Former federal finance minister Joe Oliver is joining Toronto-based Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. as non-executive chairman of the board, succeeding Campbell Deacon, who will continue with Echelon as a special advisor.

As chairman, Oliver will take a leadership role in addressing the issues of independent financial services firms, including regulatory policy, emerging-market and industry trends, technological innovation, as well as the deepening challenge of capital formation for small- and mid-cap Canadian innovation companies. Oliver will also be involved in client relationship activities and represent the firm at industry events.

“We are absolutely delighted that someone of Mr. Oliver’s scope and depth of knowledge, wisdom and experience has chosen to join our firm,” says David Cusson, CEO of Echelon, which has approximately 100 advisors and portfolio managers representing 70 teams with more than $4 billion in assets under administration and management, in a statement. “With Joe aboard, we will have a strong voice representing the value of robust independent investment firms in Canadian capital markets.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to work with experienced professionals dedicated to growing an independent investment firm that serves both the investing public and the innovative companies in Canada seeking capital and advice,” Oliver adds in a statement.

During his career in the financial services sector, Oliver served as president and CEO of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada (IDA), was founding president and CEO of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association, chairman of the International Securities Commissions’ consultative committee and served as executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission. He held senior positions in investment banking operations at Merrill Lynch Royal Securities, Nesbitt Thomson, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and First Marathon Securities.

Deacon, Echelon’s founding chairman, is stepping back for health reasons but will remain involved with the firm. He has spent more than 30 years with private and public companies in Canada and internationally as a director or an officer. His former industry roles include: chairman of the IDA, governor of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and a member of the Toronto Stock Exchange’s listings committee.

“The success of Echelon is becoming very apparent to many in our industry and it was important to set the bar high in finding a successor,” Deacon says in a statement. “David Cusson and I agreed that that there was no better Canadian suited to become the chairman of a growing, independent, integrated firm than Joe Oliver. He will be an outstanding resource to our firm and our board.”

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