Greatway News Update: Note that the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has recently alleged in November 2022 that Greatway Financial Inc. is potentially committing deceptive business acts.
Greatway reached a settlement with FSRA, and all agents are supposed to complete revised training by March 31, 2023. Hopefully, this will better prepare the company’s life insurance agents for compliance and protect the consumer from predatory sales practices.
Many of you have asked me to review Greatway Financial. This is likely because you are either interested in becoming an advisor with them or considering buying some of their products.
You might have heard some rumours that you should stay away from the company. You may also be curious about their business model and whether Greatway Financial is a scam.
In today’s review, we’ll go over my research on what it is like to be an advisor or client of Greatway Financial. To get it out of the way quickly, though, no, Greatway Financial is not a scam.
They offer legitimate products through their insurance partners, and, as an advisor, pay is based on commission rates from those partners.
But things may be a little more complicated than that. So please keep reading to find out my thoughts about this company.
Managing General Agency
An company that provides insurance and investment products in Canada, using a MLM method of recruiting advisors and getting customers.
- Potential to make a good income
- Training materials that would apply to many functions in the business world
- Some report a friendly and community-based working environment
- Might be high pressure to recruit other associates and to sell products
- Potential damage to existing relationships while trying to pitch the company
- No guaranteed income or consistent salary
- Might be a conflict of interest to sell you products that may not suit your needs in hopes of making a commission
What Is Greatway Financial?
Greatway Financial is a financial services organization focused on financial independence, growth, and wealth advising. They offer their clients things such as life and disability insurance, mortgage protection, travel insurance, critical illness protection, business insurance, and final expense insurance.
In short, they assess your holistic financial situation and offer products and education to help you get where you’d like to be.
You can become involved with Greatway Financial in both client and advisor capacities. As an advisor, your job is to sell products to clients. You will get compensated mainly in the form of commissions from those products.
In order to do this, you also have access to training and education, as well as other perks such as bonuses and travel and event benefits.
As a client, on the other hand, you will have a specific advisor that you work with on an ongoing basis who will have mostly presented to you and gotten you on board with Greatway’s products in the first place.
In terms of values, Greatway Financial’s website, blog, and advisors repeatedly mention happiness, family, and God.
Greatway Financial operates within the framework of a multi-level marketing (MLM) business model, a model that is both criticized and revered in various sectors. MLMs are not inherently negative; their success and ethicality depend on how they are implemented. We’ll go over that in more detail below.
Before getting into a detailed review of their services and advising, let’s go over the company’s background to better understand who they are and where they came from.
Greatway Financial, as it is today, was founded in 2010. However, the company’s business model, advisors, and CEO have been around for much longer than that.
Here is the timeline: Marlon Antonio, the current CEO, “lead-mentor,” and founder of Greatway Financial, was a former worker at World Financial Group (WFG) for more than four years.
You may already know that WFG is a multi-level marketing company specializing in savings, insurance, and retirement products. They have been around since the early 2000s, but it is unclear how long Antonio has been working for them before becoming their CEO.
In 2008, Marlon Antonio left WFG to set up Greatlife Financial in Calgary, Alberta. He describes this experience as an “independent financial advisor managing a small team of financial advisors” on his LinkedIn page.
Eventually, in 2010, Greatlife Financial rebranded into Greatway Financial as a Managing General Agency (MGA) with some 60 advisors.
Note that an MGA is a specialized type of insurance agent or broker that is 100% vested with underwriting authority from an insurer. Since then, they have grown to have more than 3,500 independent financial/insurance advisors.
Similarly to WFG, Greatway Financial operates as a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, where its advisors set up Associate General Agencies (AGA). Through these, the advisors manage the associates they recruit and earn a portion of their sales.
Greatway Financial is currently headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, within a 36,000-square-foot property.
Greatway Financial is not a scam. I know that many people will think of them to be a pyramid scheme, which is an illegal investment strategy where new recruits provide funding for the company.
Greatway Financial is also not a pyramid scheme. Instead, the company operates within a multi-level marketing scheme, which is legal and regulated by governing bodies in Canada.
With that being said, just because what they are doing is legal does not necessarily make them a good partner for you in your financial journey. In my opinion, legality is the bare minimum.
The right question to perhaps be asking is whether the company and its advisors have your best interest and whether their operations are fair.
A good way to answer this question would be through education and research from an unbiased standpoint.
This way, you can find out the facts objectively and without the persuasion tactics of advisors who are already within the company and, ultimately, interested in earning a commission both by recruiting you as an advisor or by selling products.
It is true that if you choose to join the company as an agent, you will have the chance to become licensed to sell products and make an earning.
Most of the reviews I have found online of existing advisors are positive, and many of the current advisors speak on the “family nature” of the workplace. Some, on the other hand, speak on the difficulty of acquiring clients and problems with inclusion.
I will speak on my opinions regarding MLM-structured companies later in this post. But, first, we’ll go over whether you should become a Greatway Financial client or advisor by doing a review of the company’s offerings in both of these channels.
How Much Money Can You Earn at Greatway Financial?
I wasn’t able to find exact numbers for compensation like I was with my WFG review.
However, if it’s in line with what others earn at similar MLM types of companies, the pay might be below the industry standard.
I’ll do an example of the contract levels, which is the number of commissions you can earn for say something like life insurance. If you can have a contract level of 100%, you will earn 100% of the first-year commissions on top of what your commission structure is.
For example, WFG (another MLM company on which Greatway based its business model) pays a 36% contract level for the associates.
When I first started out as a life insurance broker, I had an 80% contract level to start, and it increased to 140% near the end of my time as a broker, which was in less than two years.
This is all speculation though; I’m not sure and I would love to get exact compensation numbers for Greatway Financials, so if there are any current or former people who know the stats, please comment below.
Should You Become a Greatway Financial Client?
The first experience you will most likely have as a potential Greatway Financial client is being approached by an advisor. I have never been approached myself, but my research shows that advisors are required to give you a presentation about a variety of products and services.
As with any commission-heavy business structure, advisors are usually very keen to get you onboard and will be equipped with a variety of persuasion techniques.
For me personally, this leaves a sour taste in my mouth right off the bat. Perhaps it’s just me, but knowing the advisor has their livelihood at stake makes me wary of their intentions.
In addition, my research did result in some concerning behaviour regarding the targeting of new immigrants and offering of unsuitable products to clients.
I want to stress that this is all anecdotal, but there have been many comments on my Youtube and blog that it hasn’t been a great company to work for.
As with any other financial product you buy, please make sure that you conduct your own research and do not solely go off the advisors’ recommendations.
It is not that the products are illegitimate or illegal; it just could be that they are not necessarily right for you.
Although it is pretty tricky to find out more about the commission structure of Greatway Financial from the outside, it is not hard to find success stories of the financial advisors of this company.
For instance, Greatway Financial’s Youtube channel has a variety of testimonials from current advisors who have made more than $200,000 in one year.
Of course, it is unlikely that Greatway would feature advisors who are struggling or have meagre incomes, but it does go to show that you can indeed make good money being an advisor with Greatway Financial.
From my understanding, cold-calling, networking and presenting Greatway’s offerings is a primary method of gaining clients as a financial advisor.
As with most MLMs, persuasion and selling techniques are a primary method of making money in this business, as is recruiting more advisors to build your personal Associate General Agency (AGA).
As an advisor, you also have opportunities for extensive training and, in some cases, free travel and retreats.
From what I can see on their website, Greatway’s advisor training modules are pretty intensive and are divided into the following categories: business development training, personal development training, product training, industry partner training and sales and marketing training.
Some of the modules within these categories are as long as 16 hours!
In my opinion, if you’re willing to hustle, contact your entire network, and aggressively pursue new sales prospects, it is possible to make good money with Greatway Financial. But if you’re this much of a go-getter, why not consider starting your own business instead?
As I mentioned, there are some concerning anecdotes on review websites regarding advisors taking advantage of the low financial literacy of newcomers to Canada. If your pursuit of making more money jeopardizes others’ economic well-being, is it really worth it?
Not only that, but you may also risk damage to your reputation and maybe even your personal relationships in an effort to make more money and recruit others into the business.
If it sounds like your network and skills would be a good fit for Greatway Financial, I would recommend doing your research before starting. I have also read online that many of the clients of Greatway are actually their advisors, which is quite interesting.
It sounds like a bubble within the organization has formed a firm bond and community around this company, and in a sense, everybody has a vested interest.
No, Greatway Financial is not associated with World Financial Group (WFG). However, the current founder and CEO of the company, Marlon Antonio, previously worked at WFG for about four years. Both companies use similar marketing techniques.
I have reviewed WFG on my website. Check out the review here.
I have mentioned before that I’ve been pitched many multi-level marketing ideas over the years. These have ranged everywhere from smoothie drinks, a painting business, Amway, and more. But I am not a fan of MLMs and have turned them all down. Here is why.
Not only is it challenging to climb to the top and make a decent living in MLM companies, but MLM pitches also are never fun for any of the parties involved. If you are the one pitching, it is a tireless and desperate game of trying to persuade people to sell products or recruit them.
If you are on the receiving end, you may feel pressured and annoyed, or as if your existing relationship with the person is being taken advantage of in pursuit of the person’s economic interests.
In addition, having this business model for something so delicate as insurance coverage and wealth management could directly harm clients, specifically by potentially not having adequately trained advisors that have your best interests at heart.
All in all, my feelings regarding MLMs are not very positive, especially for financial products.
Here are some alternatives to Greatway Financial, whether you were considering it for its products or getting on board as an advisor.
If you are looking for insurance products, you can check out other private organizations that have great options out there. For instance, I have reviewed the likes of PolicyMe and PolicyAdvisor, Sun Life, Square One, and Emma Insurance before.
You can also check out this post for my picks for the seven best life insurance companies in Canada.
If you want to get financial advice, a fee-based advisor might be the best way to go. They are not swayed by commissions, and they may be able to give you impartial advice on what may best suit your needs or even give you a second opinion on Greatway Financial’s products.
In terms of becoming an advisor with Greatway, whether it is to find a full-time living in it or just make extra income, there are also endless other options out there. Check out these lists for ideas:
While Greatway Financial may not be a scam, I would strongly recommend doing extensive research before buying any products or working for them.
Their products are certainly legit and may be able to serve your needs, but do be wary of being sold unsuitable things as the advisor in question may have a variety of other intentions in making the sale.
In terms of working for them, again, I would recommend doing your research, meeting the people, and deeply understanding the business model before spending your precious time training and trying to make sales.
I would also strongly recommend ensuring that there is a value alignment between you and the company before signing on, either as a client or an advisor.
I want to stress that by no means am I saying all advisors at Greatway Financial are bad and will try to scam you. There are bad apples in every company, and I’m sure there are a lot of good advisors at Greatway.
In my view though, it seems that the MLM model creates more opportunities for these bad apples to thrive, because of the close personal relationship they have with many of their clients.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours, and I hope that you can use this review to inform your decisions.