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Brian R. Machan

A Helping Hand

Brian R. Machan, CFP, is close by when you need a partner to help with insurance, investments, mortgages and even taxes.

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For some of us, investments and insurance is nothing more than a bunch of jumbled numbers and words, but that is why there are Certified Financial Planners like Brian Machan. Even if you are comfortable in dealing with your personal finances, he can still partner with you to increase your wealth and reduce your income tax bill. He is also a mortgage agent and tax preparer.

Machan grew up in Huron County and had previously worked for TD Canada Trust and RBC Royal Bank before branching out as an independent financial planner. Machan says he realized that he could better service his clients’ financial needs working independently rather than as an advisor for a financial institution. In January 2009, he opened an office at 406 Queen Street in Blyth to service the needs of the local region. The office is open on Monday and Tuesday during the income tax season and by appointment during the rest of the year. His hours of operation are flexible to work with the needs of his clients.

As an independent financial planner, Machan can incorporate a “comprehensive holistic approach” to analyzing a client’s financial position. “I take a tiered approach where there are five levels we need to address,” explains Machan, “Those five levels are knowledge, security, taxation, investment and distribution. I want to make sure that we have everything in place so that my clients and their future generations can reap the benefits of my client’s hard work, as opposed to the government.” When he worked for the banks, Machan says he noticed that many of these levels were skipped simply because legally, or due to bank compliance, bank advisors are not allowed to cover them.

Even though Machan treats all of his clients with the same level of respect, he does not recommend the same solution to everyone. He understands that each client is unique and he works with them to reach the best solution for their needs. This does not mean a generalized 15 to 30 minute meeting. It means whatever time it takes to completely understand the background information or current situation; it could be an hour, or two or multiple meetings. Machan believes in building an ongoing partnership with his clients so that a mutual level of trust can be established. “I have a vested interest in growing my client’s wealth. If I’m not doing my job and providing regular follow ups, then I can easily be replaced by the thousands of other advisors willing to fill the role. Client service is something I always focus on,” says Machan.

Part of Machan’s investment strategy is his T.R.E.K. analysis, “It’s basically what I use to determine where you are and what solution is appropriate.” The “T” is for time horizon – how long do we have until we reach our goal? “R” is for risk tolerance – how comfortable are you with market volatility? “E” is for experience – what type of returns or advice have you received in the past? And the “K” is for knowledge – are you aware of different investment products and how global events impact your portfolio? “To me, knowledge is power. The more knowledgeable you are, the better questions you can ask and when you ask better questions, you’ll get better answers. That makes you more informed and therefore you can make more sound investment decisions as opposed to what someone is just telling you to purchase.”

Machan has access to financial products offered at several insurance, investment and mortgage companies. This ensures that his clients have the best solution at the best price. Compensation is dependent on the solution being implemented or the service being rendered. This may result in a commission paid by the product provider or as a fee for service paid for by the client.

In the past, Machan has held free information seminars on financial planning topics in his Blyth office. For 2010, he also implemented a relationship discount program. If a client holds multiple products or services with him such as investments, insurance and/or mortgages (depending on the size of the accounts), he will give them a discount on their income tax return, “Some of my clients will actually have their income taxes done for free as a result of the program,” says Machan.

Just as other businesses rely on local consumers, so does Machan. Since the nature of his business is very mobile, he also has clients all over Southwestern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. But when he comes home to do business in Huron County, he really does keep it local, “When I’m here in Blyth, everything I do whether it’s printing of flyers or purchasing supplies, I do it from local merchants because we all work together that way. Small towns have always supported each other.”

Machan’s advice for investors is, “Do your homework! Before you purchase a product you need to know where you stand today and how the purchase will impact you. Don’t settle on the first option just because a computer model suggests it’s for you. Make sure you’ve actually been able to shop the market and get the best product at the best price. I don’t work for any organization I work for my clients and can make sure we search the market to do exactly that.” The office of Brian R. Machan, CFP, is located at 406 Queen Street, Blyth. Feel free to call and set up an appointment 1-877-575-9793