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Perspective Newsletter

What do you do at Northwood Family Office?

As part of the Northwood Operations team, my main responsibility is to ensure that our clients’ investments and requests are executed in an accurate, timely and cost effective manner. Additionally, I manage trade settlements, corporate actions and compliance and keep up to date on the financial markets, trading practices and capital markets regulations.

My day to day can change with the markets and the time of year (we just finished RSP season, whew!) and that’s what I enjoy the most, the variety and the challenge.

What do you enjoy about working at Northwood?

When I started at Northwood, we were a relatively small firm so I was fortunate enough to take on a number of responsibilities and learned a lot about what a Family Office does instead of just focusing on trading. We are encouraged to learn, expand your knowledge and ask questions. New ideas and suggestions are recognized and accepted.

What did you do before you joined Northwood?

I started my career at Midland Walwyn in the back office working a variety of roles such as settlements, cash management, reconciliations, account transfers and at one point ‘clipping’ bond coupons…yes, we actually cut the interest payment off of bond certificates. Some jobs may not have been the most glamorous but I wouldn’t trade this early experience for anything. I learned a lot and it helped me focus on what I really wanted to do, investments.

Since then I have worked mainly as a trader on a variety of desks at various companies – derivative, retail and proprietary. In the last decade I noticed that technology was starting to replace the need for some traders and I made the decision to change paths slightly to Separately Managed Accounts (SMA) where I generated and executed trades for Portfolio Managers.

My last job before joining Northwood was with Macquarie Private Wealth working in the SMA department. I have also worked as a licenced Sales Associate for an Investment Advisor at Canaccord Capital.

Karen on her travels.

What are your favourite things to do outside of work?

Travel, travel and more travel! My first trip was to Moscow and St Petersburg (Leningrad at the time) with my history class in high school – after that, the travel bug hit hard and I was hooked!

I enjoy experiencing different cultures, engaging with the people and of course, trying the food. It has at times taken me out of my comfort zone and also made me realize how fortunate I am.

I was lucky enough to have travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia last February before we got locked down. The history, landscapes and of course the Angkor Complex was something I will never forget.

I usually take 2 trips a year to somewhere new and am looking forward to hearing those magic words again… ‘This is your pilot speaking’.

What have you been doing during quarantine?

With the COVID restrictions, I haven’t been able to travel outside Toronto so I turned into a Toronto tourist. I’ve been going on long walks around the city and discovering new trails. I’ve also been watching documentaries and reading. I also keep in touch with family and friends virtually but am looking forward to connecting in person again.


Northwood Family Office

Karen D'Souza

Karen is a member of Northwood’s investment team and has over 20 years of experience working in the financial services industry.

Prior to joining Northwood, Karen worked with Macquarie Private Wealth in their Separately Managed Accounts department where she was part of the investment trading team.

Karen has a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) from Wilfrid Laurier University.

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