Candidate profile: Brent Fullard
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
By Olivia Glauberzon
As part of our coverage of the federal election, Investment Executive profiles candidates who are working or who have worked in the financial services industry.
Here we look at Brent Fullard, Liberal candidate in the Ontario riding of Whitby--Oshawa.
A Western movie set was the last thing Brent Fullard expected when he attended the unveiling of the National Seniors Council last March.
Watching Senator Marjory LeBreton and Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, among other officials, take the stage in St. Catharines, Ont., Fullard says, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“They had all these MPs and cabinet ministers there for the announcement…and guess what? They only named one person for an eight person board.” Fullard says. “It looked like a Hollywood movie set that’s a false facade for a western.”
It was that ceremony, Fullard says, which fueled his motivation to run against Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, in this coming election.
“People have lost $35 billion of their hard earned money to income trust taxes,” Fullard says. “I was inclined to take the matter into my own hands.”
Fullard had first learned of Flaherty’s plan to tax trusts on Halloween of 2006. He says he was shocked the Conservatives had reneged on their election platform.
“The promise not to raid seniors’ nest eggs went out the window,” Fullard says. “Then, the finance minister without any consultation from stake holders arbitrarily imposes a 31.5% tax on income trusts.”
Investors still pay taxes on their trust dividends, he says, only at a later date when they cash out their RRSPs.
“They were misleading people and I wasn’t going to let that go,” Fullard says. “I was inclined to take the matter into my own hands.”
As a result, Fullard formed the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors, which now represents over 2.5 million investors.
But Fullard’s desire to lead change is nothing new.
His questioning attitude began in the 1970s. He had just completed his MBA at Queen’s University and chose to work on the line at the General Motors Car Assembly Plant in Oshawa, Ont. over an offer in consulting.
“My goal was to influence car design,” Fullard says. “But Oshawa took their instructions from Detroit … I wanted to go work at the Detroit of somewhere.”
From then on, Fullard aimed to work in upper management.
Born and raised in Toronto, Fullard moved back to the city with his wife, in 1984, where he took on his first job in financial services at Merrill Lynch Canada.
Starting out as an investment banker, Fullard rose to vice president over the next eight years. In 1991, he made his move to Burns Fry, now known as BMO Nesbitt Burns.
After making his way up the BMO ladder to head of equity capital markets, Fullard decided there were no more corporate rungs to climb.
It was time to explore his own creative investment strategies and the corporate setting, he says, held him back. In 2003, he started his own Toronto-based company called Catalyst Asset Management, which he still runs today.
However, as a semi-retired citizen with three teens, Fullard says, life is no longer just about earning big returns. It’s about justice.
“I’ve always been one to go against the grain,” he says. “I’m more interested in doing the right thing than what’s expeditious.”
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 7:16 PM