Simon Fraser University

Investment industry leaders honoured

February 23, 2006 , vol. 35, no. 4

By Stuart Colcleugh

Simon Fraser University has honoured securities industry leaders Fred Wright, Rusty Goepel and Tony Hepburn as recipients of the 2006 chancellor's distinguished service award.

The award recognizes their contributions to B.C.'s economic well-being and help in securing the university's financial health through sound investment advice.

The award, which was presented at the university's annual awards ceremony on Feb. 16, honours individuals for their contributions to British Columbia in areas that are of major interest to the university or are directly associated with the university.

In 1991, when SFU enlisted the three to form its new investment advisory committee, the university's investments totalled a relatively modest $57 million. Of that, $23 million was in an endowment fund portfolio invested solely in fixed-income instruments such as bonds and preferred stock.

Today, thanks in large part to their advice, SFU boasts a total portfolio worth about $325 million - an almost 500 per cent increase in 15 years. And the university's endowment fund now totals $168 million - the 14th largest among Canadian universities - with a well-diversified asset mix including fixed- income, domestic and foreign equities. Cash reserves have increased dramatically as have the overall value of gifts and donations to the endowment.

"Aside from their contributions to the university, these three individuals have selflessly devoted significant portions of their time to serve on some of the most prominent boards and committees in the province," says Joe Weinberg, SFU associate VP-financial planning.

Wright, the advisory committee's chair and a past member of SFU's board of governors, is a founding partner of investment banking firm Capital West Partners and the former president and CEO of Pemberton Securities. He has more than 39 years of investment banking experience, primarily in capital raising and mergers and acquisitions. He is also a director of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame and the C.D. Howe Institute, and has been a board member of Sierra Systems since 1999.

Goepel is senior vice president of Raymond James Financial's Canadian operations. He chairs both the Business Council of B.C. and Yellow Point Equity partners, and serves as a director of organizations including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee, the Vancouver Airport Authority, Spur Ventures, Amerigo Resources, and Premium Brands Ltd. Goepel is also a member of the Canadian Olympic Association's pension advisory committee and is a recipient of the Queen's Jubilee medal for business leadership and community service.

Hepburn chairs Odlum Brown and was president and CEO of the company for 23 years, growing it from 65 employees and four branches in 1978 to more than 200 employees and six branches in 2001.

During his presidency, Odlum Brown was recognized as one of Canada's 50 best-managed private companies.

He has served on numerous boards and committees, including terms as chair of the Vancouver Stock Exchange, director of the Pacific Racing Association, director and treasurer of the Vancouver Playhouse and president of the Vancouver Club.