Martin Weinberg

Martin Weinberg, CSC, CFA, entrepreneur, business executive (born 1961 in Winnipeg, MB).
Martin Weinberg, CSC, CFA, entrepreneur, business executive (born 1961 in Winnipeg, MB).

Martin Weinberg, CSC, CFA, entrepreneur, business executive (born 1960 in Winnipeg, MB). Martin Weinberg studied business at the University of Manitoba, where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce. Four years after graduation, he founded wealth management firm Loring Ward, which merged with the Equion Group in 1995 to form Assante Wealth Management. Assante was a TSX-listed company until its Canadian operations were sold to CI Financial in 2003 for almost $1 billion. In 2006, Weinberg founded Pavilion Financial Corporation, a diversified global investment services firm with clients in more than 50 countries.

Early Years and Education

Martin Weinberg came from a middle-class Winnipeg family. His father, Israel Weinberg, a well-respected actuary with Great-West Life Assurance Company, passed away tragically in a car crash and so Weinberg’s mother, Elaine, remarried when he was 12 years old. The marriage brought four more kids from his stepfather’s previous marriage into the family, where Weinberg was already the middle of three children.

He was first exposed to the investment world through an affluent group of friends who told him their wealth came from investing. Inspired, and armed with borrowed cash, Weinberg taught himself how to invest by taking the advice of his friends, as well as reading newspapers and broker reports. Although he got off to a rough start and lost half of the money, it was during this time that Weinberg began his career in finance. He completed a business degree from the University of Manitoba in 1983.

Loring Ward and Assante

Although Weinberg struggled to find work after graduation and was deemed too aggressive for the corporate world by Great-West Life Assurance Company, he prevailed by landing a junior portfolio manager role at Investors Group. It was there that he would innovate, developing a computer program to find value stocks, often resulting in 40 per cent of returns for the firm.

After learning about the world of investing, Weinberg founded Loring Ward in 1987, a firm that specialized in tailor-made portfolios that managed client risk, minimized taxes and provided trust fund planning.

A few years down the road, Weinberg was looking to grow his business and decided a partnership with another firm would be the best move. He was rejected many times, but eventually met Michael Nairne — also from Winnipeg and the president of Toronto mutual fund dealer Equion Group. The two firms merged and Assante Wealth Management was born.

Assante fared well over the years, managing assets for star athletes such as former Toronto Blue Jay Shawn Green. The firm managed to land such lucrative celebrity contracts thanks to its 1999 acquisition of Steinberg Moorad & Dunn, a Los Angeles-based sports management agency that represented a large number of the NFL’s starting quarterbacks.

After going public in the same year and listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), Assante grew steadily from a start-up asset management firm with about $400 million in assets. At one point, Assante employed over 3,000 advisors and employees while managing over $27 billion in assets.

In 2003, when the firm reached almost $1 billion in market capitalization, like-minded firm CI Financial bought Assante. After the sale, Weinberg went on to grow Loring Ward International, the US branch of Assante, where he served as Chairman and CEO. Loring Ward specialized in the financial services for professional athletes and entertainers. The business grew into one of the largest multi-family offices in the US. Weinberg continued to run those operations until 2005. Loring Ward was successfully sold for approximately US$150 million.

Pavilion Financial Corporation

Weinberg then embarked on launching a $170 million private equity fund and subsequently Pavilion Financial Corporation, an integrated financial services firm catering to institutional, intermediary and High Net Worth clients. Pavilion serves a global clientele from divisions in both Canada and the US. The company acquired Montreal’s Brockhouse Cooper Inc. in 2010, Chicago’s Stratford Advisory Group in 2011, and Plan Sponsor Advisors and LP Capital Advisors in 2014. Pavilion continues to grow organically, through acquisitions and by recruiting key industry executives, with Weinberg serving as Executive Chairman. He remains the largest shareholder of the Company.

Personal Life

Weinberg married Michelle Weinberg (née Jaic) in 2006. They met in Toronto where Michelle was a partner at a leading independent investment dealer, specializing in the Canadian Institutional Equity market. Weinberg has three children: one son, and two older daughters from a previous marriage.

Community Involvement

Weinberg supports a variety of charitable and arts organizations, and helps raise funds for medical research. He acted as Chair of the Health Sciences Centre campaign in Gastrointestinal Research, and of the Top Donor Cabinet for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg. He also acted as a donor and fundraiser for the United Way of Winnipeg. In 2009, he and his wife, Michelle, were named Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year for the province of Manitoba by the Association of Fund Raising Professionals.

Weinberg has served as a volunteer on many boards and top donor cabinets. In 2010, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Manitoba for his contributions to both the business and charitable communities. He has advised the Government of Manitoba as a member of the steering committee for the province’s Economic Innovation and Technology Council (EITC), and he has received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Manitoba.

See also: Marty Weinberg (Profile)