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One of Canada’s Top Wealth Advisors compares working with family to a marriage that requires give and take, and to a hockey team that needs to dedicate specific people to scoring goals and others to defence.AleksandarNakic/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

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Jacques Maurice and Guillaume Maurice share more than a last name. The Montreal-based father and son were both recently recognized on The Globe and Mail and SHOOK Research’s annual rankings of Canada’s Top Wealth Advisors. Jacques was No. 26 in the main ranking and No. 5 in Quebec in the Best in Province ranking, and Guillaume was No. 21 in Quebec.

Jacques Maurice, senior wealth advisor with the Jacques Maurice Group at Scotia Wealth Management, is the son of a carpenter, but a passion for the stock market prompted him to start an investment club in university. That was in 1975, and the club is still going strong.

He joined the financial services industry at age 21, making 10 cold calls a day and investing conservatively to build his clients’ wealth. Today, his team has $8.9-billion in assets under management, but his investment philosophy hasn’t changed.

Jacques sees his presence on the Canada’s Top Wealth Advisors rankings as confirmation that his approach – which pays a lot of attention to capital preservation and grows assets predominantly with large-cap dividend-payers – works for clients. Many are business owners who feel that their companies already introduce enough risk into their lives. They like their investments to be lower risk.

“Our investment strategy – we’re constant. That brings comfort and predictability to our clients,” he says.

Guillaume Maurice, senior wealth advisor and portfolio manager with the Guillaume Maurice Group at Scotia Wealth Management, recalls getting a glimpse of what his father did for a living at the cottage on weekends when Jacques would open up big boxes full of printed portfolios and plan Monday morning’s trades. It must have piqued his interest because Guillaume studied finance at university and found work as a bank teller in 2007.

Two or three months in, he was offered one of two paths to advance his career – investments or credit. He chose to become an investment advisor. Over the next three years, he proved himself and fielded a few offers from other firms before sitting down with his dad to chat about his future. “The rest is history,” Guillaume says.

Guillaume joined the Jacques Maurice Group in 2010 – but the story doesn’t end there. Seven years later, he formed his own team so he could focus on discretionary portfolio management. It was a decision made for compliance reasons as he needed special licensing to serve as a portfolio manager, but also to cultivate his own entrepreneurial skills.

‘Building something different on my own’

Nevertheless, the Guillaume Maurice Group remains physically close to the Jacques Maurice Group with offices on the same floor.

“Obviously, my father is my greatest mentor, and in my heart, there will always be just one Maurice team,” Guillaume says. “I’m not cutting ties. I’m just building something different on my own.”

Guillaume isn’t the only one of Jacques’ children following him into the business. His daughter, Rosemarie Bertrand, joined the Jacques Maurice Group as an investment associate last year after working outside the industry in sales and business intelligence for nine years.

“Going into business with family members, the first thing that strikes me is that you need precise roles,” Jacques says. “Identify the strengths and the weaknesses of every member in a team. [Also,] define the monetary compensation that you want to bring to each member.”

Office family versus real family

Jacques compares working with family to a marriage that requires give and take, and to a hockey team that needs to dedicate specific people to scoring goals and others to defence. He also thinks it’s critical to separate work life and home life.

“During business hours, they’re business contributors, influencers, they have their job to do like every other person on my team. … That’s between eight and five o’clock,” Jacques says. “After hours, they’re my family, which I’m going to treat differently.”

Jacques describes his colleagues as his second family, which may help to blur the lines at work between professional colleagues and his children.

“At the end of the day, I’m kind of like the father of two families,” he says. “I have my office family and I have my real family – and that’s the way I’ve been conducting my business forever.”

Guillaume adds that it’s important for team members who are family to assume nothing, work as hard as everyone else, encourage communication, and keep an open mind to new ideas. He says it’s the team leader’s responsibility to discover each member’s skills without thinking about whether that person is a relative or not.

However, when it comes to being acknowledged for professional success alongside a family member, Guillaume says there’s a special sense of satisfaction.

“I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am of my father and how privileged I feel to be recognized along [with] him,” he says. “For me, it’s a start. For him, it’s a trend.”

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