Michael Taylor: Business in Vancouver 2012 CFO of the Year


By Business In Vancouver

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Michael Taylor, CFO and chief compliance officer of Nicola Wealth Management (NWM) began writing a newsletter for the company shortly after he joined.  Entitled Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning to continuously improve, it is a philosophy he helps the firm successfully achieve every day.

Taylor’s initial mandate when he joined the company in 2007 was to determine the feasibility of expanding beyond NWM’s single pooled fund at the time into a series of proprietary pooled funds. In less than five years, Taylor built a platform that expanded NWM’s offering from a single $70 million fund to 13 funds valued at $1.1 billion today.

He spent months performing due diligence and research to prepare a report exploring the financial structures of proprietary funds; it would become the foundation for NWM’s expansion into fund manufacturing.

Taylor co-manages the NWM primary and balanced mortgage funds, where he is responsible for selecting the funds’ assets and third-party suppliers and shares accountability for their performance.

After crafting the financial structure that would allow the firm to become a successful fund manufacturer, he deftly handled a litany of risk management and compliance issues that not only improved NWM’s standing with the BC Securities Commission but also allowed the firm to register as a portfolio manager, investment fund manager and exempt market dealer.

John Nicola, chairman and CEO of NWM, said, “While his skills and abilities have certainly elevated the firm’s business development, Mike is a consummate team player. His creative problem-solving ability laid the groundwork for the firm’s future growth both financially and administratively, stewarding business initiatives that have brought both efficiency and scalability.”


Nomination remarks from John Nicola, chairman and CEO, Nicola Wealth Management:


How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in finance?

Since joining Nicola Wealth Management in late 2007, Michael Taylor has provided steady leadership, created innovative efficiencies and become a valued member of the firm’s senior management team and corporate culture.

As CFO, Mike Taylor brings a set of experiences rarely seen in a mid-sized firm. Previous to working with NWM, Mike held various positions at RBC Royal Bank involving credit and business risk-management issues on an international level, managing hundreds of employees across the globe. His combination of diverse business management and senior leadership experiences along with full P&L responsibility add unique and complementary insights to our already impressive management team.

Taylor has taken on a key leadership role, restructuring and shaping both the compliance and finance and administration teams, challenging the groups to enhance productivity by leveraging existing resources. He also [helped] develop a system to create efficiencies and improve record-keeping.


How has the nominee demonstrated a commitment to sound ethics and reporting?

There is no better demonstration of Mike’s dedication to business ethics than his accomplishments as NWM’s chief compliance officer (a position that is registered with the BC Securities Commission). Part of Mike’s goal as CFO and CPO is to create, as he refers to it, “a culture of compliance within the firm.” There is no excuse for being sloppy and never a need to cut corners: “It is a false economy to think poor compliance is good business.”

After creating the administration process for NWM’s new series of funds, Mike worked closely with the BCSC to deal with new compliance issues facing the firm. He assessed the financial risk management concerns and established an enhanced compliance regime.

The risks Taylor manages on behalf of NWM are more than financial, they are reputational. The firm enjoys a 99% client retention rate with over 70% of new business coming from referrals.


How has the nominee contributed to strategic decision-making and growth of the company?

Mike’s initial mandate was to determine the feasibility of expanding beyond NWM’s single pooled fund into a series of proprietary funds. Not only would Mike succeed, he would exceed expectations, building a platform that expanded NWM’s offering from a single $70 million fund in 2007 to 13 funds valued at over $1.1 billion today.

Over the course of 2011, Taylor developed two more funds. NWM saw year-over-year growth in its 13 funds over 62% in 2011 while the firm’s assets increased by 39%.