Our Leadership

Executive Team

Financial Horizons Group is led by a team of seasoned, dynamic professional with a wealth of experience in the financial sector.
These executives lead a team of over 300 employees across the country to provide the efficient and professional service advisors need to succeed in their business.

+ biography Photo of John Hamilton

John H. Hamilton


Founder & Chief Executive Officer

John H. Hamilton

John H. Hamilton, CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., entered the financial services industry in 1978 as a life insurance advisor. He developed a specialty for estate and retirement planning; putting on seminars for both corporate and individual clients.

In 1983, John was appointed Branch Manager of the Standard Life brokerage office in Kitchener-Waterloo, with the agenda to market Standard Life’s product and services to agents and brokers throughout Southwestern Ontario. Over the ensuing 15 years, the office became Standard Life’s flagship in terms of new premium and service.

In 1990, John formed his own company, Financial Horizons Incorporated, to facilitate his growing seminar business. In 1999, Financial Horizons Group was established to have Managing General Agency (MGA) contracts with Canada Life, Maritime Life, CNA Life, and Standard Life, to provide full scale brokerage services to over 300 advisors in Ontario. Today, Financial Horizons Group represents all of the life companies in Canada who have an MGA channel, and supports over 6000 advisors.

John obtained his Honours BA. from the University of Waterloo in 1973, his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation in 1983, his Chartered Financial Consultant (CH.F.C.) designation in 1989, and his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in 1997.

John is very active in the industry and his community. He was formerly on the Board of Directors for Advocis after having served as President of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter in 1991. John is also a past President of the Cambridge Minor Hockey Association, and has coached several sports teams over the years.

John is married and has 2 sons, Chris and Justin, who are both graduates of the University of Western Ontario, who have joined John in the business. The whole family is very active in sports, including golf, hockey, and skiing.

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David Stewart


President & Chief Operating Officer, MGA Services and the Ontario Region

David Stewart

Upon graduating from Laurentian University in 1987 David was recruited as an agent for Prudential of America where he experienced success as a leading rookie in Sudbury, Ontario. In 1989 David was approached by the company to begin his career in Sales management. David led sales teams in Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Oakville.

In 1995, David joined Wise Riddell Financial Group as a Brokerage Manager making partner in 1998. Under his leadership David developed a boutique approach to helping advisors work with the affluent market. In 2005 David was appointed as the Vice President of Sales for Performins Canada and in 2010 was appointed to President and COO of the company.

David has learned the needs of advisors and has worked diligently to build processes, systems and support within an MGA environment to help advisors support their clients. Knowledge, passion, and commitment to success are the drivers that David brings to all that he does.

He is actively involved in ADVOCIS as a past chapter president, a member of CALU, sits on the Board of CAILBA, and is a standing member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Now David works as the Executive Vice-President, Sales of the MGA channel of Financial Horizons Group. David is married to his wife Maggie and they have 4 children and 3 grandchildren.

+ biography Photo of Patricia Ziegler

Patricia Ziegler


President & Chief Operating Officer, Continuum Financial Centres Inc. and Structured Settlements

Patricia Ziegler

Patricia holds the role of President & Chief Operating Officer, Continuum Financial Centres Inc. and Structured Settlements, and has over 20 years of financial services experience. Since beginning her insurance career in a Prudential branch office in Stratford, she has since worked as a Sales Manager and Wholesaler for Canada Life Assurance Company, a Director for Gryphin Advantage Incorporated. Patricia joined Financial Horizons Group from Sun Life Financial in Waterloo where she held 4 senior leadership roles in New Business & Underwriting, Wholesale Distribution, Long Term Care Insurance, and Marketing. 

Beyond her vast and considerable working experience, she has demonstrated an equally impressive commitment to professional development through industry recognized educational programs. Patricia holds the following designations: Chartered Health Specialist (CHS), Elder Planning Counselor (EPC), Fellow Life Management Institute (FLMI), Associate Customer Service (ACS), Associate Insurance Agency Administration (AIAA), and Associate Reinsurance Administration (ARA). She has also earned a Masters Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), and Advanced Diploma of Business Administration (AdBA); all while holding an active Life and Health/Accident Insurance license.

Patricia received the CEO Award of Excellence for Sun Life Financial (2008), and has twice been named one of Canada’s 50 most influential women in insurance (2014 distinction in both Quebec and the rest of Canada). She has been quoted in numerous publications, including: The Canadian Business Journal, The Insurance and Investment Journal, Legacy Giving, and Motivated magazine. As a result of her experience, she has become well known for her work in leading organizations through change and culture shifts by engaging employees. The topic of change is also prominent in Patricia’s first published book: The Tingle Effect: Perspectives on Work and Life. The Tingle Effect is a must-read for anyone entering a period of change in their life or looking to take control of their life path. It has been nominated for Best Self Help book, Best Coffee Table book, and Best Cover, and won the silver award for Best Self Help. 

Patricia is married, resides in Kitchener, has 2 young daughters, and still finds the time to give back to the community. Some of her notable involvements include:  Board member for Drayton Entertainment, the Past-President for the Golden Triangle Advocis Board of Directors, the Governance Board of Directors for APEXA and past Board member for the Hospice of Waterloo. She is also an active member of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada; an Extraordinary minister who provides communion to her Parish, as well as to the terminally ill at Grand River and Freeport Hospitals; and an active member of Advocis (the Financial Advisors Association of Canada), GAMA Canada (the General Agents and Managers Association), an Affiliate member of GAMA USA, and an active member of The Institute for Advanced Financial Education.

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Marc Lantaigne


Chief Financial Officer

Marc Lantaigne

Marc Lantaigne joined Financial Horizons Group in 2012 to support the firm’s ambitious growth plans. Marc is fluently bilingual and has more than 20 years of financial management experience in progressive management positions in construction, manufacturing, technology, and transportation industries.

Marc obtained his BA in Economics from the University of Western Ontario in 1989, his Graduate Diploma in Accounting from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1992, and his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation in 1995.

Marc represents FHG on the Board of the Canadian Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies in the position of Treasurer.

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Will Chang


Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

Will Chang

Will has practiced commercial law for over 20 years.  He spent the first 6 years of his legal career at large law firms – first Gowlings, then McMillan LLP – before moving in-house.  His in-house roles have included General Counsel at Thomas Cook, Head of Legal at Transat Holidays and General Counsel at Granite Global Solutions.  As Executive Vice-President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Will is responsible for the legal affairs of the Financial Horizons Group of Companies and for acquiring new businesses.

Will was named “Activist of the Year” by NOW magazine and one of Canada’s “Top 20 Catalysts In Entertainment” by the Toronto Star.  At age 24, Will became the youngest ever instructor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he served as an Adjunct Professor of Law for 15 years teaching a course on negotiation.  Will enjoys pro bono work, has been a leading activist for a variety of causes, and sat for six years on the Board of Directors of FoodShare.

Will obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1996 and completed his undergraduate studies at The University of Western Ontario.

Will and his wife, Jane, have two young children: one daughter and one son.

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Paul Isaacson


President, Western Region

Paul Isaacson

With over 30 years in the financial services industry, Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and a full understanding of our business to Financial Horizons Group. He has experience in key insurance and investment distribution channels, with a strong track record of success.

For the past two years as President of a large, national MGA, Paul provided leadership to the Executive Team through development and execution of both short and long term strategic plans. He provided directional leadership nationally, and was responsible for the overall financial results, operational performance, and sales and distribution goals, including managing relationships with independent Advisors and suppliers.

Prior to this role, Paul was a Senior Vice-President, Distribution & Sales with a national wealth management distribution company, offering a full suite of financial products and services with 2400 licensed advisors. In this role, Paul provided leadership nationally for the MGA, MFDA, and IIROC divisions of the company. As a member of the Executive Team, Paul was a key contributor to the development of the company’s strategic plans and initiatives.

Paul also had a 20 year career with a large insurance company where he was successful in growing business throughout Alberta and British Columbia.

Paul has a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF) designation, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Financial Planners Standards Council of Canada for five years from 2005-2010. He brings an extraordinary wealth of expertise in both life insurance and financial services in order to develop and support sales and marketing of all products and services for the Western Region.

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James McMahon


President, Quebec Region, President, Excel Private Wealth

James McMahon

As President, Quebec Region for Financial Horizons Group, one of the most dynamic financial services practices in Quebec, James McMahon has a passion for sales. He is a great leader and respected businessman in the financial services sector.

In 1978, on the advice of his friend Daniel Labonté (then director of Économie Mutuelle) who would quickly also become his mentor, McMahon moved into the insurance industry. He quickly cut his teeth and climbed the ladder of success, thanks to his relentless work ethic and exceptional people skills. In 1990, he became stockholder of Fortier & Labonté, which would go on to become Force Financière Excel, one of the leading brokerage firms in Quebec.

The company continued to develop in high gear by leveraging its personalised service with a dozen acquisitions throughout Quebec over the span of 30 years. Firmly established in Quebec with seven regional offices and a sales force of 2,400 brokers, Force Financière Excel enjoyed an excellent reputation based on the expertise of its brokers, its unparalleled service, its global financial offerings and its ethical practices.

Wishing to increase the size and performance of his firm, James sought out a Canadian business partner with whom to join forces. He ultimately chose to unite Force Financière Excel with Financial Horizons Group, the primary managing general agency (MGA) in Canada in 2012. In doing so, he became President, Quebec Region for Financial Horizons Group.

Thriving on professional challenges, James now directs his development efforts on the basis of the financial coaching approach, required to guarantee both the value of counselling and the future of the financial sector – two of the industry’s major issues. Each day, James carries out his duties with his characteristic dedication and enthusiasm.

+ biography Photo of Chris Valardo

Chris Valardo


President, Atlantic Region

Chris Valardo

Chris Valardo is a graduate of Mount Allison University, holding a BA in Commerce. He obtained his CFP in 2008.

Chris joined the financial services industry in 1990 as sales representative for Canada Life. By 1995, he was named a Sales Supervisor.

In 1997, Chris joined Manulife Financial as the Sales Manager for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Shortly thereafter, he was named Branch Manager for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. In 2002, Chris was named Regional Vice President of Sales for Atlantic Canada.

Chris joined Financial Horizons Group in 2007 as the Managing Partner for Atlantic Canada, building the Atlantic Branch from the ground up to create one of the largest MGAs in Atlantic Canada. In 2014, Chris became the President, Atlantic Region for FHG.

Chris has had a successful career as a financial advisor. He has been a Top of the Table MDRT producer, and is a multiple conference qualifier with 4 separate life insurance companies.

Chris has been married to his wife Leslie for 25 years, and together they have raised two children. Chris is heavily involved in football, sitting on the Board of Football Canada, and Football NS, and coaching high school football for over 20 years. Chris is passionate about working with youth in the community.

+ biography Photo of Steve Doede

Steve Doede


Chief Administration Officer

Steve Doede

Steve has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry as a senior leader in technology and operations. As the Chief Administration Officer, he oversees the operations for all lines of business across Canada. Prior to his role with Financial Horizons Group, Steve was the CIO at Granite Global Solutions and a Board Member at Comtech Credit Union. Steve holds an MBA from the University of Toronto, and is an Adjunct Professor at Nipissing University and the Managing Partner of Pinder-Doede Consulting Inc.

+ biography Photo of Tony Ryan

Tony Ryan


Senior Vice President, Advisor Services

Tony Ryan

Tony Ryan entered the Life Insurance business in 1983, joining London Life in Brantford, Ontario. He was a Life agent with London Life for 5 years before entering their management program. As a Sales Manager, he was responsible for the recruiting, training, and development of new agents, as well as providing sales support for the experienced agents.

Tony joined Canada Life in 1998 as a brokerage representative to work with independent advisors, introducing them to Canada Life products and earning a share of their business.

He then joined Financial Horizons Group in 2000 in its very early years with less than 100 advisors and one office based in Kitchener. Tony’s main role was to help the growth of the MGA business through recruiting new advisors and bringing carriers to the company.

Tony has been a member of Advocis and served on the board of the local chapter in Brantford. He enjoys outdoor activities, especially chasing lost, or near lost, golf balls.

+ biography Photo of Christina Waite

Christina Waite


Vice-President, Human Resources

Christina Waite

Christina is responsible for overall human resources, payroll, benefits, pension and internal communications for all divisions across Canada, including leading all human resource acquisition activities. Christina has over 20 years’ experience in human resources with a track record of creating and implementing cohesive best in class programs and practices that support an organization’s strategic direction while driving employee engagement and commitment. Fully bilingual, Christina is certified as a Human Resources leader.

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Nina Kavalinas


Director, National Compliance

Nina Kavalinas

Nina is responsible for all aspects of the MGA and Advisor compliance programs, focusing on policies and procedures, investigations, responding to regulatory inquiries and audits, reporting and liaising with Advisors.

She has held a variety of roles in the insurance and financial services industry over the past 30 years, working in the retail branch and head offices of several major insurers within their Canadian and U.S. operations.  Such roles include Compliance, Investigations, Fraud and Risk mitigation, Claims, Underwriting, and Project Management.

Nina’s goal is to foster an atmosphere of partnership with Sales Management, Advisors and the MGA as she believes the best compliance program is proactive, and not reactive.

On the personal side, Nina is an advocate of youth in organized play, maintaining both an executive and volunteer role for youth in sports. Part of her responsibilities in these roles include compliance, sanctions for violations, and ensuring safe play in sporting activities.