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Polaris Wealth Direct

Direct Online Investing 

The Best of Both Worlds


Polaris Wealth Direct 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 a Portfolio Manager


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


Polaris Wealth is Experienced and Independent 


To help investors save money, or those with lower account sizes, we created Polaris Wealth Direct.

Investors willing to use our online platform can access investment funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors at a low fee and choose from a list of additional services as needed. You pay only for the services you need.

Polaris Wealth is a division of Polaris Financial Inc. and was founded in 2008 as an independent full service wealth management company for high net worth private clients.

Polaris Wealth typically has minimum account restrictions of $500,000 to $1 million making access to our products out of reach for many investors. 

With Polaris Wealth Direct this changes: investors with smaller account sizes, or wishing direct access to Dimensional Fund Advisors portfolios can now be served.

Polaris Financial Inc. is registered as a Portfolio Manager whose principal regulator is the Ontario Securities Commission. You can check our registration here.

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.

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

Jim Steel CFA, CFP Photo

Jim Steel CFA, CFP

Portfolio Manager
Read Bio

Hello! I am Jim Steel - a co-founder of Polaris,  portfolio manager and financial planner. I have been helping private clients manage their money for nearly 30 years. I have earned both the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations.

I spent over a decade as an investment advisor at bank-owned investment firm. After becoming annoyed with the inherent conflicts of interest in the investment industry I left to ultimately create Polaris and offer fiduciary, unbiased and conflict-free wealth management advice. 

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, road and mountain biking. I often bring my two border collies along on my adventures. I also enjoy going to the gym, skiing and the occasional round of golf. I am married with two wonderful daughters and we 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 Polairs Wealth Direct 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, 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.


 

Deanna Nicholls Photo

Deanna Nicholls

ASSOCIATE
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Deanna Nicholls
Associate, Ottawa 

dnicholls@polarisweath.ca
613-755-4004 | 877-755-4004

Deanna is new to Ottawa and comes from Sault Ste. Marie where she worked as an associate for RBC Dominion Securities. 

Deanna has an Honours Bachelor of Commerce and Masters in Sports Management. Prior to her career at RBC, she was Director of Sales and Marketing for the Soo Greyhounds Hockey Club (the equivalent of the Ottawa 67s). 

Deanna enjoys movies, taking courses and playing sports.
  
Please feel free to reach out to Deanna if you have any questions.
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.


Tom Blackwell Photo

Tom Blackwell

Senior Developer
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I’m a Senior Developer at Polaris Wealth.

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.



How Are We Different? 

Choose what you need 



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

Polaris Wealth builds portfolios through strategies managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors, a pioneer in implementing the great ideas in finance for the benefit of clients. Polaris Wealth Direct 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.



Bar Chart

We do more than just manage your portfolio

Polaris Wealth Direct 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.

Handshake

We are Fiduciaries

Polaris Wealth 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 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 1-613-482-7982 or 1-888-482-6865 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 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 offering here: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. ETFs or non-Dimensional Funds Advisor funds using Polaris Wealth Direct?

No. Polaris Wealth Direct only uses mutual funds managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors. If you would like other options, other funds and ETFs are be available though our full-service offering at www.polariswealth.ca. However, we rarely recommend individual stocks or bonds as the evidence is overwhelming that the price of publicly traded stocks and bonds incorporates all publicly available information in nanoseconds. Efforts to find mispriced stocks are unlikely to be successful.

For an excellent discussion of this subject, read this article by Larry Swedroe, the Director of Research for the BAM ALLIANCE.


• Can I transfer existing accounts to Polaris Wealth?
• How do I get started with Polaris Wealth Direct?

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 Polaris Wealth Direct

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

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

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