Danny Popescu: Interview With Harbourfront Wealth Management’s Founder

Danny Popescu, CEO of Harbourfront Wealth Management, speaks to the largest audience to date at the independent firm’s annual Leaders Forum conference.

Danny Popescu is the founder and CEO of Harbourfront Wealth Management, a leading Canadian investment firm that is committed to opening up opportunities for clients beyond traditional asset classes.

Popescu and his team are focused on bringing pension-type investment vehicles, such as private real estate, to retail investors in Canada, which large financial institutions have traditionally preferred to offer cookie-cutter options. Since its founding in 2013, Harbourfront’s enterprise value has grown from $11 million to $425 million and the firm wants to take that value to $1.5 billion in 5 years.

Recently, Danny Popescu shared his insights with Entrepreneurship Life in a conversation focused on how a positive work environment contributes to his company’s reputation and success.

Q: As a Leader, What are Some of the Ways You Create a Positive Environment for Your Team?

Danny Popescu:
I think the first step is to acknowledge that we are, in fact, a team. Harbourfront is a group effort: We share in successes, and we contribute to that success as a team. We play to the strengths of each individual, and that means taking the time to understand the unique talents of each person, and identifying the optimal role for every employee, every manager. That’s the way you create broad satisfaction, a positive environment, and a productive one.

And part of that is, as a leader, you take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the work your people are doing. You can’t be a blue-skies manager all the time, but you must try to accentuate the positive wherever you can, whenever you can.

We allow advisors and employees the flexibility they need to succeed. We give them space to be proactive and to choose the best path to achieve a particular goal. And we emphasize the importance of helping each other at every stage. When you can balance all these principles effectively, your company’s prospects are limitless.

Q: Is Transparency Part of the Process of Assembling a Winning Team?

Danny Popescu:
Yes, absolutely. We put a great deal of emphasis on transparency, collaboration, and relationship-building. I have an open-door policy, and people know they can bring issues directly to me without following a rigid protocol. I encourage our whole leadership team to take this down-to-earth approach. When you don’t have that type of management style, you rarely get the type of results you want—or think you will get.

Q: Does a Positive Work Environment Make it Easier to Recruit Qualified People?

Danny Popescu:
Definitely. The better the workplace environment, the greater the chance that people will want to work for you—and work with you.

There is a balance, of course, and I wouldn’t want to leave the impression that a leader must turn the office into a spa. And the boss can’t be your best friend. There are times when shortcomings need to be pointed out, so that the underlying issues can be addressed, and mistakes don’t recur. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that.

In addition, a good leader must sometimes vary the leadership style based on the situation. The collaborative approach has its limits.

Q: Are There Some Other Ways you Attract and Keep Top Talent?

Danny Popescu:
Beyond doing our best to create a positive company work environment, we also believe in investing in people. One example is our Employee Stock Option Program, which we call the Grow Together Program. We grow together, achieve together, and have fun setting goals and surpassing them.

There’s a whole range of similar things we do to support our people and set them up for success. We know we’re on the right track when we hear colleagues say they wish they’d made the move to Harbourfront years ago. That tells me we have succeeded in giving advisors and employees the tools they need to thrive.

One other key factor that I definitely want to mention is that we reward ideas. We encourage our people to create new and innovative ways to achieve goals—to think outside the box or outside the bank.

We are a financial services company, but more than that; we’re an idea factory. I’ve learned that by producing more ideas, the higher likelihood that a company can nurture those ideas into something great and increase the company’s level of achievement. Beyond that, it’s just more fun to work in a place where creativity is valued, and every idea has the potential to transform not only our company, but also the financial services industry as a whole.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.