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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 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.

Leah Leah Boyd JD, GCB.D President

As president, Leah serves as a strategic advisor to the CEO while ensuring excellence across the firm’s business and operations.

Previously, Leah served on the Executive Committee and the Investment Committee, and held various roles, including head of firm management, general counsel, and chief compliance officer. Before this, Leah was a partner with Goodmans LLP, a leading Canadian law firm, where her practice focused on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and advising family offices.

Leah has gained recognition for mid-market excellence by the Canadian General Counsel Awards and as a changemaker by Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers.

Leah holds a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Toronto. Called to the Ontario Bar in 2008, she is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.

Leah is happiest with her husband and two children out in nature. She also enjoys theatre, travel, and giving back to her community through board and volunteer work.

Brian Brian Madden CFA, CFP, CIM Chief Investment Officer

Brian co-founded STYLUS Asset Management, 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 as Chair on the CFA Society Toronto Board of Directors. Brian also holds the CFP and CIM designations. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1997 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and currently serves on the university's Governing Council.

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 Joseph Chiu CPA, CA Chief Operating Officer and 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 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.

David David Fleck ICD.D Principal, Private Client Group

David Fleck has more than 35 years of capital markets experience including previously serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of Macquarie Capital Markets Ltd., Co-Head Equity Products and Executive Managing Director of the BMO Financial Group, and President of Mapleridge Capital Corp. He is a former Partner and Senior Vice President of Delaney Capital Management and Co-President of Forthlane Partners. Mr. Fleck is Vice Chair of Soulpepper Theatre’s Advisory Committee and a member of the Foundation Board for the Art Gallery of Ontario. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from INSEAD School of Business. Mr. Fleck also holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

michael-mcfaul Michael McFaul CMC, ICD.D Executive, Corporate Development

Michael is an experienced global international executive who has enjoyed a remarkable four-decade career leading large-scale transformation programs for clients across multiple industries. He has led many challenging, large-scale programs in multi-stakeholder environments across 26 global geographies and cultures (including Canada, US, UK, Chile, Germany, Netherlands, France, India, Switzerland and Singapore).

He recently retired from Deloitte, having served as a senior advisor to client CEO’s and Boards. He also served on Deloitte’s Board for 8 years, with key roles as Chair or Co-Chair on numerous committees including: Governance; Leader & Talent; Strategy, Ethics and Risk; Finance, Investments & Capital; and a DE&I Working Group. Michael held numerous executive roles with Deloitte including member of the Global Life Sciences & Health Care Executive, European Management Committee (operating across 15 countries for 5 years), Consulting Clients & Industries Leader and Director Operations – Ontario and Quebec regions.

Michael has exceptionally strong client relationship skills, with a proven track-record for bringing creative change strategies to solve complex client issues.

Sammir 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.

Michael 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 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.

Jason Jason Hunt CFP, CIM, CIWM Portfolio Manager, Private Client Group

Jason is a portfolio manager, responsible for working with First Avenue investors to manage their wealth. He also supports the Principal, Family Office Practice by working with clients and collaborating with their Advisory Board.

He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) practitioner, Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®), Certified International Wealth Manager, and working towards his Chartered Financial Analyst charter (L2 exam completed). He is a graduate of the University of Ottawa (2012, Summa Cum Laude – Silver Medalist). Jason has been recognized by Wealth Professional Magazine as the Rising Star Advisor of the Year (2023).

Jason is active in supporting the financial planning profession and the community. He has volunteered with the FP Canada Standards Council, most recently chairing the Qualified Associate Financial Planner (QAFP®) exam panel. He also serves on the advisory board of the finance program at the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. Jason serves the board of directors as the treasurer of Options Bytown, an Ottawa based not-for-profit seeking to permanently house the chronically under-housed in the city of Ottawa.

IAN Ian Chong CPA, CA, CFA Portfolio Manager

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 Brandon Thimer CFA Senior Analyst, Alternative Investments

Brandon supports all facets of the alternative investments platform at First Avenue Investment Counsel. 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 Bushra Ahmed CPA, CGA 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 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.

JULIE Julie Li CFP, CIM Financial Planner, 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.

Connor Connor Duncan CIM Senior Manager, Compliance

Connor joined First Avenue Investment Counsel in 2017 as part of the Family Office practice in serving some of our largest and most complex clients. In building on this experience, Connor has since assumed progressively greater responsibilities in supporting our operations and compliance verticals. As a Senior Manager, he plays a pivotal role in nurturing a culture of compliance while also supporting an outstanding client experience.

Connor is a Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®). Connor also has specialized training in planning and compliance, having received a Certificate in Investment Dealer Compliance (CIDC) and Certificate in Advanced Investment Advice. He stays at the forefront of regulatory and industry trends as a member of the Portfolio Management Association of Canada.

Away from the firm, he embraces a life enriched by diverse interests. He finds relaxation in the outdoors at his cottage in Calabogie and enjoys exploring new travel destinations with his wife. He is an amateur beekeeper and his colleagues would all agree he is an excellent cook.

Venusha Venusha Selvendrarajah CPA, CA, CFE Senior Manager, Finance

Venusha provides essential support for the finance and reporting functions at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc. With an extensive background spanning over a decade in the finance industry, she has garnered invaluable experience at institutions such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, CIBC, Bank of Montreal, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Throughout her career, Venusha has demonstrated her expertise in catering to the needs of asset managers, capital markets, wealth management, and pension clients. Venusha is a CPA, CA, CFE with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Specialization in Accounting from Wilfrid Laurier University and has a keen focus in governance, financial and operational controls. 

Beyond her professional commitments, Venusha finds fulfillment in spending quality time with her loved ones, baking, exploring new destinations through travel, and embracing physical challenges as an ardent fitness enthusiast.

Charlotte Charlotte Hunter Manager, Marketing and Communications

Charlotte is a Marketing and Communications professional with nearly a decade supporting finance and technology businesses. She specializes in creative direction and production, brand management, investor relations, public relations, sponsorships, events, corporate social responsibility, and diversity and inclusion. Her passion for arts and culture while keeping up to date with marketing trends allows her to drive creative and effective solutions.

Charlotte holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Communications from Ted Rogers School of Business Management at Ryerson University. Outside of the office, she lives by health and wellness and enjoys travelling and her performing arts hobby.

Ethan Ethan Cummings Associate

Ethan strives to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. Having grown up in a family business, he recognizes the importance of sound financial advice and the positive impact it has on families at every stage of life. Prior to joining First Avenue, Ethan was one of eight graduates selected to complete the CIBC Private Wealth Management Rotational Program. Throughout his time at CIBC, Ethan worked with Strategic Initiatives and Business Intelligence, Private Banking, and CIBC Wood Gundy Advisory. Ethan is currently working towards becoming a Portfolio Manager.

During his time at Western University, Ethan was one of six students that received a scholarship to complete his level one CFA exam. In his free time, Ethan enjoys travelling, golfing, and trying new restaurants.

Kim Piche Kim Piche Associate

Prior to joining First Avenue, Kim spent four years at CIBC, where she served as an Associate Business Advisor. In this role, she managed a portfolio of business owners and entrepreneurs. Kim was responsible for small business financing, analyzing financial reporting, investing, and handling day-to-day business banking. Her experience in assisting business owners has allowed Kim to develop a deep appreciation for simplifying matters for her clients, enabling them to prioritize what is most valuable to them: their businesses and families.

Kim holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in Management, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the University of Ottawa (2021). She is an athlete who has played division one soccer and basketball. Kim is proud to be able to serve her clients in both English and French, having been born and raised in Victoriaville, Québec. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, boating, skiing, and spending time with her family.

Vanessa Vanessa Rioux Administrative Associate

In her role, Vanessa provides exceptional client services and administrative support to the advisory team.

Vanessa is a seasoned professional in finance supporting top-tier hospitality businesses, including the Hazelton Hotel, where she focused on delivering 5-star client experiences. Her diverse background in finance, hospitality, and the arts gives her an edge in detail-oriented and creative problem-solving. Her refined customer service skills have provided her with the analytical tools required to seamlessly integrate operations with client services.

Vanessa is a graduate of the Material Art and Design Metalsmithing & Jewellery diploma program. She perseveres in expanding her knowledge of the financial industry through continued courses.

In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, fitness, felting, metalsmithing and spending time with her family.

Steph Stephanie Cole Executive Assistant to the CEO

Stephanie is a tenured executive assistant with over 13 years of experience in the field. She has worked with top-level executives in various industries, including retail and healthcare. Her expertise lies in managing complex schedules, organizing meetings, and handling confidential information. She is known for her exceptional communication skills, attention to detail, and ability to work under pressure.

Stephanie has a proven track record of providing high-quality administrative support to senior executives. She is adept at anticipating their needs and ensuring that their day-to-day operations run smoothly. Her experience includes managing travel arrangements, planning events and office management.

Stephanie holds a diploma in Business Management from Humber College. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, travelling and cooking.

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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