Industry moves: Karl Cheong has left First Trust Portfolios Canada

By Katie Keir | November 15, 2023 | Last updated on November 16, 2023
2 min read

Karl Cheong, head of ETFs with Toronto-based First Trust Portfolios Canada, has left the organization “to pursue entrepreneurial ventures elsewhere,” he told

Cheong joined First Trust in 2013 following nearly four years as head of ETF product with Claymore Investments Inc., which was acquired by BlackRock Inc. in 2012.

Other recent moves across the financial industry include:

  • Manulife Financial Corp. has cut 250 jobs globally in its investment management division, a move that has affected employees in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia. 
  • Peter Kahnert is retiring from Raymond James Ltd., effective Dec. 31. He’s been with the firm for 21 years, serving currently as senior vice-president of corporate communications and marketing.
  • Jean Laporte and Louis-Félix Laporte moved to National Bank Financial Wealth Management last week, coming from CIBC Wood Gundy. The pair have joined up with Martin Belair and Jean-Philippe Belair* as well as National Bank wealth advisors Gilles Therrien and Marc-André Grenier, all forming a new team called Groupe Conseil Bélair Laporte Therrien. Jean has been in the industry since 1987, while Louis-Félix started in 2013.
  • Hal Biren and his two associates, who comprise the Biren Team, have joined Raymond James Ltd. Biren, who’s been an advisor for more than 25 years, comes from Richardson Wealth where he worked for nearly 10 years.
  • The Lee Wealth Management Group in Winnipeg has moved to Wellington-Altus Private Wealth. The group is led by investment advisor Joanne Lee, who has more than 30 years of experience and spent the last eight with Richardson Wealth. Lee started her business with senior associate Deborah Dyck, who has more than 25 years of experience. Associate Madison Vogan is another member of the team.
  • Former National Bank Financialexecutive Martin Gagnon has been appointed to the board of directors with each of iA Financial Corporation Inc. and Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc., effective Jan. 17, 2024. Gagnon retired earlier this year from his role as executive vice-president, wealth management, and co-president and co-CEO of National Bank Financial. The board of iA Financial Corporation Inc. now has fifteen directors, while the other board has 14.
  • Emily Randle is joining Toronto-based Indigenous private credit fund Keewaywin Capital Inc. as chief risk officer. She’s worked in the Canadian banking industry for more than 25 years, a release said, with positions held at Toronto-Dominion Bank and Equitable Bank.

If you know of other people moves in the financial industry and/or would like us to consider your announcement, email Katie Keir at

*A previous version of this story didn’t mention Martin Belair and Jean-Philippe Belair, who are both significant members of the team and stakeholders.

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Katie Keir

Katie is special projects editor for and has worked with the team since 2010. In 2012, she was named Best New Journalist by the Canadian Business Media Awards. Reach her at