Jean-Guy Desjardins, Chairman, CEO and chief investment officer of Montreal-based Fiera Sceptre Inc., has been named the 2010 Quebec Financial Person of the Year by Montreal-based financial newspaper Finance et Investissement for his entrepreneurial contributions to the investment-management industry.
The annual award recognizes the top economic and financial newsmaker of the year — chosen by a jury made up of independent financial experts as well as reporters and editors from financial publications Les Affaires and FI. The latter is Investment Executive‘s sister publication.
Desjardins made headlines in 2010 when Montreal-based Fiera Capital Inc. — the investment-management firm that he founded in 2003 — merged with Toronto-based Sceptre Investment Counsel Ltd. to create one of the largest independent money-management firms in Canada, with $30.8 billion in assets under management.
The newly combined full-service investment-management firm has offices in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Waterloo, Ont., and more than 160 employees. Fiera Sceptre’s clients include institutional investors, mutual funds, charitable organizations and high net-worth individuals, and the firm’s investment strategies include a combination of equities, fixed-income and alternative asset classes.
The merger followed several years of rapid growth for Fiera Capital under Desjardins’ leadership. He had launched the firm upon acquiring roughly $5 billion in AUM from Elantis Investment Management Inc., a division of Lévis, Que.-based Desjardins Group. Between 2003 and 2010, Fiera Capital’s AUM reached more than $23 billion, through both organic growth and acquisitions.
In a recent interview with FI, Desjardins said much more growth is in store for Fiera Sceptre. In fact, he intends to double the value of the company within the next five years. This year, the firm plans to open its first office outside of Canada — in New York — in an effort to begin building a base of clients in the U.S.
This isn’t the first time Desjardins has spearheaded an ambitious growth strategy for an asset-management firm. Early in his career, he co‑founded TAL Global Asset Management Inc., which grew into a successful money-management firm that was eventually purchased by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 2001.
“He’s responsible for two of the biggest independent fund companies in Montreal,” says Christian Benoît-Lapointe, FI‘s editor-in-chief, who was a member of the jury that selected Desjardins. “We wanted to celebrate his entrepreneurship.”
Other highlights of Desjardins’ career include serving on the board of directors of the Bank of Canada for five years, acting as lead director in 2007. He was also chairman of the special committee responsible for recruiting current BofC Governor Mark Carney.
Outside of Desjardins’ role at Fiera Sceptre, he is involved in a range of other business, arts and charity activities. He sits on the boards of directors for such organizations as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. IE