In session: our first MD Physician Council meeting

           

This fall, I had the distinct honour and privilege of stepping into the role of CEO at MD Financial Management (MD).

In my 20 years at MD, I’ve passionately supported MD’s mission as the only national financial firm dedicated exclusively to Canada’s physicians — now wholly embraced by our brand-new MD Physician Council (the Council). I had the pleasure of kicking off the inaugural meeting of this nine-member panel in Ottawa in late October.

The Council was founded earlier this year to engage our clients in helping us ensure MD’s products and services are aligned to what Canada’s doctors want and need. Its members will convene every four months to discuss the services MD offers while exploring current issues affecting Canadian physicians.

If the first meeting is any indication of the discussions to come, we certainly have an insightful year ahead. The group is passionate, eager, and willing to share personal experiences and opinions — including what their own biggest financial goals are and what obstacles are in the way to achieving them.

Here are some highlights from that first meeting in Ottawa:

Exploring what Canadian physicians want 

According to the group, key priorities for Canadian doctors include feeling empowered to contribute to their communities, embracing new life experiences, and staying healthy in body and mind. We also heard a lot about the value of being able to achieve financial peace of mind both in the near term, as a key element to reducing stress and allowing physicians to attend to patients, and for looking into the future when stethoscopes are hung up for the last time.

Better financial decisions throughout each life stage create the freedom to pursue these goals. Physicians are looking to MD to help them get there, especially given their lack of time — which is described as a major barrier.

Where MD can help

Given that time is such a constraint in the medical profession, it’s not surprising that finding time savings proved a key theme of the Council meeting. Members mentioned the importance of having one reliable source of well-priced, individualized services, so that physicians don’t spend time they don’t have searching out and comparing options elsewhere.

In addition, we heard:

  • Personalized, transparent communication is a must-have, with easy access to MD Advisors* by phone and timely responses being critical.
  • Continuity of Advisors is highly valued among the group, along with any other means of ensuring consistent, personalized service. When a change of Advisors is necessary — for example, when a physician moves — the group flagged the value of finding ways to reduce the need to repeat information and goals to new MD staff.
  • Access to specialists is important, including being able to speak with tax experts, accountants and mortgage specialists. Efficient information-sharing among all of a physician’s service providers — even those outside of MD — was also considered valuable. (For example, connecting an MD Advisor with a physician’s tax consultant to provide clarity on investments.) 
  • Educational opportunities are important to professionals who know a thing or two about ongoing education. Toward this end, they look forward to more learning opportunities, like the MD Learning Lounge launched last month. 

Clearly, there is plenty to unpack here. First and foremost, I’d like to thank our MD Physician Council members for such a rich and candid discussion. In the coming months, our teams will examine themes that arise from the Council and deepen our understanding and ability to continuously provide tangible solutions.

In the meantime, we've had a lot of interest in how physicians can contact the Council and we’re happy to report you can do so by sending an email to MDPhysicianCouncil@md.ca. Representation on the Council is based on diversity by life stage rather than regional representation. Your questions and comments sent through this email address will be distributed to all members of the Council.  

 

* MD Advisor refers to an MD Management Limited Financial Consultant or Investment Advisor (in Quebec).

About the Author

Daniel Labonté

Daniel Labonte is President and Chief Executive Officer of MD Financial Management.

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