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Distinction
Achieved.

Our capital is invested alongside our clients. Our families’ financial security is directly aligned with our clients. Not only is First Avenue a fiduciary to our clients, we are partners.

The Firm

Passion Never Stands Still.

First Avenue Investment Counsel is a leading investment management firm and family office advising successful individuals and families.

We manage a conservative and long-standing investment strategy that protects and grows the wealth of our clients. We combine this with a fully-integrated approach to planning for every detail of one’s financial life and communicate it in a manner that is easy to understand.

Our clients have outgrown working with financial advisors who recommend products and act as third-party distributors. When you work with First Avenue, you are hiring professionals with experience and distinct expertise for every aspect of your wealth. You work directly with the team responsible for making all investment decisions. We are available and accountable to you at all times. We do not receive commissions or trailer fees for investment management, eliminating any potential for conflicts of interest or biased advice.
We have great conviction in how we manage portfolios. First Avenue employees invest alongside our clients, using the same investment strategy in their personal portfolios. Our own families’ financial security is directly aligned with our clients.
Your portfolio manager at First Avenue is a fiduciary. That means we have a duty to act with care, honesty and good faith, always in the best interest of our clients. Investment decisions must be independent and free of bias. As fiduciaries, we are held to the highest professional standards, level of education and experience in the investment industry.
First Avenue, its portfolio managers and all employees of the firm are registered with and monitored by the Ontario Securities Commission.

We have chosen Raymond James Ltd as our preferred custodian to provide safekeeping of assets, online access and audited account statements to our clients. The custodial firm reporting to you is independent of the firm managing your portfolio. Clients receive boutique investment management and family office services combined with the security of one of North America’s most sound financial institutions.

Our key asset is the passion found in our people. First Avenue is rooted in a culture of integrity, work ethic, approachability and purpose.

Kash J. Pashootan CIM Chief Executive Officer

Kash Pashootan, Chief Executive Officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc., entered the financial services industry in 1999. With more than 22 years of experience, he founded First Avenue Advisory in 2009 at Raymond James while he served as Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager, which then became First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc.

His passion is in uncovering investment opportunities and in people. As a trusted resource for the most respected news outlets, Kash has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Hong Kong Times, Canadian Business, National Post and The Globe & Mail.

He lives by the pursuit of success in business, health and family. He enjoys art, documentaries and spending time with his wife, daughter and son.

Brian Madden CFA, CFP, CIM Chief Investment Officer

Brian began his investment career in 1997 with one of Canada’s foremost independent research firms. In 2003, Brian co-founded one of the predecessor firms to First Avenue Investment Counsel, where for eight years he served affluent and high net worth private clients as Vice President & Portfolio Manager in managing equity investments. Subsequently, he spent five years managing a suite of balanced funds at one of Canada’s oldest and largest mutual fund companies. Immediately prior to joining First Avenue, he spent five years as Senior Vice President & Portfolio Manager with a Toronto-based investment counsel firm, serving high net worth private clients in Canada and the United States. Brian has been a CFA charterholder since 2000, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of CFA Society Toronto. Brian also holds a CFP and CIM designations and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1997. Away from the office, Brian embraces an ethos of volunteerism, community and mentorship and is the proud father of a teenage son who enjoys spending time with family and enthusiastically exploring far flung corners of the planet.

Joseph Chiu CPA, CA Chief Financial Officer

Joseph leads the finance and reporting functions as the Chief Financial Officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc. Prior to joining First Avenue, Joseph served nearly a decade at PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Asset and Wealth Management practice where he serviced private equity, private debt, hedge funds, pension and asset management clients. Joseph also volunteers as a Fellow in the School of Accounting and Finance Fellowship program at the University of Waterloo where he also earned his Master of Accounting and Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Management degrees. Outside of the office, Joseph enjoys cooking, baking and sharing his love of food and drink with those around him.

Nicholas Allaham CPA, CA, TEP, CIM Principal, Family Office Practice

Nicholas Allaham, Principal, Family Office Practice at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc, has a deep background in tax, trust and estate planning. Prior to joining First Avenue, Nicholas served over a decade at Deloitte in tax at their Private Client Group. His 15+ years of experience advising high net worth families on personal and corporate taxation is a key pillar in every Family Office clients’ success with planning and co-ordination of their wealth. He leads Family Office planning and collaborates with any outside advisors clients may engage. This achieves a true Advisory Board approach for families working with First Avenue Investment Counsel. Nicholas enjoys travel with his wife, volunteering with the local hospital, and lecturing on taxation at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University.

Sammir Assaf CIM Senior Portfolio Manager, Private Client Group

Sammir is a wealth management executive with significant leadership experience in the investment industry and holds the Chartered Investment Management designation. He focuses on client relationship management, portfolio & risk management, and asset allocation for high net worth private clients and institutional clients. Prior to joining First Avenue, Sammir spent 14 years at Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., most recently as a Managing Director on their Client Wealth Management team. Prior to that he spent 4 years at KBSH Capital Management as a Senior Analyst. Sammir sits on the Advisory Board for AREF Scholarship Fund and is a current Board Member of Peacebuilders Canada.

Ian Chong CPA, CA, CFA Senior Analyst

Ian began his capital markets career in 2000 at National Bank Financial and then TD Bank, covering the Communications sector as an Equity Research Analyst. In 2007, he moved to Hong Kong and spent five years working on the convertible bond proprietary desk at J.P Morgan, as well as the equity long/short principles strategies group at Standard Bank PLC. Returning to Toronto in 2013, Ian was a Senior Investment Analyst at Highstreet Asset Management (a division of AGF), where he spent five years covering global equity securities. Prior to joining First Avenue in April 2022, Ian was a Senior Manager at Scotiabank as part of the Portfolio Advisory Group, overseeing the performance of the U.S. and Global equity guided portfolios.

Ian graduated with an Honours Business Administration degree from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. He is a Chartered Accountant by training and has been a CFA charterholder since 2003.

Brandon Thimer CFA Equity Analyst

Brandon supports equity research and portfolio management at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc. He began his finance career in 2016, most recently working in M&A at Constellation Software Inc., and before Constellation, he worked within public markets investment analysis at various boutique investment firms located in Toronto. Brandon has an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, a Bachelor of Management from the University of Lethbridge, and he is a CFA charterholder. Brandon enjoys spending time with family and friends outside of the office, reading, and staying active. 

Bushra Ahmed CGA, CPA Tax Lead, Family Office Practice

Bushra has over nine years of experience as a tax specialist in public accounting. She has extensive experience in servicing private companies and their owners with both their tax compliance and tax planning needs. Bushra is a CGA, CPA and holder of a Bachelors of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto’s Rotman Commerce program. While working in public practice, Bushra completed the CPA Canada In-Depth Tax Course in 2018. Outside of the office, Bushra is a bookworm and enjoys dabbling in portrait photography.

Beata Krajcovic CFP, CLU Financial Planner, Family Office Practice

With 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, Beata is a key component for any financial planning needs clients may have. Taking the time to understand and develop comprehensive financial plans, Beata is committed to capturing the entire picture and believes financial plans are worthless unless they are treated as a dynamic document that is updated at least annually. Beata works closely with Nicholas, which means Financial planning is combined with tax planning for clients of the firm.

Alex Chevrette CFP, CIM Financial Planner, Private Client Group

Alex’s primary duties are to gather and analyze technical and financial data, as well as undertake tax, investment and other wealth planning related work for affluent clients. Prior to joining First Avenue, Alex worked at a boutique investment counsellor and family office, after starting his career at Scotiabank Global Asset Management.

In his spare time, Alex enjoys spending time with family, is an avid traveler and true sports fan. As many Canadians, he grew up with a passion for playing hockey. However, he can now be found training for triathlons, spending his winters skiing and summers walking up the fairways. Alex holds the CFP and CIM designations, sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network non-for-profit organization and is a graduate of the University of Ottawa – BComm. (Honours in Finance).

Michael Lippi CIM Portfolio Manager, Private Client Group

Michael has 25 years experience in the financial services industry. He is responsible for managing client relationships as well as developing new business for First Avenue Counsel Investment Inc. Michael previously held sales positions at some of Canada's largest mutual fund companies, as well as boutique investment firms where he serviced high net worth clients. Michael holds a Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®) designation. When not at work, Michael enjoys spending time with his family and is an avid outdoors man.

Jesse Mills CFA, CAIA Portfolio Manager, Private Client Group

Prior to joining First Avenue Jesse worked with BMO Private Investment Counsel as an associate portfolio manager where he co-managed a portfolio of high-net-worth and ultra high-net-worth clients. In addition to experience working with Canadian and U.S. equity and fixed-income strategies, Jesse also has experience working with various alternative strategies such as real estate, infrastructure, private equity and private credit. Jesse firmly believes a strong client relationship is the key to every successful strategy and enjoys working closely with clients and their families.

Jesse graduated as a student-athlete from Carleton University in 2016 where he played four years of football for the Ravens. Jesse is a CFA charterholder. Outside the office he enjoys biking, reading and spending time with family.

Gregory Johnston CFA Portfolio Manager, Private Client Group

Gregory joined First Avenue after 11 years with RBC Dominion Securities as an Associate Investment Advisor, where he advised, designed and implemented investment strategies for business owners, high-net-worth families, and institutions. His experience in both equity and credit extends to markets around the globe, as well as various alternative assets. Greg is a CFA charterholder and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Finance from the University of Guelph.

Outside of the office, Greg continues to enjoy playing hockey and enjoys finding adventure with his wife and two young children. He also volunteers his time as the treasurer on the board of directors for a local charity.

Connor Duncan CIM Manager, Operations

Connor joined First Avenue in 2017 and has had a keen sense of learning and exceeding client expectations from day one. He is part of the Family Office practice at the firm and works clients and collaborates with lawyers, accountants and other advisors who make up the “Advisory Board” that the firm leads on behalf of clients. Connor is a licensed Chartered Investment Manager. Outside of the office, Connor enjoys the outdoors at the cottage, travelling and learning about new cultures and making honey as an amateur beekeeper.

Muneeb Ahsan CFA Senior Compliance Manager

Muneeb has over fifteen years experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining First Avenue, Muneeb worked at a large asset manager for over a decade in various compliance roles and most recently worked as a compliance officer for an alternative trading system (ATS). Muneeb is a graduate of McMaster University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Outside of work, Muneeb likes to cheer on his beloved Toronto Raptors and stay active playing baseball.

Jason Hunt CFP, CIM Senior Associate, Family Office Practice

Prior to joining First Avenue, Jason worked at a credit union for over 14 years where he had experience serving members in the branch, managing an advice team and supporting one of the largest practices at Alterna Wealth as an Associate Investment Advsior. He is currently part of the Family Office practice at the firm and is responsible for working with clients and collaborating with their Advisory Board consisting of lawyers, accountants and other advisors. Jason is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner, Chartered Investment Manager, and graduate of the University of Ottawa (Summa Cum Laude). Outside of the office, Jason gives back to his community by volunteering his time serving on the board of Options Bytown - a local non-profit which is focused on providing permanent housing for those at chronic risk of homelessness. Jason is also a CrossFit athlete and aspires to one day coach other athletes.

Katie Elport Katie Elport Senior Associate, Private Client Group

Katie is a versatile and detail-oriented individual responsible for servicing clients’ needs and prides herself on her outstanding customer service. Her passion for the investment industry keeps her up to date with market related developments while continuously building her knowledge via courses and seminars. Katie holds Honours BA in Political Science/International Relations from University of Toronto and has a Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resources Management from Seneca College: Faculty of Continuing Education & Training. She is a fully licensed Senior Associate with over 8 years of experience in the industry and has a solid foundational understanding of the financial services industry, strong organizational skills, and exceptional teamwork capabilities. Outside of work Katie enjoys spending time with her daughter, reading, practicing yoga, and enjoying her acting hobby.

Myra Gobitharan Associate, Private Client Group

Prior to joining First Avenue, Myra worked at TD Direct Investing as an Investment Representative providing client support and placing trades for high value clients. Myra graduated with an Honours BSc degree from McMaster University, and has her CSC and CPH completed. Outside of the office, Myra dabbles in some singing lessons and is a huge food connoisseur.

Julie Li Associate, Private Client Group

Prior to joining First Avenue, Julie was a licensed Associate Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities. She has diverse experiences managing wealth for high-net-worth clients and is highly committed to delivering a client first service. She is skilled in identifying client financial needs as well as providing solutions that help meet their long-term goals. Julie graduated from the University of Western Ontario and holds a Bachelor degree major in Economics. Outside of work, Julie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, visiting art exhibits and playing classical music.

Jenna Gold Associate, Private Client Group

Prior to joining First Avenue, Jenna spent a decade working with top producing Investment Advisors at CIBC Wood Gundy, she has gained extensive experience servicing high-net-worth and ultra high-net-worth clients with their Wealth Management related needs. She graduated from Western University in 2014, with an Honors Specialization in Marketing and Business Organization studies. She has completed her CSC, CPH and WME and intends to complete her CIM Designation next. Outside the office Jenna enjoys spending time with her dog Milly. Her hobbies include travelling, snowboarding, tennis, painting, and dancing. She has a passion for Animal Welfare and loves a good Documentary.

Stephanie Cole Executive Assistant to the CEO

Stephanie has been working as an Assistant for the past 11 years. Prior to joining First Avenue, Stephanie worked at Holt Renfrew’s head office. She has a strong administration background and loves to collaborate with her colleagues.

Her passions outside of work include travel, exercise and spending time with her family. Her favourite places to travel to are Italy, Spain and Prince Edward Island.

Passion drives the relentless pursuit of progress.
As a family office, we plan, co-ordinate, lead and counsel on all facets and complexities of wealth.

Our Services

We provide portfolio management combined with ongoing financial planning. Clients have direct access to our investment team. Private Client Group professionals carry Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations and have extensive experience in effective client communication. They are members of the firm’s Investment Committee and are present at portfolio management meetings, working closely with First Avenue’s Chief Investment Officer. They have an in-depth understanding of portfolio holdings and market outlook. First Avenue clients also have access to the firm’s Chief Investment Officer.

  • Financial and estate planning as part of the ongoing client experience
  • Professional money managers, not professional salespeople
  • No commissions or trailer fees
  • Transparent, straightforward investment strategy
  • Regular communication in human language
  • Direct access to the firm’s Chief Investment Officer
  • Portfolio Managers’ own capital invested alongside yours

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Often, lacking great advisors is not the shortfall. Successful families have one or more advisors they trust and have worked with for years. The common weakness exists in the fact that there is not a formal process to how one’s advisors communicate and work together. As a result, there is little co-ordination and integration among strategies and advice from one’s various advisors. This is what our Advisory Board service solves.

After getting to know you and understanding your structure, the first step then for every First Avenue Family Office client begins with building their families’ Advisory Board. Understanding which trusted advisors you already have in place and which we need to add to complete the team: your Advisory Board. We are not here to replace any trusted advisors you may already have, but rather complete the voids and provide a structured platform where all work collaboratively on an integrated basis for your benefit.

Once your Advisory Board is in place, it is our responsibility to co-ordinate and lead the activities of your board. It may sound formal and it can be but it can also be as simple as ensuring ongoing coordination and integration of tax, investment, risk management, trusts and legal professionals. The result is a client experience where one is certain that the various considerations are heard and deeply contemplated.

A full-time collaborative approach considering all facets of your wealth: this is the Family Office difference.

Every asset you own, from investment portfolios and real estate to fine art, summarized on one document. The dashboard to every conversation. Kept up to date and reported to you quarterly. When doing any planning, we look at your entire picture and our Advisory Board will consider all angles. It’s about much more than just investments.

Whether it’s an immigration lawyer because your child is considering moving to the US after post-secondary studies, or it’s executing a complicated estate planning strategy with various trusts in multiple jurisdictions, we are relentless with planning for every facet of your financial world. But, planning is only the first step. Execution is equally important and we are beside you through the entire process. Rather than simply providing a referral and leaving the rest to you, we co-ordinate, and lead execution, attending meetings with your auxiliary professionals to ensure accurate integration at all stages. You avoid dealing with too many individuals and benefit from a further layer of governance on the work being done.

As your children become more independent, there may come a time where you wish to start involving them more in managing family finances. This is the pre-cursor to them making their own sound decisions in the future. Properly preparing beneficiaries for these responsibilities is essential. In conjunction with you, First Avenue Family Office organizes roundtables involving all generations and leads regular interactions to progress education and instill confidence in future generations. This education about the stewardships of wealth motivates successors to increase their involvement, which is invaluable in preserving wealth and family culture.

Every family is complex, and wealth can add a unique dimension to family dynamics. Emotions often replace rational and sound reasoning. Combine this with multiple beneficiaries with different personalities and objectives and it can create divisions within a family. As a trusted, objective partner, we create a safe platform and help guide conversations, allowing family members to maintain healthy relationships. Every beneficiary and family member has their own personality and differing financial needs. We work with each member and incorporate all objectives into the overall family wealth plan. This preserves relationships, wealth and the family legacy.

Wealth brings the opportunity to create impact. Before this, it is crucial to focus on oneself to understand: What is your legacy? What are your values and motivations? First Avenue Family Offices ask the appropriate questions and guide conversations to ensure philanthropists to have the greatest impact and create a family legacy. Our Family Office service captures all of the details of your financial world and helps your family make sense of it all. The result: addressing every facet of your financial life in an integrated and personal manner. We understand family dynamics and complexities and will take the necessary time to get to you know you and work through all important areas that need to be planned for.

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