We are Andrew McQuiston and Kelly Demo, the founders of West Oak Family Office.
Our reason for being has always been to find better ways to serve high-net-worth families, which is why we left the banks after over 20 years and formed West Oak Family Office.
As a Chartered Accountant, Kelly’s background is in tax, but her experience working with families through her years at Ernst & Young, BMO Harris Private Bank, and RBC has allowed her to expand this skillset to be able to integrate many more facets of families’ lives to ensure they all properly work together.
Andrew’s background in finance and economics, working with high net worth families at TD and RBC, has given him the unique ability to be able to understand the global investment space, while also being responsible for successfully developing an investment platform that resonates with so many families.
Together, we bring a differentiated approach that is more dedicated and integrated than what you would find with a traditional wealth management firm or team. This has all been done in an effort to grow and protect the capital of the families we serve, and to ensure successful outcomes across generations.
This has all been done in an effort to grow and protect the capital of the families we serve, and to ensure successful outcomes across generations.
Recently people have asked why “West Oak”? We both come from the West which is the simple answer but the deep answer is this: The entire fabric of our beings comes from growing up and living in Western Canada and all that entails, that no-nonsense, hard-working, focus on family-first and getting things done right.
As for the ‘Oak’ part? Oak trees live for more than a thousand years and go through many changes during that time. They are resilient and are able to adapt because their roots are often seven times larger than the tree itself, and are designed to work in harmony with their environment to support the growth of the tree — which in turn supports the life around it. That’s why West Oak.
The next question is often, “Why call it a Family Office?” This is a great question as this term isn’t very common in Alberta. This is due to the fact that wealth is fairly new here, and is just on the cusp of becoming generational. Traditionally, wealthy families use the big banks and have someone who periodically helps them manage their wealth, hence “Wealth Management”.
We had many successful years of working within the ‘Big Bank’ system, but ultimately came to the realization we could better service our families by being independent of a bank. From there, it just made sense to look for a firm that aligned with our values for always putting clients first and who shared our entrepreneurial spirit. We also take great pride in our board positions that allow us to effect change in ways that add long-term value to clients, and to the firm.
Independence is a powerful tool which has enabled us to integrate all aspects of our clients’ finances in ways that benefit them — not anyone or anything else. It is not an exaggeration to say West Oak’s reason for being is to be dedicated to the families we serve.
West Oak’s reason for being is to be dedicated to the families we serve.
The needs of our clients have helped us become the team we are and the offering we have. We are a team of 10 people, serving 68 families, and all of us have deep financial backgrounds but with vastly different perspectives which makes us the ideal team to help our clients save tax, protect and grow their capital, and make their lives easier. The expertise we built into the team goes beyond education in finance, economics, taxation, estate planning, and philanthropy — we also live it.
West Oak is committed to the community we serve and have demonstrated that commitment through various philanthropic and volunteer initiatives our team has dedicated to over the years. From the Calgary Food Bank, Closer to Home, Habitat for Humanity, and the United Way, we are proud of our hometown and we demonstrate our appreciation by giving back in meaningful and impactful ways.