Sent on behalf of David Stewart, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
I have two important updates to share about our leadership in Quebec.
James McMahon has announced his intention to retire from his role as President, Quebec Region at the end of the calendar year and Denis Blackburn has been appointed as his successor. It’s true, we’re going from strength to strength in Quebec.
Many have benefited from James' leadership and understanding of the profession. James cherishes the relationships he has built with advisors over the course of his career, and I truly hope that you had the opportunity to get to know him.
I am also confident in the value that Denis is going to bring to advisors. Indeed, James is too—the two leaders have known each other for over 20 years. Denis joins us after holding the national role of Vice President, Sales Performance and Network Management at Desjardins.
James and Denis will work together, and with other members of our Quebec region and national leadership teams, in order to provide the highest level of service to advisors.
James began his career in the financial services industry in 1978 and became stockholder of Fortier & Labonté in 1990, which would go on to become Force Financière Excel. After great success as the organization’s leader, James and Force Financière Excel joined Financial Horizons Group in 2012. James has held the title of President, Quebec Region ever since.
Even with his tremendous success, James remains eminently humble. He is quick to state that he would not have enjoyed the career he had, if not for the talent, expertise, and engagement of the staff, advisors, and business partners he has worked with along the way. I speak not only for myself, but also for the entire team, in thanking James for his contribution to the organization and industry as a whole.
Upon asking James what he’s looking forward to in retirement, he provided an inspiring answer—he’s “going back to the best profession in the world”. He intends to return to being a financial advisor, supporting his spouse, Jacinthe Saint-Onge, an advisor with a longstanding relationship with our organization. James is particularly excited to coach Jacinthe’s daughter, Marina Longpré, who intends to take over the firm in a few years.
We are excited for James, and indeed, he is excited for you. James is adamant that good things are on the horizon for our advisors, citing the work being done to leverage new technologies and expertise across the country. In his remaining time with the organization, James will hold the title of Special Advisor, Quebec Region, and spend his time helping Denis gain a lay of the land.
Denis joins us as a proven leader with over 30 years of industry experience and a passion for working with advisors.
Most recently, Denis held the national role of Vice president, Sales Performance and Network Management at Desjardins. Before that, Denis spent 20 years at National Bank in a series of roles of increasing responsibility, culminating in a role leading the company’s insurance firm. Throughout his career, Denis has developed strong relationships with elite advisors and numerous insurance companies.
We are confident that Denis will be a great fit for our organization and a great partner to advisors. When he was first contacted about the opportunity to join our team, he was excited for the ability to help independent advisors grow their businesses. Simultaneously impressed by the independence we afford and able to identify new opportunities to add value to advisors, Denis is a welcome addition to our team.
A true Québécois, Denis understands the unique needs of advisors in the province. He knows that an advisor in Vancouver is different than an advisor in Sherbrooke, and that there are even differences from city to city within Quebec. He is eager to bring that understanding to our offering and deliver the personalized support advisors need today.