Cameron Clark, CFP®, CIM®, FCSI, Portfolio Manager, Scotia Wealth Management, Fredericton, NB
Cameron Clark, CFP®, CIM®, FCSI,
Clark Financial Advisory Group, a division of Scotia Capital Inc
Family is most important
Cameron Clark and the team at Clark Financial Advisory Group are focused on their clients, and several generations of their families. They do that work at ScotiaMcLeod, a division of Scotia Capital Inc. in Fredericton, NB.
As a family-focused team they make sure they understand their clients’ life priorities. While they are in the financial management business, long-term planning largely revolves around their clients’ family beliefs, relationships, and goals. Whether it’s helping the children and grandchildren learn effective money management techniques or something more complex like selling the family business, the Clark Team is there for their clients.
“Family is everything,” says Cameron Clark, CFP, CIM, FCSI - Wealth Advisor & Portfolio Manager. He’s talking about his own immediate family, his wife Chantele, and his two young sons Finnley & Oaklen, but also his team and clients.
Speaking of family, Cameron works with his father, Keir Clark, CIM, FCSI, PFP, FICB - Senior Wealth Advisor & Portfolio Manager, along with others including Catherine Pickard - Investment Associate, Jonathan Casey - Senior Associate, and Sonja Dillon - Administrative Assistant. With the help of specialists in the areas of tax, insurance, wealth planning, and estate law they help 180 wealthy Canadian families plan, build, preserve, grow and efficiently transfer their wealth to the next generation of their family.
“Many Canadians have built significant wealth over their lifetime. What seems to be common is that all are concerned about what happens when that wealth moves to the next generation,” says Cameron. “If you’ve worked all your life and built a multi-million-dollar net worth, your children don’t really understand what it took to earn it or what it takes to preserve it, so to them, it feels like a lottery win. We all know that poor financial decisions can follow lottery wins.”
A financial education as early as possible is key. Cameron and his team often sit with the children and grandchildren of clients to educate them so they are well prepared when family wealth arrives in their control. “Parents and grandparents are grateful,” he says. “When the knowledge is coming from a third party expert the family trusts, it tends to be better received by those needing the knowledge.
A career founded on helping people
Keir claims that “helping people is what Cameron has always been about”. So, helping successful people with their financial complexities seemed like a clear career choice for a young man whose father had been doing it for years. He didn’t start in that direction though. After high school, Cameron was enrolled in the Bachelor of Business program at UNB when he veered off that path to pursue a degree in criminology at St. Thomas University instead. Cameron, then a basketball player on the national level, was very much into physical fitness and thought he might make a greater impact as a police officer. Four years later he had his Criminology degree. Then fate – along with the realization that he had financial commitments to meet – steered him back to finance.
“I was halfway through the process with the RCMP and I was struggling to meet my financial obligations,” he laughs. I made a quick change and got a job at the bank, which I happened to fall in love with. I got to see the positive impact I could have on other people’s lives in banking and that was what I was really trying to accomplish.”
Cameron started at Scotiabank, first in personal banking, then progressing to business banking. He enjoyed guiding clients through their unique and often complex financial situations. Today his focus is on helping business owners and professionals with succession planning and intergenerational wealth plans.
While the idea of becoming a police officer has long faded, much of what he learned in Criminology continues to guide him today. He explains, “We’re all human, and as much as we don’t like to admit it, our emotions are front and centre as we make small and important decisions. People are wired to react emotionally to challenges with a fight or flight response, so much of our work revolves around helping people make rational financial decisions. My formal training in Psychology and Sociology are helpful as I coach people through those difficult times, keeping them focused on their long-term goals.”
That ability to relate on a personal level has been the basis for strong relationships with clients, built on mutual trust. An experience that stands out to Cameron is when the team was able to help three generations of a family going through an extremely difficult time that included dealing with health challenges, an unexpected death, the sale of their businesses, and the related family dynamics. He spent hours with them through that and in the end provided the help they needed.
“There was such a variety of things they needed help with, including tax strategies, Will and POA updates, insurance analysis and administration, and of course investment management. You name it, they needed all the services and insights we offer.” Thanks to the Team’s connections with other experts and the diverse expertise of his own team, he was able to see the family through what they would likely consider to be one of their darkest periods.
A commitment to expertise and ongoing education
Clark Financial Advisory Group’s collective abilities come from a combination of their backgrounds and experience. Keir has been in the financial services business for more than 43 years. Catherine has 17 years of banking experience and a deep understanding of wealth from a woman’s perspective. Jonathan has 13 years of experience between banking and wealth management and Sonja spent 20 years working in the insurance industry. The whole team works hard to expand and maintain the highest levels of professional credentials. They just want to be their best for their clients.
That dogged pursuit of excellence is one of the reasons why Clark Financial Advisory Group was named one of the best 57 wealth management teams in Canada in 2023. The team was the only one in New Brunswick to receive the Five-Star Advisory Team Award.
Awards are nice but according to Cameron the real reward is being able to be there for the families they work with; to guide them along life’s journey and see the real positive impacts they have on their lives. His group’s team-oriented approach means they can help clients with all aspects of their financial lives. If the necessary expertise doesn’t exist on the team, they bring in the experts who have it. “We work closely with experts in tax, insurance, estate law, and private banking” he says. “Many advisors talk about it, but from what we see regularly, not many actually do it. We do it all the time.”
When Cameron and his team aren’t helping their clients, they make it a priority to give back to their community, individually and as a team. For example, Cameron is currently part of a team of community leaders building the first food Rescue Centre in Atlantic Canada. The goal is to reduce food waste that occurs regularly and to use it to feed those struggling with food security. “Did you know 58% of food produced in Canada is wasted? Rescuing a portion of that could feed those families and have no additional capital requirement from government or industry.” Cameron says. The facility will be able to fast freeze food items and distribute them to food banks across the province, and eventually throughout Atlantic Canada. “It’s a really exciting thing to be a part of and something I hope will be an example across all provinces,” he says.
Cameron recognizes that he and his family are among the fortunate ones in this world. It’s not something they take for granted. He also appreciates that he’s fortunate to work with clients who become like family as well as a great team that shares his passion for helping people.
“We run a great business that we are incredibly proud of. We’re family oriented and we love what we do. We get to help people in such a meaningful way.” says Cameron.
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Cameron Clark, CFP®, CIM®, FCSI
Scotia Wealth Management
Clark Financial Advisory Group, a division of Scotia Capital Inc.
570 Queen St, Suite 500, Barker House
Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 6Z6
Office: 506.450.6466 Toll-free: 1 888.450.6465