Roy Gilbert

Tea Nicola gives finance ‘a boost of benevolence’ with WealthBar

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Tea Nicola is the co-founder of WealthBar, which makes financial services tailored to the ultra-wealthy available to everyday Canadians. Kia Porter/The Globe and Mail Tea Nicola, co-founder of WealthBar, admits to wanting to be a kind of folk hero.

In 2014, she and her husband, Chris Nicola, co-founded the robo-adviser, the first full-service platform of its kind in the country. Having previously worked in wealth management, she wanted to make the kind of financial services tailored to the ultra-wealthy available to everyday Canadians.

“I felt like finance needed a boost of benevolence to be honest,” she says. “I wanted to be Robin Hood, in my own way.”

But there was more to the formation of the Vancouver-based company than just delivering high-quality, low-cost investments portfolios to the other 99 percent.

“We wanted to create where people are going to be happy and people are going to want to come to work,” Nicola says between sips of a double espresso, double long.

Nicola grew up in Bosnia during the war in the early 1990s and left her home city of Banja Luka in 1992. She spent her 16th birthday in a refugee camp in Toronto, before moving in with her mom, an English teacher, who had previously split from her dad. She went on to earn a degree in mechanical and metallurgical engineering from Queen’s University, where she was one of two women in a class of 30, before entering the field of financial services. She worked at Nicola Wealth Management (run by her father-in-law, […]

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