People Genuinely Make All the Difference
A lot of businesses reference the idea that people are what make the difference to their operation. At Odlum Brown Limited, this isn’t just a platitude or a catchphrase, it’s a reality that permeates this employee-owned and people-focused organization.
Odlum Brown is a full-service investment firm focused on building relationships with clients seeking investment advice. Debra Hewson, President and Chief Executive Officer, notes that every client and prospective client is an individual and is appreciated as such.
“We create relationships with our clients that can only come from understanding what they want and what works for them,” she says. “There is no cookie-cutter approach here. We provide investment advice tailored to the individual investor, and we’re exceptional at it.”
This relationship-based approach isn’t always possible at other firms, where operations are often pulled in numerous directions based on fluctuating, and even conflicting, company needs. As an independent firm that doesn’t participate in investment banking or trade for its own account, Odlum Brown is solely focused on one activity: advising individual clients on how to grow and preserve their wealth.
In fact, for over 93 years the firm’s business model has centred on aligning the firm’s interests with the interests of their clients. “We’re employee-owned, so we’re all invested in what happens here,” Debra notes. “All of our key operational and administrative functions are performed in house. We encourage our research analysts to own the stocks they recommend because we wouldn’t offer anything to a client that we wouldn’t want to own ourselves.”
“We provide investment advice tailored to the individual investor, and we’re exceptional at it.” Debra Hewson
In addition to those relationships built with clients, the unique corporate culture at Odlum Brown also fosters positive internal relationships. “We’re able to attract and retain such great people here because they are drawn to the fact that this is a relationship-based business that we’re all partners in,” says Debra. “Good people want to be able to make a difference, and that’s a big part of our success.”
Odlum Brown’s environment is one where every team member knows they matter, and the firm’s low employee turnover proves it. Nearly 50% of Odlum Brown’s workforce has been with the firm for 10 years or longer, and 22% for at least 20 years.
“Whether it’s our clients or our team, we treat people the way they want to be treated,” Debra notes. “That’s also apparent in our long-standing tradition of community involvement.”
Throughout the year, Odlum Brown team members across BC spearhead events and fundraising initiatives that benefit their communities. From United Way campaigns to the CIBC Run for the Cure, much of Odlum Brown’s community presence is employee-driven and concentrated around making a difference in the areas where team members live and work. Odlum Brown supports over 100 charities and organizations throughout the province.
“We’re leaders in our communities,” says Debra. “We don’t just write a cheque – we have people actively involved in supporting causes that matter to them. It could be sitting on a board of directors, volunteering at a run’s registration or even fundraising here in the office. Philanthropy and community involvement are in our DNA.”
Through building positive relationships with the community, with clients and with each other, Odlum Brown’s people are the key ingredient to the firm’s success in helping individual investors grow and preserve their wealth.