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Chris Nicola

Forty under 40 winner 2018; Co-founder and chief technology officer, WealthBar, Age 39
Rob Kruyt

It’s natural for children to want to rebel against their parents. So when it came time for Chris Nicola to plan his university studies, he was certain he didn’t want to pursue the field of finance and follow in the footsteps of his father, John, who started Nicola Wealth Management. 

“I originally tried to do everything I could to avoid being in wealth management by focusing on computers, software, math and physics both in university and in my career,” Nicola recalled.

But despite Nicola’s efforts to break away, he eventually circled back to financial management. But his software and science university education, instead of setting him back as he gained experience in the finance field, gave him a unique perspective with which to approach the sector he seemed destined for. 

While working for various tech companies, Nicola noticed something that only someone who grew up around finance professionals might recognize. Most of his peers hadn’t started to consider their own financial planning strategies. Nicola struggled trying to advise his friends and colleagues on how to best invest their money, knowing that mutual fund fees were high and that they didn’t have enough money for the services of a wealth investment manager. 

With no satisfactory alternatives for his peers, Nicola and his wife, Tea, decided they could develop a solution. 

“The irony of it is, we literally created something that was the same,  at least from the perspective that WealthBar is a portfolio management company, … as my dad’s company is.”

While both companies are portfolio managers, WealthBar has brought wealth management into the 21st century by providing ease and access to groups of people who would otherwise not have the ability to access professional financial management. 

As a result, Nicola may have rebelled more that he originally thought he would when he joined the sector, in that his company has been a significant force in Canada’s financial technology industry, helping disrupt the traditional business model and democratize financial planning.

Birthplace: Vancouver

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: M.Sc. in applied math

Currently reading: Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor and Lead by John Shook

Currently listening to: Canadaland podcast and Manager Tools podcast

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Scientist

Profession you would most like to try: Math and computer science research

Toughest business or professional decision: Risking other people’s money by deciding to start WealthBar and raise money from investors to do it

Advice you would give the younger you: Don’t attempt to get a PhD; go get a job

What’s left to do: Keep growing, work new financial products particularly in the mobile app

Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit