Meet the Team: Evgeniya Pollock
An occasional blog series that introduces you to our Newport Private Wealth team members
Our Meet the Team series takes a closer look at the people behind Newport Private Wealth. Today, we’re highlighting Evgeniya Pollock, Vice President, Wealth Planning Group, who joined Newport in January 2023.
After almost seven years at Edward Jones, and five years running her own CPA consultancy, we talked to Evgeniya about coming to Canada from Kyrgyzstan at 18, what drives her passion for wealth planning, and how she navigates busy schedules at work and home.
You did your Master’s in Economics at the University of Toronto, but then shifted to accounting and financial planning. What sparked your interest in finance, and how did you embark on your journey towards wealth planning?
I had only been learning English for around one year when I got into university. Courses that required a lot of reading were hard at that point, so I took as many courses in math as I could. As much as I love math, the lack of practical applications felt unfulfilling. It wasn’t until I moved to accounting, and eventually financial planning, that I found my passion.
You liken the appeal of financial planning to solving puzzles. Can you elaborate on that and explain how the similarities help you find the best solutions for your clients?
Like Sherlock Holmes, whenever there’s a problem, I really enjoy finding all the different pieces and figuring out how they come together to solve it.
That’s financial planning for me. It’s about looking at something from various angles. Not just from a tax perspective, or saving, or investing. Not just from your lawyer’s point of view or your accountant’s, but all of them. What’s the best solution for you and your family, based on all the variables in your life?
What strategies does Newport employ to tailor financial advice to the unique needs of each client?
We look at the complexity of each client’s situation and try to pinpoint their specific needs. For example, a client may want to donate to their favourite charity or set up a Donor Advised Fund. Should they donate personally, or through a corporation? We review and compare tax savings opportunities, outline considerations around personal versus corporate donation, and eventually help lead them in the right direction based on their specific circumstances.
There’s a lot of education involved, providing clients with updates around tax law, the implications involved, and other things they should be considering.
We also do more holistic reviews where there isn’t just one situation or factor to consider, at which point we will often bring in other partners, like the client’s lawyer, accountant, or insurance specialist…all depending on the scope and the complexity of assets involved.
The key is that it’s not a cookie cutter approach. The planning and expectations vary from client to client. It’s a different puzzle every time.
Tell us more about your approach to leadership and how you foster strategy development and adaptation within your team.
As a leader, it’s important to have a strong understanding of what’s working and what’s not. Going back and doing regular postmortems, potentially flagging a specific strategy we tried to implement or steps we took and determining what we can do to make it better. It goes back to puzzles and strategy. Not all the pieces are going to fit the same way for each problem. You have to adapt according to the situation.
It’s also about developing new talent. We position the Wealth Planning team a little differently than other firms.
Newport provides the opportunity for younger colleagues to experience more than planning. This is a place where they can learn about specific planning scenarios and overall wealth planning strategies for affluent clients. At the same time, they may be chosen to pursue their CFA designations, making the potential transition to portfolio manager easier and more effective.
People just starting out may have a lot of theoretical knowledge they’ve newly obtained; being a part of our team early on helps them learn to ask the right questions and understand how to look at cases and apply the theoretical knowledge they’ve acquired.
What do you do outside of your work at Newport?
There are several committees here at Newport, but I like to say that outside of Newport, I’m on the Parent Committee. My husband (a lawyer) and I have three children, so they are my main focus at home.
I painted a lot before the children, and now it’s something that I do to relax. I have a fascination with military history, particularly the study of battles. To me, battles represent ultimate strategic planning, where the stakes are incredibly high. As Winston Churchill famously said: “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
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