ELI CHAMOUN, Investment Advisor, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
"Investment Advisor Eli Chamoun knows how to manage your dough — literally"
“My Dad owned and operated around 16 Little Caesars franchises in southern Alberta,” he says. “I was working in the kitchens there since I was 7 or 8, right up until I was in university. I always knew I would run a business, be an entrepreneur like my Dad.”
Which is exactly what he did. For the last 12 years, Eli has owned and operated Choice Refreshments, a vending and refreshments business he grew to become one of the largest in Alberta. At its peak, the business catered to over 1000 Calgary businesses. After COVID hit, Eli traded in refreshments for another one of his passions: investments.
“I love finance, and I love the market. I’d actually already taken many of the investment management courses for fun, so when I looked at what I was passionate about and what I wanted to do next, it just made sense.”
In his role as an Investment Advisor for BMO’S Private Wealth division, Eli puts this financial expertise to work. Combining his passion for the market with the knowledge he’s gained as an entrepreneur, he focuses on adding value for his clients: connecting them with the right investments, helping them with financial planning, and lowering their fees. When it comes to business owners like himself, Eli has a unique insight into what they need.
“I ran my own business, and I was involved in every single aspect of it,” he says. “I had a team of 6 drivers, but I had my hands in everything. I did driving, I took calls from customers, I basically ran it from A-Z. So I have a connection with business owners. I know their struggles. I know how they function, the margins they operate around, the extra work they do every day.”
Running a business of their own gives many entrepreneurs a different approach to investing, which is something Eli knows well. Having grown up watching his own family build and expand their franchises, he can understand why many business owners prefer putting their money into hard assets rather than stocks. However, he enjoys introducing them to new opportunities, too.
“There were a lot of lessons learned during COVID,” he says. “You can pour all your sweat and equity into something, and it can change overnight. Business owners like to invest in things like real estate, independent businesses or restaurants because that’s what they know. I like to open their eyes a bit, change the conversation. You can still get those returns if you diversify, you just get a better mix.”
Although his work as an entrepreneur took center stage in the past, Eli is no newcomer to the world of finance. Having made his first investment in the market at the age of 18, he knows money is made in more ways than one. “We’ve had multiple bear markets in the past, and also the financial crisis. There are still portfolios out there making great returns. It doesn’t always have to be hard assets.”
Always passionate about investments, Eli completed his degree in finance while playing football at the University of Calgary. It was a rigorous schedule that taught him the value of time management and sparked his interest in both managing money and working as part of a team.
“It builds a bit more mental toughness around the small things,” he says. “Fighting through, perseverance, getting things done. Being a business owner is a constant effort, not just a paycheque. Everything comes down to you.”
It’s a different mentality, and one he tries to keep in mind when he helps local business owners plan their financial future. “I understand where they’re coming from, and I genuinely want to help.”
To make sure his customers get the best deal, Eli focuses on SMAs: separately managed accounts, which are institutional money management funds facilitated by some of the best portfolio managers in the industry. “You can’t buy them retail. You can’t buy them at the branch, you have to deal with a broker in order to buy these funds — it’s basically institutional grade investments. What I want to do is connect regular people to the best kinds of products they can buy. That’s how I structure my whole practice: putting real people into the best investments we have.”
It’s a strategy that has paid off. “My clients come to me seeking a full spectrum of investments. I can get them access to some of the best institutional money managers on the market, often for cheaper than most people buy mutual funds at their local branch.”
Making these kinds of connections is the best part of his day. Eli’s experience running a business has taught him to focus on adding value, and he enjoys meeting his client’s needs. “I always work on lowering their fees, putting them with the best product for the best price. I like a good value deal myself, and when I can get someone a better product for half of what they’re paying now, they’re shocked.”
Eli hasn’t forgotten his entrepreneurial upbringing. After so many years of watching his family business grow (and running one for himself), he knows how to focus on the bottom line. “When you run a business, you’re always looking for a way to make that extra few percent, a way to lower your costs. That’s the approach I take for my clients: what are your returns, what are you paying in fees, and how can we increase your net returns as much as possible.”
It all comes down to helping others, building trust, and forming meaningful relationships. “I like showing people what we’ve got to offer. They leave happy, and that gives me a lot of pleasure.”
In his spare time, he’s a huge sports fan. He loves cheering on the Flames, catching every NFL game, and getting his hands in the numbers side of sports with fantasy football leagues. He’s also passionate about traveling, especially around Europe, the Middle East, and North America. “I’m fluent in French, Arabic, and English,” he says. “It comes in handy. I love meeting new people.”
Recently married, Eli and his wife Eva are looking forward to starting their lives as a married couple and building a family. As they move forward, he plans to keep using his experience to help his clients succeed. “I want to continue to grow, build my business and put my clients’ interests first.”
No pizza-making required.
Kristen Campbell holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science from McMaster University and spent a year in the University of Calgary's MA Political Science program before completing her BComm in Accounting. She enjoys blending her research & financial background with her passion for telling stories and creating content that's as fun to read as it is to write.
Elias Chamoun, B. Comm, Investment Advisor
BMO Nesbitt Burns
1100-525 8th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2P 1G1
403 - 260 - 9387
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