As with many individuals who rapidly ascend the financial services ladder, Victoria Kouzmichova never even planned on joining the industry. After graduating from her second degree - Management Studies at MacEwan University - Kouzmichova worked on some projects with an acquaintance who worked at private investment firm Walton International. Realizing the important role she played in those projects’ success, Kouzmichova was asked to come aboard Walton as a permanent member of staff; she accepted the offer.
“My time in the industry has been really interesting and always challenging,” says Kouzmichova, who is now Chief Compliance Officer at Raintree Financial Solutions. “I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to develop myself and working with people from different backgrounds. The exempt market is an area that is highly regulated, which gives me a great opportunity to work with the securities regulator and learn a lot from them.”
As with Walton International, Raintree operates in Canada’s expanding private capital markets. A recent study released by BlackRock found that, as decent returns become harder to find elsewhere, increasing numbers of investors are starting to favour less liquid assets. For Kouzmichova, the growth in the private markets comes as no surprise. “Private capital markets are not defined by quick solutions and often attract intelligent investors who understand that achieving higher yields requires time and commitment,” she says. “We use a strategy that we call ‘Core + Explore’ which provides diversification through a mix of private and public investments.”
Kouzmichova’s biggest challenge day-to-day is developing an efficient compliance infrastructure for Raintree’s dealing representatives, whose activities her team oversees. Her aim is to make sure that all of those advisors are well-informed on all compliance issues. “We don’t want them to just follow rules, we want them to understand what the rules are for,” says Kouzmichova, who was recently appointed to the Private Capital Markets Association of Canada Board of Directors. “It’s difficult because we work with advisors across the country and have a lot of satellite offices, so developing a framework and processes can sometimes be challenging.”
Kouzmichova is also passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs and closing the gender gap and is playing an integral role in Raintree’s second annual International Women’s Day Women and Wealth conference on March 8th. The event will celebrate women who are pushing the boundaries and feature four renowned female entrepreneurs sharing their unique stories followed by an interactive Q&A. “Women play a major role in driving the world economy and we want to both celebrate and support them on International Women’s Day,” Kouzmichova says.
New OSC advisory committee members announced
The secrets to building a successful advisory practice