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Nightmare at the Courtice office
May 2, 2020
2:25 pm
courticeguy
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Would like to hear from anyone who uses the Courtice branch. Can you believe an advisor left during the recent market meltdown, leaving clients portfolios the free fall with no option to reach another advisor, resulting in losses. To date, I have already spoken with 6 clients who are not very happy with what went on (all with the same advisor). Some want to group together and take legal action, several others are seeking third party advice, and a few are voicing their concerns on deaf ears.
If you have been a client at the Courtice branch, we would love to hear from you, and perhaps as a group we will all get some satisfaction and get Meridian to take accountability for this nightmare.

May 2, 2020
4:49 pm
Save2Retire@55
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Sorry for the experience. I don't think you will find anyone here. At least the active members all know what they are doing. We are here because we don't like neither advisors nor advisers.

But I have some questions. When the crash happened couldn't these clients move their money themselves? I am just asking cause I don't know. Usually with all Mutual Funds I dealt with in the past I could go online and move them around.

Good Luck.

May 3, 2020
10:16 am
Norman1
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Meridian does not actually sell mutual funds. Those advisors in the branches seem to be embedded reps of Credential Asset Management or Credential Securities.

As Save2Retire@55 mentioned, am I expected to believe that one could not have logged into one's Credential Asset Management or Credential Securities online account and clicked a sell button?

It is also not clear to me how one would have avoided the losses by selling after the markets melted down. Were the remaining Credential advisors calling their clients the week before the meltdown and recommending to sell?

May 3, 2020
12:20 pm
AltaRed
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To my knowledge, pure advisory based investment accounts do not let clients take any buy/sell actions in their accounts.

There is sometimes a middle option where advisers make recommendations on a fee only, or retainer basis, and the client executes (or not) the recommendations.

May 3, 2020
1:33 pm
courticeguy
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Altared is correct in that the so called "professional" gives the advice, and if the client wants to trade, you have to call the "professional. I can't speak for how the other clients are set up. From what I have heard from the others, is that they too could not reach the "professional" during the meltdown, and it was only when the new "professional" called in a panic to find out how we wanted to proceed, and to let us know that our "rep has left the building.".

May 3, 2020
3:28 pm
Kidd
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CourticeGuy.

When you called Meridian, did you reach a voice mail? Did you state your intentions or concerns at that time? (George, the market is going crazy, sell everything i have. Please call me back. It's Courtice Guy, 905 123 4567.) The voice mail you left, will have been time stamped and kept for security and training reasons.

That recording is all the proof you need. Meridian will have to act on your request, back dated to the day you made your plea.

May 3, 2020
8:47 pm
GICinvestor
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Ultimately the onus is 100% responsible for your investment is Meridian.
They should have a plan in place in the event of some one that leaves or is terminated.
The head ache should be on the CEO and you clients should help it to become a migraine.
Class action sounds good.
Well thought out questions on their business model and contingency plans would be a good start.
Keep in mind you are clients of Meridian and not the advisor/adviser and if other clients with an advisor/adviser are are being taken care of better than you then you have a stronger case.

Keep in mind it takes a special kind of person to take your money, invest it, have the knowledge to get the best return for you and have no conscience if it goes south. I have never been an advocate of using an adviser/advisor at the FI level. And this one that bailed out may have a conscience, possibly depression or anxiety and will never return to this type of job or be hired for this type of job.

So the situation sits with Meridian. I wish you the best of luck.

May 5, 2020
1:29 am
Loonie
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I would have taken it up with the branch manager. What goes on in the branch is their responsibility.

I can only speak for my own branch, but I know that manager would have fixed the problem quickly. She has gone out of her way for me in the past.

May 5, 2020
6:19 pm
Norman1
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As far as the mutual funds are concerned, the affected Meridian members are not clients of Meridian. Meridian Credit Union is not a licensed mutual fund dealer.

Their mutual fund advisor was actually representing a mutual fund dealer called Credential Asset Management Inc. This is the fine print at the bottom of Meridian's page about mutual funds:

Mutual funds are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc. Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Credential Securities, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. … Unless otherwise stated, mutual fund securities and cash balances are not insured nor guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc. NEI Investments is a registered trademark of Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P. Northwest & Ethical Investments Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aviso Wealth Inc. (“Aviso”). Aviso is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aviso Wealth Limited Partnership (“Aviso Wealth LP”), which in turn is owned 50% by Desjardins Financial Holdings Inc. (“Desjardins”) and 50% by a limited partnership owned by the five Provincial Credit Union Centrals (the “Centrals”) and the CUMIS Group Limited.

The Meridian branch may not be willing to pay up for the screw-up of a former Credential rep, who may have just been renting space in the branch.

Not sure why there was such a screw-up. My rep at one mutual fund dealer had left. I found out one day when I called. The receptionist informed me the person was no longer a rep and asked if I would like to speak with the rep now assigned to my account.

May 6, 2020
12:51 pm
Loonie
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It's the same with insurance reps. If your guy leaves, nobody tells you until the next appointee calls you or you have occasion to call them.

However, Meridian is responsible in two ways.

First, it is their reps who normally refer you to the in-house investment person - and with some enthusiasm in my experience as I seem to have trouble getting rid of them. I believe, but am not sure, that these people are listed on the Meridian website, or at least they used to be.

Second, the branch manager is responsible for whatever goes on inside their branch. Whatever happens there affects the Meridian brand's reputation , the branch manger's reputation, and, ultimately , their job performance. The branches all have a very local clientele and they don't want the word to get around that they are not reliable.

Thus, while Credential may be technically separate, I would still have headed to the manger's office early in this process. At my branch at least, I know she would have acted swiftly.

May 6, 2020
3:54 pm
Save2Retire@55
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Loonie - I am just curious what would you expect if this happened to you? Sounds like this client expected the advisor to act on their behalf and sell before the big sell-off (which will rebound in less than a year IMHO) which they didn't.
Do you expect Meridian's manager to cover all the loss $? Sell at today's price and top up the difference? Let's say they had $1M. They lost 30%. $300K. Should Meridian's manager pay them $300K? How would it work? I am just curious what the expectation is? Or if you were the branch manager, what would you do the make the client happy but be fair to both parties?

May 6, 2020
10:42 pm
Loonie
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I must admit I am a bit unclear about precisely what happened in this instance - dates, times, amounts etc.

I don't deal in these kinds of investments, but if I needed urgent action from someone working at my Meridian branch and couldn't get hold of them I would not hesitate to call the branch manager. I would expect her to find me a route to do what I urgently required.

I say this in part because my branch manager has gone above and beyond to problem solve for me in the past. I had an urgent problem with motus and couldn't get hold of anyone there who could resolve it. So I called my Meridian manager in desperation as I know they operate out of the same building centrally and that Meridian owns motus. She had it solved within the day. Managers have access to lots more people in the system than we do, and they know who to contact.

I mentioned this in part because OP doesn't mention ever having talked to the Courtice branch manager, which seems to me a logical step. It was not so much that I had a specific outcome in mind, just that I would have expected the manager to take swift action, and that's where I would have turned. There had to have been someone somewhere who could step in and make the transaction, and it's the manager's job to locate such a person IMO. If the advisor had been on vacation etc., there would surely have been someone as back-up, and this is not much different in my view.

May 7, 2020
6:42 am
Save2Retire@55
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And that's the main issue. I don't think the OP tried to reach out to anyone until it was too late. Their expectation was for their advisor to do all the work on their behalf without informing them. Or that's what I understood maybe I am wrong.

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