STEVE SEBAG, CIM
Steve Sebag is a Private Wealth Counselor and a Principal at Mercer Canada, a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments.
Steve and his business partner, Armand Kessous, have earned a solid reputation for building best-in-class investment portfolios aimed at maximizing the likelihood that their clients reach their financial and lifestyle objectives. They achieve this by following a structured approach to investing anchored in diversification, minimizing the frictional costs of investing, ongoing monitoring and re-balancing, and engaging in frequent client communication.
Philosophy and Approach
A Structured Approach to Investing:
Steve, Armand and their team follows a disciplined and highly-analytical approach to investing, utilizing some of the most sophisticated quantitative and qualitative techniques available. This approach is designed to ensure that a client receives highly focused and diversified investment exposure to a clarified set of characteristics and investment styles that are expected to outperform the overall market in the long-term.
Asset class and geographic diversification helps investors reduce the risk of their overall portfolio by participating in the economic activity of multiple industries and multiple parts of the globe.
Minimizing Frictional Costs of Investing:
Inefficient trading practices, high fees, and unnecessary tax consequences can have a negative effect on wealth. With this in mind, the Kessous-Sebag team works with its trading partners to minimize both direct and indirect trading costs. As a large number of their clients are taxable entities, strict tax management is a fundamental consideration.
Ongoing Monitoring and Re-balancing:
Portfolios are constantly monitored against market variables and are systematically re-balanced. This is especially important during dramatic market corrections to guard against any deviation from the stated objectives. Tax considerations strongly influence these decisions.
Regular Client Communication:
Ongoing client communication and high-quality portfolio reporting are two key planks in the teams approach.
One of the things that sets the Kessous-Sebag team apart is the partners’ focus on after tax wealth and net wealth tracking. “Many other service providers only focus asset management, which is just one element of a client’s total wealth equation. Ignoring assets held elsewhere, including private investments and liabilities, makes it impossible to build the right plan. Avoiding redundancies and ensuring every piece of the financial puzzle is considered is the key to providing high net-worth families with the correct road map and to offering an accurate and comprehensive view of their situation,” Steve explains.
Steve and Armand have worked together for the past 17 years, having built a thriving practice solely on client referrals. “There is no greater reward than to have clients say how much of a positive impact we have made in their lives. The bond we share with clients transcends normal business relationships.”
Steve obtained his finance degree from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. He is also a Chartered Investment Manager (CIM). With 22 years of “boots on the ground” industry experience, Steve has access to the tools and resources he needs to advise high net-worth families on all aspects of their wealth.
“Part of our role is to act as a sounding board and to frame the crucial business, estate, tax, philanthropic, risk management/insurance, and cash flow management conversations that our clients count on us to have,” Steve adds.
“Armand and I also provide what I like to describe as ‘quarterbacking’ support. In other words, we ensure that appropriate professionals, either existing advisors to our clients or those sourced by Mercer, effectively deliver the required services. We also monitor the activities of external providers to ensure that projects are completed and commitments are met.”
Armand has a MSc. in finance from the University of Montreal. He is also a member of the International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the leading organization for trust and estate professionals. Its rigorous experience, education and ethics requirements make STEP one of the world’s most coveted designations. “I am proud to call Armand my business partner, my mentor and my friend,” Steve says.
On 30 November, 2018, Mercer, a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments, purchased Pavilion. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth, and performance of their most vital asset – their people. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global team of professional services companies offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy, and human capital.
According to Jean-Philippe (JP) Provost, Wealth Business Leader for Mercer Canada, “We have tremendous respect for Pavilion, and the legacy the firm represents in our industry. Bringing Pavilion under the Mercer umbrella allows us to provide new services to our growing client base, like the Private Wealth Management offering. As Pavilion clients become Mercer clients, they will also be exposed to our broad range of offerings and solutions, transforming our ability to serve our existing and prospective clients.”
Steve and Armand are excited about the change and are confident their clients will benefit from Mercer’s important resources.
Up Close & Personal:
Steve sits on the boards of Federation Combined Jewish Appeal and Les École Azrielli and is the Chair of GenMtl, the 18-41 division of Federation CJA. “I feel we are all very fortunate to be born on the right side of the planet, and to live in the most prosperous society in the history of mankind. With that realization comes a duty to help those less fortunate. I can, so I do,” Steve says.
Steve believes in continuing education and spends hours of personal time researching new ideas and learning new tools. The partners also frequently host private client events where industry experts present analyses, planning ideas and relevant information. Steve also loves to travel with his wife Sonia and their two daughters, Mikah (7), and Emily (6).
As a final word, Steve says, “I believe that a successful client advisor relationship is based on the principles of integrity, competence, transparency and impeccable client service My passion for helping clients is only matched by my commitment to my family, my friends and my community.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
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