Cover Photo
COVER STORY: Jacks on Tax

Spring Issue Now Available

Unforgettable With Sweet Potato Biscuits
Engineering Your Way To Success
Thank You Black Monday

From the Publisher: Geoff Kirbyson

Geoff KirbysonWelcome to a revamped Advisor Unlimited, a national online magazine showcasing the people who make Canada’s financial services industry tick.It’s the brainchild of Michael van Lierop, president and CEO of New Outlook Wealth (NOW), a Winnipeg-based wealth management provider. He then brought Martin Luc Derome, Montreal-based president of Queenston M&A, on board. I’m honoured to have been asked to come aboard as editor/publisher. I was a long-time financial journalist and have been working as the director of marketing at Cardinal Capital Management in Winnipeg since 2021. Our goal is to focus primarily on stories about people, lifestyle, entrepreneurship and innovation rather than products, issues or brands. Our cover story spins a fascinating yarn about Evelyn Jacks, Canada’s foremost tax expert, whose company – The Knowledge Bureau – recently issued its one millionth certificate of achievement for its educational courses. If you want to make an unforgettable first impression, go to school on Sheldon Brow, a Calgary-based veteran who whips up a variety of baked goods – sweet potato biscuits are his go-to confection – in his kitchen and presents them to prospects, co-workers or whoever he’s meeting. We’ve also got interesting pieces on Pierre Sauve, who has 1987’s Black Monday to thank for steering his career in a most fortuitous direction, and Navid Boostani, whose problem-solving training as an engineer was invaluable in helping him launch ModernAdvisor. We hope you enjoy the new Advisor Unlimited and we welcome any feedback and ideas that you have.


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Pierre Sauvé is one of the few people in Canada’s financial services industry who can thank Black Monday for pointing his career in the right direction. After graduating with an MBA at McGill University in 1988, he was all set to embark on a career as an investment banker. But everything came crashing down on Oct. 19, 1987, as stock markets around the world plummeted, sparking instant comparisons to the Great Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 23 per cent that day and losses around the world approached $2 trillion.

“Job opportunities in investment banking completely dried up. It evaporated,” says Sauvé.

After spending several years working for a Fortune 500 company as a financial analyst, Sauvé was approached to join a private financing company providing loans, equipment leases and structured financing solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises.

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From Engineering to Entrepreneurship

The Journey of Navid Boostani and the Evolution of ModernAdvisor

Navid BoostaniWhen Navid Boostani encounters a computer glitch at ModernAdvisor, he doesn’t summon anyone from his IT department – he simply assesses the problem and fixes it himself. That’s because the CEO of the Vancouver-based tech-driven portfolio management firm is an engineer by training so he’s hard-wired to find solutions to technical and business problems that arise. A graduate of the Master’s program in electro-mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 2005, Boostani took a long and winding road to the financial services industry. His initial specialization was in smart machinery. “We designed small cranes that they install on yachts that could pick up a jet ski and put it in the water. I also worked on a steer-by-wire system for boats, which was an electrical system that moved the rudder to steer a boat,” he says….

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Evely Jacks


And Education, Advising Governments, Doing Media And MorE

Evelyn JacksEvelyn Jacks is surely one of the few people around who’s thankful for a complex tax system in this country. One of Canada’s most prolific financial authors is celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Knowledge Bureau, a Winnipeg-based national educational institute she founded, which provides a world-class education for tax accountants and financial professionals.

That would be a full-time gig for most people but Jacks has no shortage of side hustles. She has carved out a niche as a go-to tax expert advising governments on tax reforms and she has also served on Canada’s federal task force on financial literacy. She has also been a regular voice on television and in newspaper stories.

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That Was Then, This is Now

Michael van LieropMichael van Lierop was working for one of the biggest companies in the country and making more money than he’d ever made in his life so he should have been happy. There was just one small problem. He wasn’t. “I was working in an environment where you do the same thing over and over again. You have a job description that you follow and if you try to get creative or innovative, you get your hand slapped,” he says. After 20 years working on the insurance side of the business with three national companies and with two young kids at home, he felt he was reaching a critical time in his life. So, he decided to take stock of his work life but the only career path he saw for himself was headed sideways.“I wasn’t going to go anywhere from a corporate hierarchy perspective. I thought I could do what I was doing for another 20 to 25 years and retire or I could take a chance and say, ‘I have the skills to do pretty much anything in this business. I need good people around me.’ The biggest challenge was to come up with a model and concept that’s different,” he says.

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He Comes To Your Emotional Rescue

Queenston CEO “Almost Like a Psychologist”

Martin Luc DeromeMartin Luc Derome is not your typical CEO. “I’m the chief emotional officer,” says the head of Winnipeg-based Queenston M&A with a laugh. He’s only partly joking. Overseeing a team that facilitates mergers and acquisitions in the financial services industry — ranging from individual books of business to entire firms — he regularly runs into clients who get squeamish at the 11th hour.

It’s all easy until it gets serious. They see all the documents and the financing requirements and they get cold feet and very emotional (about selling). Then they try to delay it because they can’t let it go. They say, ‘I have to think about it. I just can’t sell it. What am I going to do afterwards?’” he says.“I’m almost like a psychologist.” Indeed, with Freudian-like precision, Derome calmly talks his clients off the ledge by reiterating their original rationale for selling their book or business, how the letter of intent in front of them represents the culmination of their life’s work and how the sales process will enable them to realize their own retirement goals after years of helping clients work towards theirs.

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What Does the Future of Underwriting Look Like?

Manulife’s Chief Underwriter Karen Cutler has some thoughts about that.

Evely JacksKaren Cutler is invested in making it easier for people to buy insurance. The Waterloo-based head of underwriting and claims at Manulife has been at the forefront of many game-changing initiatives and believes an innovative mindset is critical for future growth. “We were the first to use AI (artificial intelligence) to make underwriting decisions. We were also the first (in 2016) to underwrite HIV applicants given our enhanced ability to monitor life expectancy and mortality rates,” she says.“Implementing data into the underwriting process is at the forefront of what we do. The future of underwriting is all about the data.” The commitment to innovation has not only helped the company make insurance far more accessible but also address the fallout of a global crisis in an effective manner.

A Game-Changing Approach to Health and Wellness The pandemic fundamentally altered the way we live, the way we work, the way we communicate, and the way we approach our health, wellness and financial decisions including the need for insurance. As one of Canada’s top insurers, Manulife has had to position itself for the long haul; that is to say, as Cutler explains, “we’ve had to find ways to stay ahead of it and consequently be able to weather the storm while addressing numerous issues that have come up since the onset of the pandemic.”

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“We have a specific focus on education, periods during which we do monthly round tables to help educate. (We say) ‘tell us what you want to learn and how you want to develop’ and we help keep your career on track.”- Karen Cutler

Fabfintech 101

Mythbusting Robo-AdvisorsAdvisors

FabfintechAdvisors benefit from an easy way to satisfy the mainstream investing needs of small and mid-size accounts, without embarking on complicated or bureaucratic processing. Clients benefit from accessing passive ETF portfolios that follow the markets beautifully (for better or worse) and do so at a very affordable price. Indeed, even with advisor/planning fees tacked on, most portfolios fall well under 1.5 per cent in fees, all inclusive. So, what are some myths that remain in the industry about robo-advisors? Let’s consider a few.Myth: The advisor has no role to play – how do I justify my fee? Fact: Depending on the digital wealth manager you use, the software, artificial intelligence, portfolio management algorithms, and regulatory oversight are all gears that grind together in different ways. Some allow for significant advisor involvement, without any licensing requirements, because investment recommendations are not being made by the advisor. 

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Bake & Shake

Sheldon Brow knows you never get a second chance to make a first impression so when he shows up at an important meeting, he unleashes his secret weapon — home-made sweet potato biscuits.

Sheldon BrowThese aren’t some mass-market, heat-them-up-in-the-microwave kind of treat. He uses his own recipe and he makes them with his own two hands.“ I want to show them that this meeting is important to me,” says Brow, who runs a pair of companies, Pocket Finance and Finsense, from his Calgary office. “Meetings are more important now than they used to be because people are doing things online. On the rare occasion that we choose to see somebody, there’s an opportunity. I make the biscuits that morning and I bring them fresh and warm out of the oven. There’s a lot of love in those biscuits. I want the person to feel appreciated.” Brow comes by his baking skills naturally. He grew up in Nova Scotia where his grandmother taught him that baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing. He started baking when he was nine years old. Some people might stop off at Tim Hortons to pick up donuts for a meeting but while Brow acknowledges there’s some sentiment there, he believes a home-baked confection is much more powerful.

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