A one-of-a-kind business enterprise has launched in the province
- By Liam O’Connor | February 23, 2023
The first Indigenous-owned investment firm is being created by Nekaneet First Nation Chief Alvin Francis and Council partners, along with Meckelborg Financial Group.
The firm is called the Wiyotisiwin Investment Management Company (WIMC). Wiyotisiwin is a Cree word that means “to be prosperous.”
In a press release, Francis said, “for far too long there has been a disconnect between First Nations and wealth management.”
Nekaneet partnered with WIMC so the First Nation could have more control over their trust investment and have a say in where and what they are investing in.
Francis’ ultimate goal is to create generational wealth for First Nations.
“Now, with this investment company, we get to (make) our own choices, but still go by the policies and guidelines of your trust,” said Francis.
As First Nations move towards the path of self-determination and becoming self-governing, wealth management is an integral element they must take under consideration.
Francis thinks it’s time a local company has a vested interest in making money for First Nations.
“Now that the federal government is settling these trusts, there’s going to be billions of dollars out there,” he said. “And we want to ensure that the future is taken care of by our own people.”
The firm will focus on managing First Nations’ trust settlements and accessing revenue and capital amounts that are held in Ottawa.
Meckelborg Financial Group, an investment firm in Saskatoon, has been working to help build WIMC for several years.
“Wiyotisiwin Investment Management Company is an innovative solution to building and acquiring wealth in Indigenous communities,” said Richie Stanviloff, a partner at Meckelborg. “This new company is a true step towards reconciliation as we look towards building intergenerational wealth and investment management for First Nations across Canada.”
Francis is hopeful they’ll eventually be able to attract Indigenous finance graduates to come and work at the firm.