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.
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.
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 Pashootan, CEO and Chief Investment 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.
Rick is the President and Chief Investment Officer at First Avenue Counsel Investment Inc. Having over 40 years of investment experience, Rick works with the investment team on decision making and strategic oversight of First Avenue Counsel Investment Inc. funds. Rick pioneered the practice of quantitative investment when he founded C.P.M.S. (Computerized Portfolio Management Services Inc.) in 1984 and built it into the leading provider of quantitative investment research in Canada which was later sold to Morningstar.
Brandon Dong, Chief Financial Officer of First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc., oversees First Avenue’s overall financial operation focusing on financial planning and execution, regulatory compliance and risk management. Brandon carries over 25 years of financial and operations experience with the past 15 years serving as senior executives at some of the largest financial service companies including GE and Anbang Insurance, two Fortune 500 Companies. He directly oversaw financial reporting, FP&A, acquisition, development and asset management on portfolios valued over $15 billion Canadian dollars. Brandon holds both Canadian and US CPA licenses. He earned his BBA from Texas A&M University and his MBA from Cornell University.
Nicholas Allaham, Director of the 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 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.
Matteo is Executive Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager at First Avenue. Matteo brings over 30 years of professional investment experience and currently co-manages all of the First Avenue mandates. Prior to joining First Avenue, Matteo was a Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager at a boutique wealth management firm where he was responsible for leading the portfolio management team in the development and implementation of quantitative investment strategies for North American pooled funds. Matteo has an MBA from the University of Windsor and has been a CFA charterholder since 1994. Outside of the office, Matteo enjoys the outdoors by hiking and biking. He also loves travelling with his family – especially back to his hometown in Italy.
Jordan Luckock has over 16 years of professional investment experience and currently co-manages all of the First Avenue mandates. Jordan co-managed over $7 billion in retail, institutional and high net worth equity mandates at BMO Global Asset Management. He also spent several years as an Equity Analyst at BMO where he was responsible for covering the Consumer, Industrial, Technology, and Communications sectors. Jordan is a CFA Charter holder with a Master of Science (Finance) degree from Queen’s University. He also loves to coach baseball and basketball, and has three children of his own.
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.
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.
After graduating from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce, David spent 7 years with TD Wealth working with high net worth clients of the bank. As a Chartered Investment Manager and a Certified Financial Planner, he works closely with clients day to day, ensuring they are up to date with their investment portfolio and overall financial plan. Regular communication is David’s hallmark, leading to meaningful relationships with clients of the firm. Outside of the office, David is a competitive swimmer, marathon runner, and enjoys spending time at the cottage in Muskoka.
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.
Jessica started her career in financial services on the trading floor with RBC Capital Markets where she worked for 3.5 years before moving over to RBC Dominion Securities where she has accrued a combined total of 8 years of investment experience. While there, she pursued and successfully became a CFA Charterholder in 2017 which allowed her to hone her portfolio management ability and develop her passion for the markets. In 2018 she went on sabbatical to travel around Southeast Asia where she developed a passion for scuba diving and street food. Outside of the office, Jessica enjoys yoga and biking, is a voracious reader and loves spending time at her cottage.
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.
Prior to joining First Avenue, Nicole has advanced to increasingly senior positions within BMO Nesbitt Burns. With more than 20 years in investment management, Nicole has built and maintained successful client relationships based upon her attention to detail, extensive industry knowledge and genuine passion for working with people. Outside of the office, Nicole enjoys her time outside of the city at her family home in Aurora. Nicole is an avid runner and very proud hockey and baseball Mother to her two boys.
Prior to joining First Avenue, Alexia worked at a family office where she provided client services and coordinated transactions for ultra high-net-worth clients. Alexia focused on building and sustaining meaningful client relationships which allowed for all client requests to be met to the highest standard. She graduated with the highest distinction from McMaster University with an Honors B.A. in Sociology. During her degree, Alexia was awarded the Lianne Marks Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement and notable contribution to the community. Outside of the office, Alexia enjoys classical ballet training at the National Ballet School.
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.
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.
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.
Shamil draws on 7 years of investment banking and corporate finance experience with a focus on real estate mergers and acquisitions. He is responsible for the day-today operations of EMBLEM Developments working closely with the CEO. His role is centered on ensuring executional excellence across all stages of a project’s lifecycle through the management of acquisitions, development, sales and customer care.
Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, Shamil worked in the Real Estate Investment Banking Group at BMO Capital Markets, where he was involved in underwriting, financing, and advising public and private real estate companies. While at BMO, Shamil worked with North American corporate real estate clients on multiple M&A and real estate portfolio transactions, initial public offerings (IPOs), and debt and equity financings.
Shamil began his career working in the Advisory Group at Deloitte where he was responsible for advising domestic and international clients on business valuation matters related to tax, M&A transactions, audit and accounting.
Shamil holds an Honors Business Administration degree with Distinction from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Raki has over 23 years of experience managing and executing on large scale construction projects. She has established a proven track record in conceptual development, planning, design and construction of award-winning building projects. Her extensive background in fast tracking high-rise projects, directing each phase of construction from design to completion is an asset to the Emblem team. Raki is responsible for managing consultant teams, monitoring design development and constructability, ensuring budgets are met, and providing constant support to the project team throughout the different phases of each project.
Prior to joining Emblem, Raki was the Vice President of Pre-Construction and Design for Multiplex Construction Canada, a subsidiary of Brookfield where she led the Pre-Construction Group. Some of the projects that Raki has managed include: Trump Hotel and Residential Tower, Bay Adelaide East Tower & Podium, Campus One Student Residences, Core Condominium, King High Line Mixed Use, Transit City Projects, and Index Tower designed by Norman Foster located in Dubai.
Raki holds a Master of Architecture from Islamic Azad University. She is also a LEED® Green Associate.
Ryan has more than 20 years of experience and has led and successfully completed more than 32 high rise residential projects throughout the GTA. He is involved in every step of the process from inception through the planning and municipal approvals process, to completion and closing.
Prior to joining Emblem Developments, Ryan was the Vice President of Planning and Development at one of Toronto’s largest development firms. During his tenure there, he demonstrated his knowledge by working with municipal staff directly, taking a very hands-on approach, coordinating the entire consulting team and construction site staff.
Projects Ryan has been involved with include: Northcliffe, The Boot 1 & 2, The Merchandise Building Phase 4 & 5, Thornwood Phase 1 & 2, Windermere Homes, NXT Towers Phase 1 and 2, Quad Phase 1 & 2, 399 Adelaide St. W., MYC Condos, 2130 Bayview Ave., Exhibit, Emerald Park, E Condos Phase 1 & 2, 1000 Bay St., Bloor St. Neighbourhood, Casa 1, 2 & 3, Halo, 33 Yorkville and YSL.
Ryan attended the University of Toronto, and holds a Construction Technician and Technologist, and Construction Management Degree from George Brown College (CET).
Alistair has over 10 years of experience in end-to-end design and pre-construction management and brings his expertise in managing complex residential and mixed-use projects to EMBLEM Developments. In his role, he oversees the development of projects from inception through to construction commencement, with a focus on design development and constructability.
Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, Alistair was the Pre-Construction Director at Multiplex Construction Canada, a subsidiary of Brookfield, where he managed the majority of the company’s residential projects. Some of the projects Alistair has managed include: Transit City Phases 1 and 2, Centre Point, 25 St. Dennis Drive, 90 Eastdale Avenue, Junction House, Corio Development, St John’s McNicoll Centre, and Pavillions.
Alistair holds a First Class Honours Degree in Architecture from Oxford Brookes University. He also holds a diploma from Kingston University.
Bonnie has over 10 years of experience in the high-rise development industry, where she has participated in the successful delivery of almost 4,000 new condominium units through 8 projects, managing zero chargeable conciliations. As Director, Customer Experience, Bonnie facilitates homeowner expectations and Emblem’s obligations under the Tarion New Home Warranty Program.
Prior to her arrival at Emblem, Bonnie was responsible for the Customer Care at a prominent Toronto condominium development firm and brings with her an in-depth understanding of deficiency management and a strong dedication to elevating the customer experience. Some of the projects Bonnie was responsible for include: CASA, CASA II, CASA III, NXT I, NXT II, MYC Condos, 1000 BAY and VOX Condos.
Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto
Vivien manages project accounting for EMBLEM Developments. She brings 20 years’ experience from both banking and real estate development industries. Prior to joining EMBLEM, Vivien had managed multiple billion-dollar development budgets and overseen accounting throughout project life cycle from acquisition to final closing.
Vivien is a registered CPA in the USA and holds the CFP designation in Canada. She completed her MBA with Schulich School of Business and has a bachelor’s degree in international economics.
Glen has 15 years experience of international experience delivering a diverse portfolio of large scale developments in the UK, Middle East and Canada. He brings his depth of expertise in the construction of complex residential and mixed-use projects to EMBLEM Developments.
Glen is responsible for project management of EMBLEM’s developments including the management of tendering, scheduling, construction, commissioning and occupancy of the project.
Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, Glen fulfilled different roles including Project Manager in Multiplex Construction Canada, a subsidiary of Brookfield, where he worked on high-rise residential and commercial projects. Glen also draws experience in working as a consultant Project Manager for Turner & Townsend in Canada, Contract Administrator for CCC in Qatar and 5 years as a Project Manager in the UK.
Glen holds a Post Graduate Cert. in Construction Law & Arbitration from Robert Gordon University in Scotland, a Post Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying from Heriot Watt University in Scotland and a Diploma in Business Property Management form Sheffield Hallam University in England.
Paride brings 15 years of international experience in real estate project design and development. He has worked on a variety of challenging projects including high-rise developments in New York City, Europe and the Middle East.
Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, Paride was the Project Director for Engineering at Katara Hospitality, a major hotel owner, developer, and operator in Qatar. He was responsible for overseeing and directing the engineering design of the company’s portfolio of new developments and major renovations. Some of the projects Paride has worked on include the Plaza Hotel in New York City, the Katara Towers and Doha Marriott in Qatar, the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes in France, and the Langham Palm Jumeirah Five Star Resort in Dubai.
Paride holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Padua, Italy. He is a Chartered Engineer in the UK, a registered Professional Engineer in Italy, a Six Sigma Green Belt, a Project Management Professional and a LEED Accredited Professional.
Nicholas has over 18 years experience in construction management. At EMBLEM, he manages the construction phase of developments as well as assisting the design, leasing, and property management teams.
He has managed projects as an owner’s representative for major real estate developers for half of his career and managed projects for general contractors for the other half. His exposure to construction from both sides of the table; and, often working with tight budgets has developed his pragmatic approach to problem solving, conflict resolution, and a passion for value engineering.
Nicholas has worked on multiple mid-rise residential and office buildings in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, and in Montreal. Some of these include 545 Rideau apartments, LINITIAL retirement residence, TELUS office tower, and the Hagen Group office building. He also worked for Smart Centres REIT, managing the construction of many commercial real estate developments throughout Eastern Canada.
Nicholas holds a Diploma and certificate of completion of the Residential Building Inspection Program from Vanier College in Montreal. He is an Architectural Technologist and LEED® Accredited Professional.
Sarah has been working in marketing and communications within the commercial real estate industry for the past 3 years. In her role, Sarah is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of the marketing and communication initiatives for EMBLEM Developments.
Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, Sarah worked in the real estate division of Manulife Investment Management. There, she was responsible for managing and creating content for their digital platforms and assisting in the creation of leasing, property management and sustainability marketing collateral.
Sarah holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree with a marketing specialization from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Herthana brings her 6 years of experience in handling a variety of development approvals including Official Plan Amendments to Site Plan Control applications to EMBLEM Developments. In her role, she applies her knowledge and enthusiasm to help manage EMBLEM’s development projects through the approvals and construction process.
Prior to joining EMBLEM, Herthana was a Planner at Menkes Developments in the City of Toronto. She has worked on number of challenging projects in the GTA, with a focus in Toronto.
Herthana holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University.
Rose has 9 years real estate development and 8 years real estate commercial real estate accounting experience.
Prior to joining Emblem Developments, Rose was the Project Accountant of Concord Adex Inc., where she managed high rise residential development project.
Rose holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from De La University-Dasmarinas and a CPA in the Philippines.
Artur brings over 5 years of experience in real estate development and finance to EMBLEM Developments. In his role, Artur is involved in all finance related activities across the different stages of a development.
Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, Artur worked on the Investments and Development team at SmartCentres REIT where he was involved in the analysis of numerous mixed-use development projects throughout the GTA and Western Canada.
Artur holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from Schulich School of Business, with a Dual specialization in Finance and Real Estate.
Diana has over 7 years of experience working in the accounts payable department for different real estate developers. Prior to joining Emblem Developments, she worked for First Capital Realty and Camrost-Felcorp. Diana began her career in the purchasing department for a telecommunications company Etapatelecom.
Diana’s holds an Accounting Diploma from Seneca College and an Economics Degree from la Universidad de Cuenca, Ecuador.
Julie has a passion for Real Estate Development and has been in the Real Estate industry for over 2 years. Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, Julie was an administrator at Milborne Group where she worked on EMBLEM’s launch of ARTFORM Condos and 1 Jarvis Condos. She has also worked on other sales launches which include: River & Fifth Condos by Broccolini, 9th & Main Condos & Towns by The Pemberton Group, and The Davis Residences at Bakerfield by The Rose Corporation.
Julie holds a Diploma from The Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology.
Fana has over 3 years of executive experience across industries including real estate and investment management. Prior to joining EMBLEM Developments, she worked at BMO Nesbitt Burns where she was responsible for organizing and co-ordinating the days of the Equity Research team members. She supported several analysts within the mining, banks and REIT sectors.
Fana holds a Diploma from Sheridan College in Chemical Engineering Technology.
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
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.