Addressing your complex needs with the

We aim to be your financial advisors for life, working alongside you to address each of your wealth management needs as your life evolves. Should a complex issue arise which we feel deserves further attention, we leverage the expertise of our panel of professionals, all carefully selected by us for their leadership and knowledge in their respective fields. This network is specific to our team and is not officially endorsed by Raymond James Ltd.

These issues may include legal, tax or insurance complications and are presented to our panel as anonymous case studies. This process allows us to ensure we provide a strategy that has been weighed from all angles and best aligns with your needs, while always ensuring your personal information remains confidential.

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Neil Friesen, CFP

Estate Planning Advisor

Neil Friesen joined Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., as an Estate Planning Advisor in April 2013. With more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, Neil advises clients on a broad range of insurance, retirement and estate planning strategies for individuals and corporations.

Neil understands that serving clients’ insurance and estate planning needs begins with building strong, lasting partnerships. He focuses on listening to each client because he believes everyone’s needs and financial goals for the future are unique. As an Estate Planning Advisor for Raymond James in Alberta, Neil puts his clients – and their needs – first.

Neil has a passion for education and strives to ensure each client fully understands the concepts and strategies that they discuss. Neil’s “big picture” approach with his clients helps them to understand how all of the pieces of their plan will interconnect and move them closer to their personal and financial goals.

Neil also works with a variety of tax and estate planning professionals in the legal and accounting professions in order to assist his clients in the implementation of their plans.

Neil graduated from the University of Alberta in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance.

He additionally completed his Certified Financial Planning designation in 2004. A firm believer in continuing education, Neil enhances his experience through ongoing continuing education.

Originally from Duchess, AB, Neil currently resides in Calgary, AB. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Lisa and their children, Zach and Taylor. When he is not working with clients, you will find Neil at the golf course in the relentless pursuit to break 80, or cheering on his children at improv or gymnastics events.

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Hussein Poonjani, CA, CBV

Managing Director, Grant Thornton

Hussein is managing director of transactions for Northern Alberta and is based in Edmonton. He is responsible for leading a team of professionals in facilitating corporate finance initiatives for clients that include the following:

  • Sell-side mandates: assisting business owners with the divestiture of their business
  • Buy-side analysis and financial due diligence: leading all financial aspects of an acquisition
  • Raising capital: raising debt and equity for growth, including capital expenditures and acquisitions
  • Business valuations: conducting business valuations for transactions, including shareholder disputes, employee bonus plans and management buy-outs and buy-ins
  • Valuation of unique assets: conducting valuations of complex and/or intangible assets related to financial reporting
  • Litigation support: providing expert advice on business valuations in matrimonial disputes
  • Financial modeling and forecasting

Hussein is a Chartered Accountant and Charted Business Valuator with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and financial analysis. Hussein has led and completed a number of multimillion dollar transactions in a variety of industries, including but not limited to energy services, engineering, construction, distribution, financial services and manufacturing.

Hussein joined Grant Thornton LLP in 2010 as an associate director. Prior to Grant Thornton, Hussein was an acquisition specialist for an international engineering company and was responsible for various aspects of the merger and acquisition program.

Hussein is also very active in educating business owners on divesting their business through various thought leadership pieces, webinars and presentations. Hussein has written and been featured in various magazines and publications, and is a regular contributor for Private Business Advantage, the firm’s blog for private business owners.

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Jeremy Fearnley, CPA, CA, FEA, Dipl

Partner, Grant Thornton

Jeremy is the oil and gas, manufacturing and distribution sector leader in northern Alberta, and can often be seen representing the firm in the media, on the podium and at industry events. He is also the markets leader for Grant Thornton’s Northern Alberta practice.

Jeremy has been practicing since 1991, obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 2002 and joined the Grant Thornton partnership through a merger in 2010. He works primarily with privately held businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, transportation and oilfield service/supply sectors, helping his clients recognize challenges and realize opportunities. He is experienced at providing assurance and accounting services.

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Michael Klaray

Partner, Duncan and Craig LLP

Michael Klaray practices exclusively in his firm’s estate solutions practice group and is co-chair of the group.

  • Estate planning through the preparation of wills, personal directives, powers of attorneys and trusts
  • Estate administration and the representation and advising of executors, administrators and beneficiaries
  • Estate litigation which includes challenges to wills and powers of attorney, variation of trusts, family relief applications as well as representing and advising individuals with claims against an estate
  • Adult incapacity, including matters related to powers of attorney, personal directives, guardianship and trusteeship

Michael is currently on the executive and vice-chair of the Canadian Bar Association Wills and Estates North Section. He is also a member of the Law Society of Alberta. He speaks annually for the Edmonton Community Foundation’s “Wills Week”. Michael spoke at the LESA Annual Banff Refresher 2015 on estate litigation and in November 2015 for the Legal Education Society of Alberta on wills drafting. Michael has also presented to the Estate Planning Council of Edmonton on wills, to the Alberta Association of Gift Planners on wills legislation and for the University of Alberta on professional estate planning and planning related to the family cabin.

Michael graduated from the University of Alberta in 2008 with a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Bachelor of Arts (with distinction) in Philosophy and Psychology. Michael started working with Duncan Craig LLP in the summer of 2006 while attending law school and articled with the firm in 2008 after graduating. Michael was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 2009 and became a partner in January 2016.

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Jeffrey R. Fixsen

Partner, Duncan and Craig LLP

Jeff practices in the area of commercial and corporate law and is the leader of his firm’s Real Estate Practice Group and co-leader of the Business Solutions Practice Group. He received a B.A. in English in 2000 and his LL.B in 2003 from the University of Alberta. In 2011 he took part in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) In-Depth Tax course. Jeff is also a registered Trade-mark Agent in Canada. Since being called to the Bar in 2004, he has appeared before all levels of Court in Alberta.

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Grant Popowich, CPA, CA

Partner, Grant Thornton

Grant is a partner with the Edmonton office of Grant Thornton LLP and leads the tax practice in northern Alberta. He is an integral member of the privately held business group and the office growth strategy committee.

He is an income tax specialist with over 16 years of extensive experience dealing with corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate tax compliance and planning, and succession and estate planning. Prior to joining Grant Thornton in 2006, he spent two years with a major public national telecommunications company in its internal tax group with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, including performing tax due diligence.

Grant has extensive experience working with privately held and publicly listed clients in a number of industries including construction, real estate, manufacturing, distribution and oil and gas. He is a senior member of the firm’s construction and real estate team in Edmonton, and is active in the industry through participation on construction association committees, presenting seminars and writing articles.

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Gary Steen

Manulife Financial

Gary Steen is with Manulife’s Individual Insurance Sales Team based in Alberta. For over 33 years, Gary has been in the insurance and wealth management business with Manulife.

In his experience, he has seen great markets and some of the worst on record; he has seen the prime rate soar to over 20% and collapse to less than 1%, and he has seen financial products succeed and fail. With both U.S. and Canadian business experience, he has an understanding of financial market opportunities that have increased his clients’ incomes while providing better quality, and lasting, solutions to clients’ needs.

Along the way, Gary has earned his FLML, CFP and CHS to add to his B.A. in history from the University of Winnipeg.

Each of our clients we’ve agreed to work with because we are confident we can make a positive difference in their financial life.

George & Scott

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