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Online Investing with a Human Touch

The Best of Both Worlds


Innovisor is a unique wealth management service. Clients interact with our online platform but always have access to our team.

Our platform was built to guide investors to their goals—at a fraction of the typical cost. We only recommend investments backed by rigorous academic research.





The process is simple.



Number One

Register


Click the Get Started button to register and create the perfect investment strategy for your goals.



Number Two

Speak or video-chat with an Innovisor Professional


Speak with a portfolio manager via video-chat or telephone to finalize your investment plan.



Number Three

Choose Additional Services


If you need other wealth management services, you pay only for what you use.



Register & Get Started 


About Us


Innovisor is Experienced and Independent 


Jim Steel CFA, CFP Photo

Jim Steel CFA, CFP

Portfolio Manager
Read Bio

I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario with my parents, brother and sister. My interest in the financial industry came from a family friend who got me started investing while I was still in high school.

In 1985, I attended the University of Waterloo to study sciences – where I met my business partner, Chris. We became lifelong friends. While at Waterloo, I was making a lot of money trading stocks on the side. This experience made a career in sciences less attractive to a naïve 19-year-old. I left Waterloo after one year and took a job in Toronto at Dominion Securities. I also took night classes at the University of Toronto to study economics, accounting, English and business philosophy.  

The market was booming during this time and I thought my investing success was a result of innate skill. That all changed on October 19, 1987 when equity markets around the world suffered their biggest one-day loss since the crash of 1929.

I realized there was no easy path to financial success and many of the investment advisors I admired weren’t really working in the best interests of their clients. They were simply doing whatever they could to generate commissions.

I left Dominion Securities, moved to Kingston and attended Queen’s University to pursue a degree in Economics (and Music). After graduating, I took a job with RBC Dominion Securities in Ottawa as an investment advisor. I was excited to learn the tricks of stock-picking, managing money and helping people. Instead, I was sent back to Toronto to learn the fine art of cold calling and persuading people to buy stocks over the phone.

During my 11 years at RBC, I was never really taught to manage money properly. Over time, particularly when the tech bubble imploded in 2000-2001, I started to see that the bank’s recommendations – stock-picking, high-cost mutual funds, etc. – still weren’t adding value to clients.

During this time, my desire to build real value led me to earn my Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter. Between studying, conversations with Chris and reading on my own, the blinders finally came off. I was a believer in evidence-based investing.

I tried to implement my new vision at the bank but received no support. I left to start an independent investment management firm with two colleagues. Ultimately, our philosophies didn’t align, and we went our separate ways after a five-year partnership.

In 2008, Polaris Financial was born. Now, we are thrilled to help even more clients with Innovisor – our online-assisted, low-cost wealth management platform (a division of Polaris Financial Inc.).

Jim skiing in Fernie, BCSkiing in Fernie, BC.
Jim Steel and family at rain forest vacation in Costa Rica.Family rainforest vacation in Costa Rica.


Outside of the office, I enjoy playing guitar, running and mountain biking. I often bring my two border collies along on my adventures. I have completed three half-marathons. My wife enjoys road cycling, so I join her there frequently. I also enjoy going to the gym, skiing and the occasional round of golf. We have two wonderful daughters and live in Old Ottawa South.


Chris Odd Photo

Chris Odd

Executive Director of Technology & Operations
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I’ve always been a “tech nerd.”

I went to the University of Waterloo, where I met Jim – my wife was his lab partner and introduced us. We became roommates and great friends. While there, I developed an interest in the investment industry. Many of the elective classes I chose and books I read revolved around finance. My exposure to Efficient Market Hypothesis and Modern Portfolio Theory were particularly eye-opening.

I graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics, majoring in Business and Information Systems. I worked for IBM for 5 years as an employee, then started an IT consulting firm and did work for IBM in that capacity for an additional 8 years.

Throughout our careers, Jim and I often discussed portfolio management. We both were confident in the merit of passive management and felt fees in the industry were egregiously high.


Chris and his wife at their weddingWedding in Santa Maria di Leuca.
Chris Odd and his bandmates at a Canada Day concert.Canada Day Concert at the Royal Canadian Legion.


In 2008, we began discussing what it would take to start our own portfolio management firm. Our complementary skills are a natural fit. Jim is a CFA charter holder with decades of experience in the financial world, and I bring a keen eye for process re-engineering. He’s great at sales and strategy; I’m very detail oriented with deep technical skills.

After working together at Polaris, we built Innovisor to offer a level of professional portfolio management usually reserved for high net worth investors, at a fraction of the cost. I spend most of my time behind the scenes at Innovisor, but if you need help troubleshooting our online platform, I will probably be your contact.

Outside of the office, I love to play hockey – which I’ve basically been doing since I could walk. My wife and I learned to ski together and enjoy going to the West Coast on ski trips. I also play the guitar – something my father, an accomplished musician, passed down to me. I do a fair bit of recording (just for fun) and perform on occasion at weddings and community events. I also enjoy golfing and cycling. My wife and I live in Toronto with our three terrific sons.


 

Tom Blackwell Photo

Tom Blackwell

Senior Developer
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I’m a Senior Developer at Innovisor.

As a child, I had an insatiable curiosity about how things worked and spent a great deal of time tearing things apart and trying to figure them out. I eventually became interested in electronics and computers and went to McMaster University, where I got a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

I worked in a variety of industries, including power plant automation, telephone system design, retail sales hardware and thermal image processing. I usually ended up working on small, multidisciplinary teams, identifying problems and trying to fix them.


Practicing guitar after a round of do-it-yourself amplifier repair.Practicing guitar after a round of do-it-yourself amplifier repair.
Exploring the park with Mary Ellen and our rescue dog, LeroyExploring the park with Mary Ellen and our rescue dog, Leroy.

Outside of work, my partner Mary Ellen and I volunteer with a dog rescue organization and foster rescued dogs while they are awaiting adoption. I've been a music fan since I was about ten and attend concerts frequently. I also play guitar and spend time designing and building musical gadgets and effects. My other interests include cooking and photography.



Terri Brugmans Photo

Terri Brugmans

Administration
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I’m the main administrative contact for all Innovisor clients.

I began working in the financial services industry over 25 years ago. I enjoy supporting the team at Innovisor and helping our clients achieve their goals.

Touring Hawaii by helicopter

Touring Hawaii by helicopter

My kids and I (and my dog, Ben)My kids and me(and my dog, Ben)

I’m an active volunteer, working on many boards and volunteering with the United Way, the Food Bank and the Ottawa Humane Society.

I live outside of the city with my family and 2 dogs.  Outside of the office, I love to cook, read, camp and travel.

Chad Parker Photo

Chad Parker

Associate
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I’ve been part of the Polaris team since mid-2017. I assist Terri Brugmans in the administration of our accounts. 

I recently graduated with a degree in Business and plan to further my studies and obtain my Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation in the near future. 

Outside of the office, along with my son, Lincoln, and wife, Cassandra, we love to spend time in their backyard or at the Bruce Pit walking our dog. I’m also an avid movie buff.

Three generations of Parker men taking in a sunny cottage day.
All dressed up for my older brother's wedding in Mississauga.All dressed up for my older brother's wedding in Mississauga.


Our Team: Top, left to right: Tom, Chris Odd, Jim Steel.  Bottom, left to right: Terri Brugmans, Chad

We adhere to an evidence-based investment approach.

That means we focus on what can be controlled:

  • keeping fees and costs low
  • deferring or eliminating taxes
  • globally diversifying your portfolio
  • tilting your portfolio toward higher expected returns over the long term
  • a balanced and customized asset allocation (i.e. mix of stocks, bonds and cash) based on your risk tolerance.

Innovisor has confidence in Dimensional Fund Advisors, its academic research and investment philosophy. To learn more about Dimensional Fund Advisors, visit our Resources page.

How is Innovisor Different? 

Higher Expected Returns



Money

Low-Fee Services

Fees are an often overlooked aspect of investing. The fees you pay will have a huge impact on the value of your portfolio over time. 

Our online platform has low management fees.  

Treasure Map

Access to Dimensional Fund Advisors

Innovisor builds portfolios through strategies managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors, a pioneer in implementing the great ideas in finance for the benefit of clients. Innovisor is the only Canadian low-fee online advisor providing access to Dimensional Fund Advisors' investment solutions.

Dimensional Fund Advisors has an impressive track record. Their investment philosophy mirrors ours, which is based on rigorous academic research. For more information, see our FAQs.



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We do more than just manage your portfolio

Innovisor clients receive portfolio management services and can choose more based on their needs.

We offer a full range of additional wealth management services to our clients on an à la carte basis.

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We are Fiduciaries

Innovisor portfolio managers are “fiduciaries.” This means they are legally obligated to act in your best interest. 

We take this responsibility very seriously and is one of our core operating principals.


Chad Parker and Jim Steel in the office, discussing a client.

Services

Beyond Investments

Clients primarily interact with our online platform but always have access to our team.  


Couple


We focus on managing your portfolio according to your investment goals. This service includes:

  • ensuring you always have the appropriate portfolio for your evolving needs
  • regular rebalancing
  • monthly savings and withdrawal plans
  • tax reporting
  • access to monthly statements online
  • regular online performance reporting
  • access to a portfolio manager any time
  • access to administrative support any time

All of these services are included in your all-inclusive management fee.


Pie Chart

In addition, we provide a review of other services you may need. These include:

  • Financial planning 
    • referral to a fee-only planner to create a comprehensive financial plan for you
  • Life and disability insurance   
    • referral to an insurance advisor to review your life and disability insurance needs
  • Tax preparation  
    • referral to a tax accountant to help you  file your tax returns
  • Estate planning  
    •  referral to an estate attorney to prepare wills and powers of attorney
We refer you only to external advisors we know and trust. Using external advisors helps keep your costs low and you pay only for the services you need

Our Fees  

Simple, low fees

Small stack of coins

HOUSEHOLD ASSETS

$0 -
$69,999

ANNUAL FEES


Flat Fee of $500.

Two small stacks of coins

HOUSEHOLD ASSETS

$70,000 -
$249,999

ANNUAL FEES

Two small stacks of coins

HOUSEHOLD ASSETS

$250,000 -
$499,000

ANNUAL FEES

Two medium sized stacks of coins

HOUSEHOLD ASSETS

$500,000 -
$999,999

ANNUAL FEES


Two large stacks of coins

HOUSEHOLD ASSETS

$1,000,000 -
$1,999,999

ANNUAL FEES

Two extra large stacks of coins

HOUSEHOLD ASSETS

$2,000,000+


ANNUAL FEES


Please call (855) 819-4827 for fees.


*Note: Fees shown are annual management fees only and do not include management fees charged by the mutual funds in our portfolios. Those fees are approximately 0.30% - 0.40% annually.    

Jim, Tom, and Chris discuss strategy


More Details


  • Each individual account opened with Innovisor must have a minimum initial investment of $2,500
  • Fees for additional wealth management services vary based on your needs. Get in touch and we will send you more information  
  • Prefer to meet face-to-face for a more personal experience? Try our full service division Polaris Wealth
  • see our Fees-FAQ for more details

Resources


Selected statements, articles and videos that that will help answer the questions we hear the most.




Chris Odd and Jim Steel of Innovisor, a division of Polaris Financial.

Frequently Asked Questions


• Who are Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) and why do you use their investment products exclusively?
• Can I invest in individual stocks/funds using a Innovisor account?
• Can I transfer existing accounts to an Innovisor account?
• How do I get started with Innovisor?

Need a question answered that you don’t see here? Explore our other topics:





 

Ready to take the next step?


Register & Get Started

Get Started with Innovisor

If you are ready to become a client, please proceed to our Get Started page

If you would like to learn more about Innovisor before becoming a client, please provide us with your information below.

Someone from Innovisor will respond within 24-hours Mon — Fri.