Patrick Canion (left) and Troy MacMillan

Perth-based financial planning firm The Wealth Designers and former ipac adviser Patrick Canion have teamed up to offer cross-jurisdictional advice and investment services to TWD’s high net worth clients, and to provide Canion with a base to continue to service his Australian clients.

Canion left the ipac and AMP fold in 2019, and decamped to Switzerland where he became an independent financial adviser under Swiss law, establishing a private client advisory business. But he has maintained close links with his Australian clients, and the venture with TWD builds on a relationship that is more than 20 years old.

It will see Canion providing advice to his own clients and to clients of TWD who require expert guidance on investing offshore and dealing with taxation issues in multiple jurisdictions. For TWD, it represents a significant value-added service for its wealthiest family and individual private clients.

Canion crossed paths with TWD founder and chief executive officer Troy MacMillan in late 2002 when MacMillan joined the financial advice industry with a licensee owned by AXA. The advice newbie was urged to meet Canion to get the lay of the advice land.

“I remember it very, very clearly for me at least, because he was the first person I met in financial advice,” MacMillan tells Professional Planner.

“We had a great chat, but it wasn’t limited to that first chat, and what I will always be grateful for was that Patrick was very giving of his time.”

The was crucial to MacMillan who says that he now appreciates that business owners don’t have excess time.

“He gave me a lot of his time, talked through exactly what to expect, the challenges and hurdles, and, you know, try not to reinvent the wheel, and here’s some tips of the trade and some secrets I’ll share with you, and so on,” MacMillan says.

“To be really honest with you, he was the only person who actually gave me time. We did go to a few other practices, and others I found just didn’t have the time. They gave you a 30-minute chat but didn’t have the follow-up part.”

Back to the start

In 2009 MacMillan set up The Wealth Designers and by 2011 he was being named Australian adviser of the year by the Association of Financial Advisers; followed by advice practice of the year by the Financial Planning Association in 2012; and for best practice by Professional Planner, in conjunction with consulting firm Business Health, in 2013. TWD would go on to win a string of other awards.

MacMillan says Canion’s approach to work together came out of the blue but was something they were able to quickly agree had legs.

“We had some really great chats initially, talked very broadly around things, what was happening in Switzerland, what his thoughts were for the future,” MacMillan says.

“He said he was coming to Perth, and when he gets to Perth it would be great to have a bigger chat. And that’s when we really sat down face to face, and chatted through what are the opportunities, and what it could look like going forward.”