Strategy. Actions. Results.
Upside provides consulting, facilitation and project management to validate your strategy and translate it into actions that produce measurable results.
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We believe the wealth management industry's continued success depends on doing a better job of helping consumers achieve their financial goals. Most firms have strategies for dealing with changing industry fundaments, but do they go far enough? Upside provides consulting, facilitation and project management to validate your strategy and translate it into actions that produce measurable results.
What we do
Your people have day jobs keeping the lights on, but they still need to support special projects. We fill in the gaps to keep your agenda moving forward.
Consulting
Make your best decisions with the best available information. Whether it’s understanding customer needs or competitive trends, we provide research and insights that help you clarify what’s truly key to your success.
Project Management
Getting everyone on the same page is always half the battle. We design and lead workshops and planning sessions that help people find their way to the answer, tackle the elephants in the room, and forge consensus around the way forward.
Facilitation
Complex projects need more than reporting templates to succeed. We look beyond R/A/G to anticipate the roadblocks that could stall progress. We bring the experience to spot when things could be going off the rails, persist to fully understand issues and take ownership until they are resolved.
Who We Help
We help executives lead major change initiatives in wealth management firms and the vendors that serve them.
Jane leads wealth distribution at a major bank. She needs to help her front-line staff better utilize tools and processes to meet ever-increasing productivity targets while providing a superior client experience.
Hei Wai is responsible for digital innovation with a full service investment dealer. She needs to decide which digital experiences will differentiate her firm and move the needle on client satisfaction.
Victor is the COO of a wealth management firm that’s launching a robo platform to enhance its traditional advisory offering. He needs to deliver a solution that meets the needs articulated by the business.
How we help
We enable change with an agile approach that combines the subject matter expertise of your people with fresh perspective and focused attention.
Target
We test and mystery shop personal finance experiences for kicks. This gives us a unique perspective on marketplace trends, which we use to help our clients recognize opportunities and understand where they need to set the bar to win.
Align
Change is doomed from the start if key stakeholders aren’t fully bought in. We dig deep to understand the full implications of a change for all stakeholders and secure true alignment so you can move faster and avoid blockers.
Test
Endless resources are wasted advancing projects before the core concept has even been proven. Whether you’re socializing an idea with the front line or piloting a new product, we push to identify the minimum scope needed to test, fail, validate and learn.
Iterate
Innovation is iteration. We bring experience from across all facets of the industry to help your team understand what went right, what went wrong and why. This perspective helps ensure the right course corrections are made to keep things moving toward the end goal.
Who we are
We've spent over a decade cultivating a deep network of experts from across incumbent FIs and FinTech challengers. We curate these resources to assemble the ideal team for your project.
Amelia Young founded Upside Consulting Group Inc. in 2006 to help wealth management firms, and the vendors that serve them, translate strategy into action plans that produce results. Clients like BMO, CIBC and D+H have engaged Amy to design new products, transform distribution models and improve customer experience. She brings a diverse toolkit of strategic planning, facilitation and project management skills to ensure plans are set up for success.

Amy spent the first decade of her career on Bay Street working as an equity analyst and trader. She made the move into industry in 2001 to lead investor relations at a major Canadian software company and later held senior roles in the corporate strategy team at a global energy services firm. Amy holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, a BA in English from U of T and has been a CFA Charterholder since 1996.

In addition to her consulting activities, Amy has taught business communications at the Master’s level at the Rotman School of Management and Smith School of Business (Queen’s). She gives back through extensive volunteer efforts in various industry associations and by offering pro bono facilitation services to charities related to financial empowerment. She is currently collaborating with the Ivey Business School's Digital Banking Lab to develop a strategy for Canada's FinTech ecosystem.
Case Studies
A bank-owned investment dealer needed to re-think how to define, measure and manage quality in the delivery of its research product and account coverage.
  • Situation: Faced with steadily declining commission rates, this investment dealer needed to explore new ways to leapfrog its competition and capture market share. Underling this growth challenge was a sustainability imperative to build processes to ensure clients were the assets of the firm rather than the personal franchises of top performers.
  • What We Did: We gathered feedback from a cross-section of clients and other industry sources to develop an objective rubric for defining quality Research and Sales coverage so it could be measured and managed to meet client expectations. We also designed a series of internal collaboration and talent management processes to drive more coordinated account planning and thought leadership.
  • Results: Collaboration between Research and Sales improved because both departments had clear criteria defining their respective roles in delivering a differentiated offering to key clients. The new quality rubric was embedded in sector research and account planning activities and actively championed by key influencers in each department.
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    The retail advice channels of this major bank needed to transform their client experience from a transactional to a relationship model and put Financial Planning at the core of the client conversation.
  • Situation: After two stalled attempts at transforming its retail financial advice channel, leaders at this Big 5 bank were getting frustrated with the lack of progress. Beneath a crystal clear vision lay a myriad of stakeholders, competing interests and interdependencies and no one was well positioned to align the relevant channel, product and functional stakeholders.
  • What We Did: We led a complex, multi-stakeholder project team that addressed issues from identifying target customers and designing the desired experience to role design, recruiting and performance management. We also performed extensive competitive benchmarking on the client experience and compensation models at other banks to ensure the client was creating a model that would be differentiated in the marketplace.
  • Results: In six months the organization went from having a high level vision of the future state to having clarity and alignment on what the new advice model would look like. We also had consensus on a 2-year roadmap of the people, process and system changes it would take to deliver it. With the direction clear and resources allocated, the business was well positioned to execute.
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    A BPO leader needed to enhance its value proposition in the student lending market by incorporating financial literacy training into its solution.
  • Situation: this BPO provider's student lending administration contract was up for tender and the competitive landscape had shifted considerably. They needed a financial literacy strategy to differentiate their bid.
  • What We Did: We used behavioural economics to design a personalized online experience that would embed financial literacy principles into every stage of the student’s interaction with their loan. The solution offered substantial borrower experience improvements and specifically addressed communication gaps with strong correlations to delinquency and default. The deliverable included a detailed storyboard illustrating the end-to-end borrower journey and a business case demonstrating the financial benefits for both the BPO and the government.
  • Results: The proposed solution offered compelling benefits for all stakeholders: a better experience for borrowers, strong policy alignment for the government and lower costs for the BPO. Our client was successful in its bid to retain the business.
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    Past Clients
    We are proud to have helped some of Canada's most recognized financial services brands get traction on their key priorities.