The Canadian wealth management industry celebrated some of its stars last night at the Women in Wealth Management awards ceremony at Steam Whistle Brewery, Toronto.
The smell of hops was almost as strong as the smell of success for seven standout winners but there was also a supportive and collegiate feel as female peers and colleagues gathered to share experiences, ideas and opinions.
The awards ceremony followed the Wealth Professional Women in Wealth Management conference, which explored themes around excellence and empowerment during a day of presentations, panel discussions and networking.
Allison Taylor, CEO of Invico Capital Corporation, was taken aback by her win in the Advocis Award for Female Executive of the Year category. She told WP: “I’m really surprised. For a small firm based in Western Canada to be recognised [is great] and I’m very honoured to be here representing women across the country.”
Taylor said there has been progress made at ensuring more equal representation in the boardroom but that the pace of change was often glacial and that there was a huge amount of work still to be done.
She added: “I feel there is a lot of progress to be made unfortunately, especially in Western Canada. We don’t have a lot of women, particularly in the energy space. As a firm, 60% of our firm are women but at the same time, our clients in terms of our portfolio companies are all run by men.”
How do you change that? “It really has to start from a young age, inspiring young girls to feel that they can do the same things men can do. At some point, then we’ll have equality but we have a long way to go.”
Shannon Lee Simmons, founder of the fee-only New School of Finance financial planning firm, won the Invico Capital Corporation Award for Woman Innovator of the Year. She was also a speaker earlier in the day and gave an impassioned presentation on the value of human relationships with clients.
She also explained how it took her five years of graft before her firm and business model became self-sustaining. Now she has a waiting list 3-4 months' long and was ecstatic to have scooped the award.
She said: “It feels very validating and wonderful to be recognised for all the hard work I’ve put in and all the blood sweat and tears. Award shows are important for that reason because sometimes you can feel like you are pushing and pushing and nobody notices!”
She added: “I started in this industry 13 years ago and it felt very male dominated. Having an event to specifically celebrate women in the wealth management industry feels very important and significant to me. Look how far we’ve come.”
ETF Champion of the Year
Florence S. Narine – AGF Investments Inc
Echelon Wealth Partners Award for Excellent in Philanthropy & CSR
Sarah Bull – KJ Harrison Investors
The Advocis Award for Female Executive of the Year
Allison Taylor – Invico Capital Corporation
Marketing & Communications Team of the Year
The Invico Capital Corporation Award for Woman Innovator of the Year
Shannon Lee Simmons – New School of Finance
The WealthBar Award for Women-led Advisory Team of the Year
Donna Schneider – National Bank Financial
The Carte Financial Group Award for Young Gun of the Year
Susan Daley – PWL Capital