Phillips Hager & North Centre for Financial Research


Advisory Board

Maureen E. Howe, Chair

Dr. Howe has extensive experience in the capital markets, with a career that spanned corporate finance, portfolio management, equity research, and investment banking. She sits on a number of Boards including the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia where she Chairs the Investment Committee, TimberWest Forest Corp. where she Chairs the Audit Committee, and Veresen Inc. where she Chairs the Governance Committee. Maureen is a current member of the Canadian Securities Institute Foundation. Other organizations where Dr. Howe has served as a Board Member include most recently the University of British Columbia Board of Governors where she Chaired the Finance Committee, the YWCA of Vancouver, the HealthCare Benefits Trust, the BC Credit Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the UBC Investment Management Trust. Dr. Howe holds a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of British Columbia.

David Downie

David Downie is Chief Risk Officer, USA for RBC. In this capacity, he is responsible for the oversight and management of risk for all of RBC’s activities in the United States. David is based in New York and is a member of the Group Risk Management Operating Committee.


David joined RBC in February 1997 and was appointed an executive officer in Market Risk in 1999. Mr. Downie held this position through October of 2004 when he was appointed Managing Director, Group Risk Management Credit. In this role, he had global responsibility for credit analysis and approval for Non-Bank Financial Institutions and RBC subsidiaries. In June 2011, David relocated to New York to lead the market risk oversight team for North America. He assumed his current role in June 2017.


David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Alberta and both a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of British Columbia. Prior to joining RBC, David was Assistant Professor of Finance at the University of Waterloo.

David Schaffner

David has a distinguished career as an executive and investment professional, having worked 29 years in the financial markets, 26 of which are in investment management. David joined Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel in 1998 as Vice President of Fixed Income. Leith Wheeler is an employee-owned firm that manages assets for private clients and institutional investors across Canada. In 2004, David took on the role of Chief Operating Officer and Head of Fixed Income, and became President & CEO and Head of Fixed Income in 2005. From 2009 to 2013, he focused exclusively in the capacity of President & CEO. Under David’s leadership, the firm’s assets under management grew from $4B to $13B from 2004 to 2013.


After graduating with Honours in Finance from the Faculty of Commerce at UBC, David spent over 3 years in Ottawa and Toronto with the Bank of Canada in various roles related to monitoring financial markets and direct implementation of Bank interest rate changes and portfolio adjustments. He returned to the west coast to take on the position of Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income, at the Province of B.C.’s Investment Branch (now B.C. Investment Management Corporation), holding progressively senior roles in fixed income trading and portfolio management, including Acting Head of Short Term Investments.

Jill Leversage

Jill is focused on serving on the board of a portfolio of companies and non-profits including MAG Silver, Capital Markets Authority Implementation Organization (CMAIO), Partnerships BC and the Woodward Foundation. Ms. Leversage is a senior financial executive with over 25 years’ experience in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, including extensive experience in providing strategic advice to clients, executing M&A mandates, as well as debt and equity financings. Ms. Leversage has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary and is a Chartered Business Valuator and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia.

Stephen Burke

Stephen is the co-head of the PH&N Fixed Income team and the Director of the Applied Solutions Group. He also serves on the PH&N Asset Mix Committee and RBC GAM Investment Strategy Committee. Stephen joined Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management in 2002 and has assumed increasingly senior responsibilities over time. He had begun his career with an investment counselling firm where he quickly rose to become a partner and fixed income portfolio manager. Six years on, he took time away from the industry to begin his Ph.D. in Finance, and then returned as a fixed income portfolio manager for a mutual fund company while completing his degree. Stephen is also a CFA charterholder.

Sarah Morgan-Silvester

Sarah is a corporate director serving on a number of boards including: Canadian Western Bank, ENMAX Corporation, Grant Thornton LLP and Grant Thornton Consulting. She is past Chair of Port Metro Vancouver and chaired the committee responsible for overseeing the merger of the three ports in the Lower Mainland, including Canada’s largest port. Sarah has a background in financial services and was past Executive Vice President, Personal Financial Services and Wealth Management for HSBC Bank Canada and President and CEO of HSBC Trust Company (Canada).


An active volunteer, Sarah’s charitable involvement spans organizations focusing on health, education and the economy. She has a deep connection with the University of British Columbia having served as Chancellor, a member of the Board of Governors and Campaign Cabinet, a member of the Alumni Association Board from 2008 – 2014 and joined the PH&N Research Centre Advisory Board in 2015. She is the past Chair of BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre Foundation and has served on the boards of the C.D. Howe Institute, and Family Services of the North Shore. She currently serves on the board of the Vancouver Foundation and continues as a member of the Campaign Cabinet for BC Women’s Foundation.

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    Ron Giammarino
    PH&N Professor in Corporate Finance
    +1 604.822.8357

    Phillips, Hager & North Centre for Financial Research
    Sauder School of Business
    2053 Main Mall
    Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2