Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 24, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Nicola Wealth Management Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- Nicola Wealth Management helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance and RSP contributions, and offers phased-in work options for employees nearing retirement
- Nicola Wealth Management cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees -- and lets everyone share in the fruits of their labour with profit-sharing
- Nicola Wealth Management supports a number of local, national and international charitable initiatives each year and encourages employees to give back to the community with paid time off to volunteer and matching employee donations
Culture breeds success at Nicola Wealth Management
Before Faye Fitzgerald joined Nicola Wealth Management Ltd. (NWM) in Vancouver, she did her homework to learn more about the company.
"It struck me as a well-managed business," she says. "It had won awards for its performance and its culture. It gives back to the community through charitable activities. It's grown incredibly over the last few years. And it has a lot of long-term employees, which is always a good sign."
Now an administrative assistant at the company, Fitzgerald had lived in Canada for less than a year when she landed her job. But with a bachelor's degree in business from Limerick University in Ireland, and eight years in the hospitality industry as she pursued her education, she knew what to look for in a potential employer.
Fitzgerald's observations are music to the ears of David Sung, NWM's President. Several years ago, NWM hired a consultant to interview employees about their ideal corporate culture. The consultant also asked employees if NWM measured up to their ideals.
"At the time, we saw a gap between where we were and where we wanted to be," says Sung.
The consultant also pointed out that firms with the best culture and most engaged, satisfied employees also recorded the best financial performance. "So we set out to create a culture that lived up to our employees' ideals," Sung says.
To show its appreciation of employees' ongoing contribution to the firm's success, the firm offers a share-purchase plan that has raised to seven the number of shareholders within the organization.
NWM also offers an industry-leading profit-sharing program with no capped upside, so that employees can participate directly and fully in the company's success. In addition, the company provides employees with retirement-planning assistance and RSP contributions, and offers phased-in work options for employees nearing retirement.
NWM supports a number of local, national and international charitable initiatives every year and encourages employees to give back to the community by matching employee donations and providing paid time off for volunteer activities.
As Fitzgerald can attest, NWM has achieved its objective. Its employees feel engaged in the company's success, and its performance proves it. For more than 10 years, NWM has grown by an average of 25 per cent a year. With offices in Vancouver, Kelowna and Richmond in B.C. as well as Toronto, the company's staff has expanded from 20 employees to 147 employees, and its assets under management have increased to almost $5 billion from $300 million.
Through the firm's profit-sharing program, employees have received as much as 33 per cent a year of their annual base salary. "We value the contribution that people make to our success," says Sung. "Satisfied employees are engaged employees."
For Fitzgerald, NWM's profit-sharing program "shows how much the company appreciates its employees. You have everything here that you need to succeed."
That includes financial support for continuing education and "a professional, sophisticated, competent working environment."
NWM has taken the same innovative approach to investment management as it has to its corporate culture, diversifying its holdings in a similar way to pension funds to reduce risk and volatility while generating impressive returns.
"We try to be innovative in our industry," says Sung. "The people who work here are always looking for ways to help us improve our products, services and processes."
Today, Nicola Wealth Management receives almost 90 applications for every available job. "We look for people who think like a business owner and who attract other like-minded people to the firm," says Sung. "At the end of the day, employees tend to be the best recruiters of new employees."