What began as a Calgary-based, one-man, fee-for-service financial planning firm 30 years ago has grown into a successful full-service operation of a small team of professionals led by a B.Sc in neuroscience.
Jeremy Clark was born in Sarnia, Ont., where his father was a chemist. He spent his childhood there and in Midland, Mich., then studied for an expected career in the sciences at McGill University.
Realizing after graduation that it wasn’t a life he would enjoy, he moved to Calgary in 1998 and looked for other options.
Good fortune led him to meet Jon Waddell at a networking function later that year and he mentioned that he wanted to learn about business. Next Monday morning he showed up at Waddell & Associates, where Jon said he would find him something to do. Clark says he doesn’t remember getting paid as an intern until sometime the next January, but he enjoyed his experiential learning, took courses at the Canadian Securities Institute, and worked in all areas of the Waddell enterprise.
He became passionate about learning all about personal and corporate tax, financial and estate planning, investment management, and the creation and marketing of private placement investment syndicates, and by 2006 was made a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute.
In 2006, president and CEO Clark was able to purchase the firm with his former partner, Jennifer Heatherington, and renamed it Clark Heatherington Financial. Earlier this year he assumed majority ownership with his wife, Elaine Yee-Ni Clark, who is vice-president finance of the now renamed CH Financial.
Today it offers a full fleet of services and has enjoyed exponential growth within the firm, and externally through an expanding network of highly skilled experts in their fields. Clark says he has been selective in hiring experienced and loyal staff committed to long-term relationships such as he has with his clients, many of whom are third-generation in families.
Elaine has more than 20 years in public- and private-sector accounting, formerly a senior tax consultant with Deloitte, audit manager for the University of Calgary, and for a decade worked at Schlumberger in several positions, including treasurer for its Canadian operation and corporate reporting manager.
After graduating from St. Mary’s University, Erica Stewart worked in Halifax and joined CH Financial in 2014 having relocated here from Nova Scotia. Starting in a support role she was soon mentoring others and recently was promoted to the role of a chief operating officer. Chief investment officer is Brian Trafford, who before joining the financial services industry with BMO Nesbitt Burns had a successful career with Canon and Minolta, and built some of the largest mailrooms in Alberta for Neopost.
The newest member of the executive team is Andrew Shorter, educated at King’s College in Auckland, New Zealand, who joined CH Financial this year. He immigrated to Canada with his wife and daughter in 2009 and, after a spell with Sun Life Financial, started his own financial planning firm.
CH Financial has always relied on traditional ways of acquiring new business and had little online presence and no contact through social media. As vice-president of business development, Shorter is using his entrepreneurial skills to spread the word about its growth and its evolutionary path that has afforded the CH Financial team the ability to acquire an expert level understanding of investment management, financial planning, and tax strategy for established independents and families, aspiring professionals and new Canadians.
Like any either good Calgary company, it is committed to this community. Staff is actively involved in a number of non-profit organizations and Clark serves as president of the Calgary Philharmonic Foundation. And despite what he says for him was a tough time at McGill, he is currently co-chair of the advisory board of the university’s faculty of science and chair of FundX Investments National Advisory Council.