In the investment business, personal client relationships trump all else

Carson Ting | BCBusiness

Debra Hewson. CEO, Odlum Brown Ltd.

Debra Hewson started in the investment industry at the age of 22 and became the president and CEO of Odlum Brown Ltd. in 2007. When she started her career, it was all about building relationships with clients through personal interactions. Then, in the late 1990s, the rise of online transactions and cable business news networks opened up the field of investment knowledge to everyone. But Hewson, 55, still believes that despite these changes, some things have remained constant over 30 years of doing business.

My Big Idea

“In the investment business, personal client relationships trump all else.”

We need to have a relationship with our client that doesn’t solely rely on communicating via technology. Technology has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. And yes, we have made changes to leverage these developments, but that doesn’t replace sitting down with a client and having a frank and honest conversation about what their goals are and what they want to achieve. For us, it’s simply about building trust in a very basic way. As a society, we have become so reliant on technology that we forget there is a person with a life and unique goals behind that email. To me, finding the right balance between personal contact and leveraging technology is the real magic.