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Financial Guidance to Protect Your Nest Egg. Technology to Watch it Grow.



We are passionate about keeping your fees and costs low, and your expected returns high. We don’t offer generic solutions, sell products or accept commissions.

We invest your money prudently, with the goal of helping you maintain the quality of your life today and preserving your wealth for your loved ones. We are a fiduciary to our clients, which is the highest standard of care to which a financial advisor can be held.

We agree to avoid conflicts of interest; disclose any conflicts we may have; disclose all material facts; perform our services with the degree of professionalism expected of experts in our field; and invest your assets prudently, using investment products that are in your best interest. We are paid solely by you, in a fully transparent manner.

We are among a small portion of financial advisors who agree to act as fiduciaries in all our client relationships. We are required to place your interests above our own. This standard of care also requires skill, competence, trust, confidentiality and loyalty.

We make this commitment:
We will always do what’s right for you.




President and Portfolio Manager, Ottawa
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Jim Steel - CFA, CFP
President and Portfolio Manager, Ottawa

613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004


I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario with my parents, brother and sister. My interest in the financial industry came from a family friend who got me started investing while I was still in high school.

In 1985, I attended the University of Waterloo to study sciences – where I met my business partner, Chris. We became lifelong friends. While at Waterloo, I was making a lot of money trading stocks on the side. This experience made a career in sciences less attractive to a naïve 19-year-old. I left Waterloo after one year and took a job in Toronto at a major brokerage. I also took night classes at the University of Toronto to study economics, accounting, English and business philosophy.  

The market was booming during this time and I thought my investing success was a result of innate skill. That all changed on October 19, 1987 when equity markets around the world suffered their biggest one-day loss since the crash of 1929. I realized there was no easy path to financial success and decided to return to university full time.

I left the brokerage firm, moved to Kingston and attended Queen’s University to pursue a degree in Economics (and Music). After graduating, I took a job with the same brokerage (now owned by a major bank) in Ottawa as an investment advisor. I was excited to learn the tricks of stock-picking, managing money and helping people. Instead, I was sent back to Toronto to learn the fine art of cold calling and persuading people to buy stocks over the phone. 

During my 11 years at the big bank-owned brokerage, I was never really taught to manage money properly. Over time, particularly when the tech bubble imploded in 2000-2001, I started to see that the bank’s recommendations – stock-picking, high-cost mutual funds, etc. – still weren’t adding value to clients.

During this time, my desire to build real value led me to earn my Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter. Between studying, conversations with Chris and reading on my own, the blinders finally came off. I was a believer in evidence-based investing.

In 2008, Polaris Wealth, a division of Polaris Financial, was born.

Jim Steel-Skiing in Fernie

Skiing in Fernie, BC

Jim Steel-Family rain-forest vacation in Costa Rica.Family rain-forest vacation in Costa Rica.

Outside of the office, I enjoy playing guitar, running and mountain biking. I often bring my two border collies along on my adventures. I have completed three half-marathons. My wife enjoys road cycling, so I join her frequently. I also enjoy going to the gym, skiing and the occasional round of golf. We have two wonderful daughters and live in Old Ottawa South.



Executive Vice President, Operations
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Chris Odd 
Executive Vice President, Operations

613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004


I went to the University of Waterloo, where I met Jim – my wife was his lab partner and introduced us. We became roommates and great friends. While there, I developed an interest in the investment industry. Many of the elective classes I chose and books I read revolved around finance.

I graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics, majoring in Business and Information Systems. I worked for IBM for 5 years as an employee, then started an IT consulting firm and did work for IBM in that capacity for an additional 8 years.

Throughout our careers, Jim and I often discussed portfolio management. We both were confident in the merit of passive management and felt fees in the industry were egregiously high.

CHRIS ODD - Wedding in Santa Maria di LeucaWedding in Santa Maria di Leuca.

CHRIS ODD - Canada Day Concert at the Royal Canadian LegionCanada Day Concert at the Royal Canadian Legion.

In 2008, we began discussing what it would take to start our own portfolio management firm. Our complementary skills are a natural fit. Jim is a CFA charter holder with decades of experience in the financial world, and I bring a keen eye for process re-engineering. He’s great at sales and strategy; I’m very detail oriented with deep technical skills.

I love to play hockey – which I’ve basically been doing since I could walk. My wife and I learned to ski together and enjoy going to the West Coast on ski trips. I also play the guitar – something my father, an accomplished musician, passed down to me. I do a fair bit of recording (just for fun) and perform on occasion at weddings and community events. I also enjoy golfing and cycling. My wife and I live in Toronto with our three terrific kids.



Vice President & Portfolio Manager, Ottawa
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Alan Acton - CFP, CIM, FCSI
Vice President & Portfolio Manager, Ottawa

613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004


I am a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute, a member of the CFA Institute, and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).  I assist my clients in all areas of their financial lives: personal banking, debt management, insurance, investments, education planning, and retirement and estate planning.

Before joining Polaris Wealth, I launched the Physicians Financial Group of Raymond James in 2007. I also worked as a Financial Consultant with MD Management, a Canadian Medical Association subsidiary, for over 11 years.

I have devoted many hours to the community through my involvement with Big Brothers of Ottawa, the Special Needs Network, Citizen Advocacy, and my membership in the Rotary Club of Ottawa.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my spouse Meredith, my son and daughter, Connor and Alexandra, downhill skiing and playing golf.



Associate Portfolio Manager, Ottawa
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Jason David - BIB, CIM
Associate Portfolio Manager, Ottawa

613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004


Jason holds a Chartered Investment Manager designation, has a degree in international business, a background in public accounting, and extensive experience in wealth management. He gained experience as an investment advisor earlier in his career when he managed private client relationships at some of Canada’s top bank-owned brokerage firms, such as RBC Dominion Securities and BMO Nesbitt Burns.

At Polaris Wealth, Jason manages portfolios for a select group of private clients. Jason works primarily with one of Ottawa’s top independent accounting firms, Parker Prins Lebano. The integration of tax and investment planning counsel results in a truly comprehensive wealth management service. As such, Jason specializes in complex situations, such as the sale of a business or the financial planning associated with professional corporations. Jason is an expert guide and coordinator who can work with clients’ accounting and legal counsel, and can determine the most tax-efficient strategies to help clients achieve their financial objectives. To serve his clients properly, Jason restricts his minimum account size to $500,000.

In his spare time, Jason enjoys outdoor sports that require endurance and individual focus, such as triathlons, back country hiking, downhill skiing and whitewater canoeing. Some of his adventures include hiking the West Coast trail and solo paddling the Missinaibi River for 300 kms to James Bay. He also enjoys participating in local race events throughout the year. Triathlon training is an important part of his routine and as such he participates in a few triathlons every season. Jason’s wife, daughter and son also share his passion for the outdoors. They are season pass holders at Whiteface Mountain and have a cabin in the Adirondacks where they enjoy spending time together as a family.





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Deanna Nicholls
Associate, Ottawa 

613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004

Deanna is new to Ottawa and comes from Sault Ste. Marie where she worked as an associate for RBC Dominion Securities. 

Deanna has an Honours Bachelor of Commerce and Masters in Sports Management. Prior to her career at RBC, she was Director of Sales and Marketing for the Soo Greyhounds Hockey Club (the equivalent of the Ottawa 67s). 

Deanna enjoys movies, taking courses and playing sports.
Please feel free to reach out to Deanna if you have any questions.


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Chad Parker


I’ve been part of the Polaris team since mid-2017. I assist in the administration of our accounts.

I recently graduated with a degree in Business and plan to further my studies and obtain my Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation in the near future. 

Outside of the office, along with my son, Lincoln, and wife, Cassandra, we love to spend time in our backyard or at the Bruce Pit walking our dog. I’m also an avid movie buff.

CHAD PARKER - Three generations of Parker menThree generations of Parker men.

Chad at his brother’s weddingChad at his brother’s wedding.



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Erica DeWitt


I have been employed as an associate by Polaris Wealth since the spring of 2018

I graduated from the University of Ottawa in the fall of 2009 with an Honours Bachelor of Social Science with a Minor in Business Administration (Cum Laude). I have seventeen years of business experience in accounting and human resources.

I have a passion for fitness and long distance running and triathlon events. I am a certified fitness instructor and teach cycling several times a week at Goodlife Fitness.

While I am not working and training for the next big race, I enjoy spending time with my young daughter, husband and our dog. We enjoy travelling, outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends.





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Tom Blackwell
Senior Developer


I’m a Senior Developer at Polaris.

As a child, I had an insatiable curiosity about how things worked and spent a great deal of time tearing things apart and trying to figure them out. I eventually became interested in electronics and computers and went to McMaster University, where I got a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

I worked in a variety of industries, including power plant automation, telephone system design, retail sales hardware and thermal image processing. I usually ended up working on small, multidisciplinary teams, identifying problems and trying to fix them.

TOM BLACKWELL - with his wife, Mary Ellen, and their dogTom with his wife, Mary Ellen, and their dog.

TOM BLACKWELL - testing out gadgetsTom testing out gadgets.

We have decades of experience managing money. We will invest yours carefully, cautiously and prudently.

We take no more risk than you can tolerate and we strive to ensure you’re compensated for the risk you take.

According to Morningstar, the fees mutual funds charge (called “Management Expense Ratios” or “MERs”) are “the most important predictor of future fund returns.” We agree.

We predominantly use low management fee, tax-efficient mutual funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) Canada and broad market exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from Vanguard and iShares. We do not accept “trailer fees” from mutual funds. We always use the lower fee (F-class) mutual funds, which don’t pay these fees.

We adhere to an “evidence-based” investment approach. That means we focus on what we can control:

  • Keeping fees and costs low.
  • Deferring or eliminating taxes.
  • Globally diversifying your portfolio.
  • Tilting your portfolio towards factors that correlate with higher expected returns over the long term.
  • An appropriate asset allocation (the division of your portfolio between stocks, bonds, and cash), based on your ability, willingness, and need to take risk.

We are among a select group of advisors in Canada authorized to invest our clients’ funds in mutual funds managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors. Since 1981, Dimensional has been applying academic research to practical investing. It offers a full range of equity and fixed income strategies designed to target higher expected returns.

As of September 30, 2019, Dimensional
managed $766 billion CAD in assets.


Tuning out the noise

DFA Power of Markets

We view our mandate as helping you reach your goals, with tailored solutions that meet your needs.

If your tolerance for (or need to take) risk is low, we focus on capital preservation and generating income. If you are a business owner, we help you achieve your business goals and assist in planning for succession or sale. We help our high-net-worth clients conceptualize, build and implement a legacy plan.

We provide guidance through major transitional events such as marriage, divorce and inheritance.

Outsourcing your financial issues to us will give you more time to pursue activities you enjoy. Knowing your finances are being handled by full-time professionals will reduce anxiety and provide peace of mind. It will also ensure a seamless transition to your beneficiaries.

We seek relationships based on mutual respect. We want you to enjoy working with us, and we want to feel the same way about serving your interests.

All our relationships are built on an unshakeable foundation of objectivity, full transparency, integrity and trust.


Portfolio Management:

  • We manage your entire investment portfolio as a whole and ensure you have a strategy that is tailored to your unique circumstances.

Financial Planning:

  • We provide comprehensive financial projections to ensure you have the correct savings or income strategies in place. If you work with an external Fee-Only Financial Planner, we work with them to ensure all aspects of your plan are met.

Tax Management:

  • We ensure your accounts are constructed to be as tax efficient as possible.

Tax Preparation:

  • We coordinate the preparation of your tax return with your tax professional or provide you with a referral to one of our external partners.

Life and Disability Insurance:

  • We work with you to ensure you have the appropriate life and disability coverage in place when needed.

Estate Planning/Will Review Service:

  • We work with your existing estate attorney or provide a referral to one of our external partners to ensure you have Wills and Powers of Attorney in place.

Regular Review Meetings:

  • We provide face-to-face portfolio reviews as frequently as you prefer, however, we insist on meeting with you at least once per year to ensure your plan is on track.

Consider Polaris Wealth if you are looking for comprehensive wealth management, including financial planning, and have $500,000 or more in investible assets or the ability to work towards that level.

We don’t charge or accept commissions.
We don’t recommend investments with deferred sales charges.

Our fees are transparent and free of conflicts of interest. Our advice is objective.

We charge for portfolio management, which includes financial projections, tax management, regular review 

meetings, preparation of tax documents and all coordination with your external advisors: accountants, lawyers and fee-only financial planners.

You will also incur fully disclosed custodial fees and MERs charged by ETFs and mutual funds.

The fees we charge will vary based on your assets under management and portfolio composition. Your total fees (including MERs) are likely to be in the range of 0.75% to 1.5%. 

If you are interested in further lowering your fees by doing some of the work yourself then please visit our Direct investing service Polaris Wealth Direct.

Our partners have been carefully chosen for their professionalism and experience.

Click the following links to learn more about them:

Here are some resources you may find helpful

Larry Swedroe - Your Complete Guide to Factor-Based Investing

Larry Swedroe
Your Complete Guide to Factor-Based Investing: The Way Smart Money Invests Today
Larry Swedroe - The Quest for Alpha

Larry Swedroe
The Quest for Alpha:
The Holy Grail of Investing
Keith Matthews - The Empowered Investor

Keith Matthews
The Empowered Investor, Your
Guide to Becoming Financially Secure Forever
Burton Malkiel-A Random Walk Down Wall Street

Burton Malkiel
A Random Walk Down Wall Street:
The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (2020 edition)
William J. Bernstein - Four Pillars of Investing

William J. Bernstein
Four Pillars of Investing
John Bogle-The Little Book of Common Sense

John Bogle
The Little Book of Common Sense
Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee
Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns

Email info@polariswealth.ca

Jim Steel and Alan Acton
343 Preston Street
11th Floor
Ottawa ON K1S 1N4
Phone 613-755-4004 | 1-877-755-4004

Jason David
1796 Courtwood Crescent, Ottawa, ON K2C 2B5
Phone 613-668-5065