Odlum Brown Limited is an independent, full-service investment firm that has stood the test of time by remaining true to the same core principles on which the company was founded: putting the individual needs of clients first and providing them with disciplined, customized advice to help them create, preserve and grow their wealth over the long term.
Founded in Vancouver in 1923 by General Victor Wentworth Odlum and Colonel Albert Malcolm “Buster” Brown, Odlum Brown remains a private and wholly employee-owned company that today encompasses 250 employees with offices in Vancouver, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria and Courtenay. The firm has also been an annual winner of the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation since 1999.
For President and CEO Debra Hewson, there’s no secret to Odlum Brown’s success: it begins and ends with a steadfast, personal relationship forged with each client.
“Building portfolios is our business, but building relationships is our strength. We put our clients first and always have,” says Hewson.
“It sounds cliché, but I think the very fact that we’ve been in business and part of the financial landscape in B.C. for more than 90 years is a real testament to how we think about and approach our business.”
“We want our advisors to build a relationship with their clients. There’s no cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all approach here. The only way to meet the specific needs of each client is to build and nurture that relationship by understanding what’s important to them and what they are trying to achieve with their investment goals.”
The company’s longevity extends to its workforce: 52 per cent of its employees have been with Odlum Brown for a decade or longer, and 22 per cent for 20 years or more. That includes Hewson, who has been with Odlum Brown since 1991, and Chairman Tony Hepburn, a fixture at the firm for 47 years and counting.
“The longevity and loyalty of our employees is a true reflection of the camaraderie and unique culture we try to engender here,” says Hewson. “It’s not only very rewarding to come to work and do something that can play a small part in someone’s life journey, but to also be able to do that in a place where the people that I work with value and genuinely care about each other. It just speaks to the culture that was built long before I arrived here and the culture we all try to sustain.”
Beyond the relationships they have built with generations of clients, Odlum Brown also firmly believes in building strong communities, sponsoring more than 100 charities and organizations throughout B.C. that support initiatives in such areas as healthcare, education, arts and culture, sports, environment and youth.
That emphasis on corporate philanthropy has also spurred Odlum Brown’s employees to follow suit and personally invest in the communities in which they live and work, raising more than $400,000 each year for the past two years for a wide array of charities including United Way, CIBC’s Run for the Cure and Movember.
Odlum Brown has weathered various economic challenges and stock market cycles for more than 90 years, carving out their own legacy as one of B.C.’s most dependable and trustworthy investment firms. True to this history, they inspire the same approach in their clientele, knowing that — much like the old fable — when it comes to investing, slow and steady wins the race.