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Our people

JIM STEEL - CFA, CFP Photo

JIM STEEL - CFA, CFP

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

jimsteel@polariswealth.ca
613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004

JIM STEEL

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.

CHRIS ODD Photo

CHRIS ODD

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

chrisodd@polariswealth.ca
613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004

CHRIS ODD

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.

ALAN ACTON - CFP, CIM, FCSI Photo

ALAN ACTON - CFP, CIM, FCSI

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

alanacton@polariswealth.ca
613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004

ALAN ACTON

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.

JASON DAVID - BIB, CIM Photo

JASON DAVID - BIB, CIM

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

jasondavid@polariswealth.ca
613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004

JASON DAVID

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.

JASON DAVID


JASON DAVID

DEANNA NICHOLLS Photo

DEANNA NICHOLLS

Associate
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Deanna Nicholls
Associate, Ottawa 

dnicholls@polarisweath.ca 
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.
CHAD PARKER Photo

CHAD PARKER

ASSOCIATE
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Chad Parker
Associate

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.

ERICA DEWITT Photo

ERICA DEWITT

ASSOCIATE
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Erica DeWitt
Associate

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.

ERICA DEWITT

ERICA DEWITT

TOM BLACKWELL Photo

TOM BLACKWELL

SENIOR DEVELOPER
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Tom Blackwell
Senior Developer

TOM BLACKWELL

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.