-family lifestyle. I have been blessed with the right number of “advise-seeking” clients that rely on my professional experience in managing their financial portfolios.
As well, I was fortunate to again be able to work with family as our daughter Jill left her full-time job at a busy investment firm to join the business as Administration Manager before ultimately accepting a position at a downtown firm that manages pensions in BC. My son, Dustin has now also joined the company as our Communications Manager and quickly added the Admin role to his duties in addition to studying for the investment exam to become an Advisor as well.
In the fall of 2019, my former colleague, Jennifer Frederiksen-Browne, along with her 20+ years of banking experience, joined the firm to round out our team. Jennifer also holds an Insurance license and provides our clients with Life, Critical Illness and Disability insurance needs.
We now have a holistic team offering financial services to individuals, families and small businesses.
We operate a firm that respects the needs & goals of each client and offers them solutions from experienced Advisors who keep it simple. If you and your family, or business have financial concerns, we would love to be your local financial team. We take the time to understand your objectives, risk tolerances and time horizons to meet your goals, over the short to long term. We can help you with a variety of financial issues in your daily life like paying too much tax, saving for a home, education, or planning for retirement and protecting your estate. We offer a complimentary discovery meeting to identify your current position and to learn more about your objectives.
Contact us today by phone or email to arrange a time to meet either by phone, video or in person, at an appropriate time.
Welcome and thank you for considering Colwood Shores Financial. We’re here to serve.