People

The Odlum Brown portfolio manager, director and investment advisor is keen on introducing and helping young people get into the investment industry

By Tessie Sanci |

Christina Anthony

Have a quick look at Christina Anthony's resumé and it's easy to understand why the Toronto-based Investment Industry Association of Canada's (IIAC) gave the portfolio manager, director and investment advisor at Odlum Brown Ltd. in Vancouver the IIAC 2015 Top Under 40 award on Thursday.

The award was presented at the IIAC's Hall of Fame gala in Toronto, which honoured inductees for their lifelong contributions to the investment industry.

See: 2015 IIAC Hall of Fame inductees announced

Anthony, who recently turned 40, already had two internships under her belt before the age of 21 with Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management, a part of Deutsche Bank AG, in Frankfurt and Phillips, Hager and North Investment Management Ltd. (PH&N) in Vancouver, which is now integrated into Toronto-based RBC Global Asset Management Inc.

Following Anthony's graduation from the portfolio management foundation program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, her first job was as a debt capital markets analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York. She was 21 years old.

Anthony's first taste of working in retail investment management happened three years later, at the age of 24, when she helped open Goldman Sachs' Seattle office in 2000.

"I started managing money for high net-worth individuals and taking all of the experience I had on the investment banking side and trading side and applying it to [analyzing] companies, [building] portfolios and [managing] money," she says.

Two years later, in 2002, Anthony, a chartered financial analyst, moved back to Vancouver to join Odlum Brown, a firm she felt would provide her with the best resources to conduct her customized style of portfolio management.

Specifically, she offers fee-based discretionary portfolio management for high net-worth individuals, corporations, foundations and trusts. She uses both equities and bonds, looking for diverse high-quality securities.

However, Anthony's job description extends beyond that of "stock-picker."  She builds strong relationships with her clients and ensures she understands their priorities and how their unique financial situations affect their personal lives.

Anthony's dedication to her clients is just one reason why Debra Hewson, Odlum Brown's president and CEO, nominated Anthony on behalf of the firm for the IIAC Top Under 40 award, which is sponsored by the Toronto-based Smarten Up Institute and presented by the IIAC.

"Any firm wants to have advisors who are smart, hard-working and engaged not only with their clients but with the community around them," says Hewson.  "To me, Christina just personifies that."

Anthony's community involvement is one that extends beyond Vancouver. In 2002, she founded the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), a non-profit organization that assists women entrepreneurs in Canada. She is chairwoman of the board for the organization, which connects participants with mentors and provides educational programs that discuss topics such as marketing, raising capital and making sales.

Anthony is proud of the success that the program has achieved, which has more than 250 graduates. Those women have exhibited an average of more than 40% in annualized revenue growth since participating in the program, she says.

In addition to her leadership role at FWE, Anthony also makes time to mentor, an activity that is a critical part of her personal and professional life.

"I really believe in education and practical education, dating back to the internships I have had," says Anthony. "I think that people learn best by being mentored or being taught by others who have been there or done that."

Anthony plays a part in helping young people who are looking to break into the financial services industry. She is involved in a UBC program called "Wall Street 101" in which she talks to students about the investment industry, such as the different types of jobs available and the skills those jobs require.

This type of knowledge allows students to speak more eloquently during job interviews about the positions they are interested in, she says.

Anthony also has an open-door policy for young professionals and students looking to make their mark in this competitive industry. In fact, she makes every effort to meet and help those young people, whether it's offering advice or going out on a limb for them. Often, she meets someone who asks her to make a phone call and connect him or her to a peer in the industry. Anthony will make that call right there and then, she says.

Her constant engagement with others astounds John Montalbano, vice chairman with RBC Wealth Management (a part of Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada) and a former colleague at PH&N.

"Whatever community she goes into, whether it's a corporate community or [a city like Vancouver], she has this immediate impact on people and her community," he says. "I just get winded when I think of how much she does."

Anthony's accomplishments include raising four children, being a success as an advisor and director for her firm, and starting a woman's professional networking group that's unrivalled in the city, Montalbano says.

Although this is not the first honour Anthony has received — her accolades include being chosen to carry the torch in Vancouver prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics in recognition of her community involvement — it is one of the first times she has been acknowledged by her own industry. This means a lot to Anthony because she loves her career and chosen industry, she says.

The honour's emphasis on age has also reminded the advisor, who loves to sing, of a Frank Sinatra classic, "The best is yet to come," that she and her husband performed at their wedding 15 years ago.

"It is inspiring because I feel thankful and grateful for the career I have had so far. But, also, this honour has made me realize that more than half of my career is still to come," she says. "It made me realize that there are more interesting times [ahead] for my family, life, business and in the markets in general, which I find fascinating."

Photo source: Odlum Brown