The Institute

The Institute for Advanced Financial Education (The Institute), provides a platform of standards and advanced knowledge through designation programs and accreditation services.

With over 5,000 CLU, CHS, CH.F.C., and PFA designates in good standing across Canada, The Institute is the leading designation body in Canada for financial services practitioners in the specialty areas of Advanced Estate, Wealth Transfer, and Living Benefits.

Vision Statement

To be a leading provider of education, designations and standards for professional financial services practitioners.

Governance Structure

Board of Trustees

Comprised of volunteers with an Institute designation in good standing, the Board provides leadership to The Institute, with support in meeting strategic direction through volunteer and staff resources. This includes:

  • Oversight & Management of policies related to granting an Institute designation
  • Continuing obligations to maintain an Institute designation
  • Enrollment criteria for designation programs
  • Operation of The Institute’s CE Accreditation Services

John is responsible for managing the existing agency Business, including the insurance support distribution team (Estate Planning Specialists) that supports Canadian Wealth Management’s client facing professionals. His team works closely with the Wealth Management Services Business in providing Wealth Preservation and Wealth Transformation solutions using tax effective Life Insurance products.

Prior to joining RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. in October 2002, John held various business development, distribution and operational roles at RBC Insurance and its’ legal entity subsidiaries from 1996-2002.

Prior to joining RBC Insurance, John held various sales, relationship management and operations roles at Royal Trust. He began his financial services career in 1980 when he joined London Life Insurance Company.

John has bachelor’s degrees from the University of Western Ontario and Laurentian University and has also completed the executive program at the University of Western Ontario Ivey Business School. He also has a Chartered Life Underwriter designation, passed the Canadian Securities Course in 1987 and achieved the Certified Senior Advisor (subsequently renamed Certified Professional Consultant on Aging) designation in 2005. He is a 2011 graduate of the Family Business Centre at the UBC Sauder School of Business, and was awarded the Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA) designation.

Stephen has owned and operated Stephen MacEachern Insurance & Financial Services since 1997. His earlier 10 year career in the hospitality industry was an ideal foundation for his work as a financial planner and chartered financial consultant. Attention to detail, compassion, empathy, and a conservative behavior in complex situations are hallmarks of his current popularity with clients in the practice. He is capably supported by a team of administration, technical and underwriting specialists, from various insurers, whose teamwork and follow-through are setting new standards of service excellence in building lifetime relationships with the expanding client base.

Stephen is a past treasurer and Past President of Advocis Nova Scotia and served on the local board for over ten years before joining the Institute Board. He received his CLU in 2004 and was the Dunstall Medal winner for Nova Scotia attaining the highest provincial mark. In 2005 Stephen entered the EMBA program at St. Mary’s University and completed his Masters Degree in 2007.

Stephen is also a Past President of the Armdale Kiwanis Club, and is currently treasurer of the Metro Executive Group and the Spryfield Lions Rink Society.

Ejaz Nadeem is Vice President of Wealth Management at FirstOntario Credit Union in Hamilton, Ontario. With over 29 years’ experience in the Wealth Management Industry, Ejaz has a passion for helping individuals realize their dreams of financial success and independence. He specializes in developing successful sales people, leading sales teams to outperform, managing distribution channels and developing strategic relationships.

Ejaz entered the financial services industry in 1990 through London Life’s University Training Program in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1993, he joined Prudential of America as a Sales Manager in the Edmonton office. He also served on the board of directors of Edmonton Life Underwriters Association from 1991-1994 where he was the Editor of ELUA magazine.

In 1995, Ejaz moved to Saskatchewan to help credit unions establish their wealth management distribution system, including life insurance, mutual funds and securities, through Credential Financial Inc., a credit union system owned wealth management dealer. Ejaz’ success in Saskatchewan resulted in his appointment and move to Ontario in 2001 as Regional Vice President, Sales and Distribution for Ontario and Eastern Canada. He left Credential in 2009 to join FirstOntario Credit Union as Managing Director of Wealth Management.

Ejaz is an Advocis member since 1990. He has served on the boards of directors of GAMA International Canada, Advocis Greater Hamilton Chapter and Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) Golden Horseshoe. Ejaz was also a member of Hamilton-Burlington United Way Campaign Cabinet.

Besides a Master’s degree in Economics from University of Alberta, Ejaz has completed Levels I and II of the CFA program, and holds CFP and CLU designations.

After graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1990 with a BA English Literature and subsequently successfully establishing her financial advisory practice in Vancouver with London Life, Izumi transitioned to management and is currently a Managing Director with Freedom 55 Financial whose responsibilities are aligned with the Vancouver Georgia and Vancouver Island Financial Centers of Freedom 55 Financial.

Izumi is a past president of the Advocis Greater Vancouver Chapter, a past director on the National Advocis-The Financial Advisors Association of Canada board and is a past Chair of the National Advocis Chapter Leadership Council. On the Institute for Advanced Financial Education, Izumi currently serves as the Chair of the Conduct and Discipline committee and also sits on the Editorial Advisory Panel for Forum Magazine. Locally, Izumi is the co-Chair of the Advocis Estate Planning Conference, she is an active mentor with the BCIT Financial Planning Program since 2000 and in 2018 completed her term as a voting member of the Insurance Council of British Columbia.

In her community, Izumi serves as a director on the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival Society, she is a University of British Columbia Arts Mentor and Blossom Program mentor and was a nominee in 2013 for the YWCA Women of Distinction award. Izumi believes strongly that “privilege comes with responsibility” and that our role as financial advisors puts us in the uniquely privileged position of having the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of others. Therefore, her volunteer involvement with Advocis and the other organizations she remains committed to represents an opportunity for her to participate and contribute to the responsible stewardship of our industry as well as the community she lives in on behalf of the clients and advisors she serves.

Sara is an Associate Advisor at Sheffar Potter Muchan Inc. She became a financial advisor in 2009 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Her passion for financial planning goes hand-in-hand with her strong desire to help her clients achieve their financial goals.

She joined the business 8 years ago with Freedom 55 Financial as a Financial Security Advisor. She became President of King Financial and Benefits Inc in 2012 and joined the team at Sheffar Potter Muchan in 2018. Learning has been a life-long process for Sara and education continues to play an integral role in her professional journey and development. She holds the CHS (2011), CFP (2014), CLU (2014), and TEP (2016) designations.

Sara is a proud and enthusiastic member of Advocis. It’s a membership she holds with great pride since the time she joined the association in the early days of her career. During that time, she began volunteering with The Institute of Advanced Financial Education. She currently chairs the Standards and Accreditation Committee, sits on the Awards committee and is a member of the Advocis Legal Regulatory Policy committee. She is active in her local Advocis chapter, joining the board in 2012 and serving as Toronto Chapter President from 2015-2017.

Maria has been in the financial services industry since 1991. She started her career with a major insurer learning all the administrative functions of the company while developing her education through LOMA courses. Her organizational and marketing skills are now applied at one of Canada’s leading national insurance marketing organizations. Maria is currently Sales Director for BC at PPI Solutions.

Maria works closely with advisors to identify and help them achieve their strategic goals. She is a strong supporter of ongoing professional development and mentoring new advisors. Her industry experience is complemented by a strong academic background and supported by CLU, CHS and CPCA designations.

Over the years, Maria has volunteered for various Advocis initiatives in Vancouver. Together with Advisor Group, she was instrumental in organizing Investing in You, a women financial advisors conference in Vancouver in 2011 and 2012. She was appointed to the CLU Institute Education Committee in 2014. Maria is an active volunteer with the Vancouver Symphony and a supporter of SPCA and Habitat for Humanity.

Chris specializes in working with dentists and other medical professionals in their personal and corporate financial planning. Chris assists his clients with their personal and corporate cash flow planning, debt elimination, tax-efficient insurance strategies, and their retirement and estate planning. Chris makes it his business to know a dentist’s business.

Chris is a Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, Certified Health Insurance Specialist, and a Registered Trust and Estate Practitioner. In June 2011, Chris earned 1st place in Canada on the CFP national final exam, which earned Chris a spot on FP Canada’s President’s List.

Chris is an active member of Advocis, STEP Canada, an active member of CALU, Vice-President of the Fraser Valley Estate Planning Council, and is the BC Area Chair for the Million Dollar Round Table, where Chris assists and mentors advisors wanting to reach MDRT. Chris also volunteers on the Advocis Standards and Accreditation Committee. Chris is a very active speaker, and presents to dozens of events each year on financial planning.

Chris’ work is always scheduled around his family, as he firmly believes family comes first. Chris and his wife and children love travel frequently and extensively, and prioritize a work/life balance.

Sharon has worked in the not-for-profit sector since 1997 where she began her career with the Canadian Association of Financial Planners (CAFP). Sharon transitioned to Advocis following the merger between CAFP and CAIFA in 2003, and worked with the CLU Institute until 2011. Following her departure from the Institute, she has been serving in the role of Executive Director and Registrar with the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO). Sharon’s professional experience includes the development and enforcement of qualification standards, competency based development projects, regulatory frameworks including organization modelling for future regulation and lobbying with government public policy in support of safe interior environments in Ontario.

Sharon is the current Secretary for the Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario (CDAO), and the past Vice Chair for the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee. She is also Chair of the ROI Charity Initiative where she has led the design community through an annual charity renovation initiative, supporting organizations such as CAMH, FIFE House, Variety Village, SKETCH Working Arts and more recently, Bridgenorth an Advocacy organization in the fight again Human Trafficking in Canada. Sharon obtained her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2009 and Dispute Resolution training in 2005.

National Committees

The Institute currently has the following national committees with volunteer members:

  • Executive Committee
  • Nominations Committee
  • Conduct & Discipline Committee
  • Standards & Accreditation Committee
  • Awards Committee

Relationship to TFAAC

As a member of the TFAAC family prior to its incorporation, The Institute operated as the designation body/business unit of The Financial Advisors Association of Canada (TFAAC). Focusing on setting standards for the designation and education world, The Institute serves as the enforcement body for The Institute and Advocis Code of Professional Conduct (CPC).