Justin Hamilton has been with Financial Horizons Group (FHG), the company founded by his father, John, since 2004, when there were only 10 employees in the Kitchener office – there are now 350! During this time, Justin built a successful advisor practice and was one of the youngest employees to hold a variety of management positions within FHG. Prior to becoming FHG’s Business Development Manager, he was the Director, National Sales for Continuum Financial Centres, the succession planning division of FHG – Continuum is devoted to helping existing brokers buy and sell blocks of business.
While attending the University of Western Ontario, where he earned a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology, Justin continued to work at FHG, both during the school year and in the summer months. After he graduated, in 2008, Justin worked for a year as an Investment Administrator in the London branch. That was when he realized that he had fallen in love with the industry. “Up until that moment, I wanted to do anything else but be in the same business as my father, for fear of always living in his shadow,” Justin explains.
During this time Justin completed his Graduate Certificate in Professional Financial Planning during the same period. Along with having his life insurance and securities licenses, he also earned his Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS) and Elder Planning Counselor (EPC) designations and completed his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam on the first try.
A couple of years later, Justin and his brother, Chris, bought a book of business from the estate of a deceased broker and formed C&J Hamilton Financial Services Inc., a life insurance brokerage firm. Justin concentrated on investments and the business side of things, such as accounting, taxes, planning, etc., while Chris concentrated on the “big” sales.
In 2014, Justin assumed the role of National Training Specialist, then later, the Director of Education, where he was responsible for advisor training. Accomplishments included the successful implementation of FHG’s WealthServ back office system. His interest in the succession needs of brokers came full circle when the brothers sold their practice to Continuum in 2016.
Justin became Continuum’s National Director of Sales in January, 2017. In the dual role of Operations Manager, Justin spearheaded the implementation of a new broker training system, helped design an innovative compensation package, and facilitated a number of broker acquisitions.
Working With Family
“Although working with family can have its challenges, Chris and I have always followed our grandfather’s advice, who coincidentally, also worked with his brother on their Bowmanville dairy farm, - No matter what, with family, you make it work.”
“Most people think we had an easier route because of John, but, in reality, it was more difficult. John would say, “All I did was open a door, the rest is up to you.” When I eventually decided to go the corporate route, and to hopefully someday sit at the same desk John occupied, he told me, “You might as well accept this now, there will always be some people, friends and family included, who will never believe that you earned your own way…even though we both know that’s not true.” I’ve had to remind myself of this sage advice a couple of times over the years.”
“Although my brother and I have very different personalities, we also have several traits in common. We both work hard, and are very detail oriented. We also take as much time as necessary to understand clients’ needs, wants, and desires, and invest the time that is needed for them to understand what we have proposed.”
As poet John Donne pronounced in Meditation XVII, “No man is an island entire of itself…” Justin realized that if he wanted to be successful he needed an enthusiastic and professional team to back him up. Currently, his team includes eight professionals, including seven staff and one Business Development consultant.
Up Close & Personal
In 2018, Justin was honoured to be named one of the Insurance Journal’s Rising Stars in the Insurance and Investment Industry.
Justin believes in giving back to the industry that has been so good to his family, and recently joined the Financial Advisors Association of Canada (Advocis) Board of Directors. Advocis is the largest voluntary professional membership association of financial advisors in Canada, represents more than 13,000 members and has forty Chapters across the country.
Justin financially supports a number of different charitable groups, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (his brother, Chris, was diagnosed as a diabetic when he was 18 month’s old, Justin’s diagnosis came a number of years later, when he was 24), Red Cross, and the Western Tuition Fund.
He is an avid sports fan and loves to attend, watch, and play many different sports including hockey, skiing and golf. If you do not find him in the gym by 7 a.m., he is more than likely at the family cottage on Georgian Bay. He shares his life with Nicky, a senior, black tabby. Nicky was originally Chris’ cat. Justin adopted him when Chris’ rented condo was no longer suitable for cats and dogs, of which Chris had both.
“Hockey player and NHL Hall of Famer, Wayne Gretzky famously said, ‘You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.’ Never be afraid to fail and to try something new. If you aren’t excited every morning to come to work, look for something else. I feel very lucky to have found a career that I truly enjoy, at such a young age. I have worked for this company for 15 years now. This makes me one of the most tenured on staff… and I’m only 32,” Justin adds.
When John Hamilton, started Financial Horizons Group (FHG) in 1999, he occupied the corner office on the ninth floor of 22 Frederick Street in Kitchener, ON. Today, after two different sales, 35 offices, 350 employees, and many floors occupied in the Kitchener branch, Justin is now working on the ninth floor, in the original office.
“When I became Business Development Manager in January, my story came full circle - I now sit in the same corner office as did John twenty years earlier. The interesting thing was I didn’t know that was the case. When John shared this information with me, it was a special moment for both of us,” Justin concludes with a smile.
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
112-22 Frederick Street,
Kitchener, ON N2H 6M6