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Independent wealth manager Wellington-Altus Financial Inc. is shuffling its executive leadership team as the company continues to aggressively recruit investment advisers, doubling its assets under administration to more than $20-billion over the past two years.

The Winnipeg-based brokerage announced on Monday that Shaun Hauser has been appointed as chief executive officer of Wellington-Altus Financial, while Jordy Chilcott will step into the role of president of Wellington-Altus Private Wealth and Wellington-Altus Insurance.

Mr. Hauser co-founded the company in 2017 with industry veteran and Wellington-Altus chairman Charlie Spiring. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Mr. Hauser was president of Wellington-Altus. Mr. Hauser will continue to lead the firm’s growth strategy by recruiting advisers who cater to high-net-worth clients, as well as overseeing strategic direction and operations of the Wellington-Altus group of companies over all.

Over the past five years, Mr. Hauser and his team have been steadily poaching high-end adviser teams from competitors, and that strategy has accelerated throughout the pandemic.

After hitting an initial target of $10-billion in assets slightly ahead of schedule in February, 2020, the company has now more than doubled its assets, hiring more than 20 adviser teams with their books of business.

In 2021, the company added $6.5-billion in assets, mainly through recruitment. Today, the firm has about 75 adviser teams.

In November, 2021, the company sold a minority interest to two private investors – Utah-based Cynosure Group and Winnipeg-based Jessiman Family Investments – for $85-million. At the time of the deal, Mr. Hauser said part of those funds would go toward recruitment, including incentive offers.

“For many large adviser teams [at large publicly traded companies], the pandemic was the straw that broke the camel’s back and they just needed change to take care of their clients the way that they wanted to,” Mr. Hauser said in an interview with The Globe.

“I think the last two years really highlighted just how tired [advisers] are of protecting their clients from the dislocation of what a publicly traded entity is trying to impose upon them and their clients at the behest of the shareholder, and many times what’s good for the shareholder is not good for the client.”

Mr. Chilcott, former president of Sun Life Financial Global Investments, has worked for both independent and bank-owned teams. He joined Wellington-Altus in 2020 as executive vice-president of wealth strategy and enablement, where he led the firm’s wealth management teams. Prior to Sun Life, Mr. Chilcott led Scotiabank’s global asset management business and was president and CEO of Dynamic Funds.

“Our industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift where usually change is building for a long time and then suddenly massive change occurs,” Mr. Chilcott said in an interview.

“So the reasons advisers want to leave a firm haven’t changed, those have been building for years. But now advisers are acting on those reasons. They want a place where the product shelves aren’t shrinking or full of company-related products, revenue targets that are not outcome-oriented and outdated technology.”

Succession and joint ownership are also high on the list of reasons for advisers jumping across the street, he said.

“People want to be in control of their own succession and how they operate, and ownership is a two-way street,” Mr. Chilcott added. “You also get the responsibility of ownership and it changes how people behave and how they support the brand.”

In addition to his role as president, Mr. Chilcott will retain his current role as executive vice-president for Wellington-Altus Financial Inc.

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