For Ian Ardill, every day starts the same way: with him asking, “How do I create the greatest amount of value and respect for the people I am working with?”
It is a focus that comes from deep within him: in his previous career, he spent 15 years as a minister. Pastoring a church with an undergrad and master’s in Theology, he learned very distinctly that relationships with people must be put above anything else.
As Ian says, “There is nothing more joyful to me than developing a deep understanding of my client. What are their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations, what makes them fearful, what gets them excited – and then how do I walk with them through that journey, so I can create that greatest amount of value?”
At Ardill Group, creating that value is categorically a team approach. Ian’s experience leading teams as a pastor is put to very good use as a wealth advisor – in building an unmatched ecosystem of expertise for clients. It’s all about finding Just the right match for your money™ – on a number of levels. For example, the Ardill Group mission is to find just the right match of experts and solutions for their clients – clients who celebrate them for taking the time to carefully do so.
Ian also helps clients see their money differently. He helps them see a range of opportunities they did not previously know were available to them – again, finding them just the right match.
Now in the process of succeeding his father John, who has been a powerfully formative influence, Ian is the second generation of leadership at Ardill Group. Together, Ian and John have more than 50 years of experience advising their clients.
As Ian puts it, “Our reason for being is to walk our clients through their financial lives. Now it’s my job to continue that journey.”
With 40 years under his belt as a financial planner, you could say that John Ardill has some unambiguous points of view on his clients’ state of mind.
“People are in a place of being uncomfortable. They are bombarded by way too much information. It’s confusing. So our job is to help them be more confident in a turbulent world.”
Part of John’s approach is to do something radical in this day and age: slow things down, to provide Just the right match for your money. It’s right there in the Ardill Group mission: We take our time to find just the right match, of experts and solutions, for our clients.
Indeed, those clients rave about the intense due diligence John will conduct. As one says, “Before John puts you in an investment, he could think about it for six months. I don’t think there are many people who would spend that amount of time going over your portfolio.”
Or as John himself says, “We might take a client to three or four discretionary money managers and shop around. Who does that? Nobody, I don’t think.”
It’s a different approach driven by an overall independence from institutional thinking, which also manifests in the alternative, non-market-based investments that Ardill Group offers and which clients appreciate so much.
Over the years, John has finely tuned his ability to take complicated strategies and make them easy for clients to understand – another way in which he boosts their confidence. As he says, “We love showing them their financial picture on a single sheet of paper.”
John is a mentor to his son Ian, now the second generation of leadership at Ardill Group. Not surprisingly, the two men have much in common. But according to clients, one thing stands out: the tremendous trust those clients have in them.
It is a recognition that did not materialize by chance. As John and Ian put it, “We believe that earning – and keeping – our clients’ trust is the ultimate accomplishment.”
Darlene has more than 20 years of extensive insurance knowledge and client service skills – and a meticulous attention to detail – that ensure smooth operation of our busy work environment.
Before joining Ardill Group, she worked at both the carrier and broker levels of the insurance industry. Through more than 12 years in her current role, Darlene has been proud to work with clients through the different seasons of their lives – though succession plans, through retirement plans and then through the plans of clients’ children, friends and colleagues.
“To know that our clients are referring others to us, it shows how much they trust us. They know that we’re here to help. No question is too small or too big. We’re here to walk with them through their financial lives, every step of the way.”
Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, Alex recalls a beautiful, fun childhood of warm beaches and warm people. There were physical dangers to avoid, but her loving parents would always make her feel secure, and rooted her in her faith in God. And there was the financial insecurity that comes from hyperinflation.
Think we have high inflation in Canada? Can you imagine living with 50-60% inflation (as Alex did in the 1990s) or even 1,000,000% (that is not a typo) in 2018?
Suffice to say, it was very difficult to get ahead in those conditions – so Alex’s parents were business owners who worked not just hard, but smart. Her mother owned visual health clinics; her father a range of businesses including gas stations and warehouses. They instilled in Alex a self-starting attitude that has driven her to this day. At 19, she enrolled in law school in Venezuela. Upon graduation, recognizing the challenge of lawyering honestly in her home country, she went to Spain for an MBA.
She then returned to Venezuela to run a visual health clinic founded by her mother, and, in 2015, came to Canada, where she began her new life as an assistant to optometrists from whom clients were walking away due to wait times.
“I said ‘You can easily shorten those wait times. You just have to do it this way.’” It was Alex applying the adaptive instincts she had honed in her home country, where finding creative solutions was a matter of survival. It is the same positive attitude she brings to her work here at Ardill Group.
“I bring that creativity to work every minute. I am always looking for the best and fastest way to do or improve something. I am constantly figuring out how to make things flow and be absolutely the most efficient.”
No wonder that the brand foundation element Alex identifies with most strongly is our fanaticism about consistent service. As she puts it, “Physical and financial health are so similar. People want to know they are in steady hands. It really is all about feeling secure.”
Outside of work, Alex loves cooking (Venezuelan food in particular) and has played tennis since age eight – but with a laugh, describes her husband and children as her favourite hobby.
The Ardill Group core purpose is To walk with our clients through their financial lives. For Sarah Ardill, joining the firm in 2020 was the latest step on a path she’s been walking since childhood.
She grew up in a pastor’s home. It was always busy with people: people coming and going, people staying awhile for support. So she grew up learning how to serve and support others.
“We were always having families into our home, walking with them through the ups and downs of life. So it was instilled in me, from my earliest years, that there was more to life than just looking after yourself.”
This care for others led Sarah to attain her social work diploma at Seneca College. Afterwards she worked at a hospice and a pregnancy centre, running programs and providing counselling. As she puts it, after a few years in the workforce, she made a change to “focus on the greatest task of all – raising our three incredible children.” She is a very creative cook and loves to bake for her kids, whom she sometimes takes to nursing homes to visit seniors. To join them on their walk.
With the children approaching 9 to 12 years of age, Sarah was looking for a new challenge – so she joined Ardill Group to provide back office support. “I love the work and especially our core purpose,” she says. It’s a natural progression for the person I’ve always been.”