About Us

Our mission is to transform the investment experience and focus on client’s needs as their advocate.

Cornerstone was founded in 2003 by Gary Cooper and Mike Gilchrist.           

In the aftermath of the collapse of the tech bubble in 2000, we were partnered with national firms that we felt were not acting in their clients’ best interests.  We wanted to provide a more client focused and cost-effective experience.  

We built Cornerstone with this in mind, cutting out the middle man and bringing institutional money management practices to individual investors.

"Don't think of saving money as a punishment. Think about saving money as a lifestyle change and a means to freedom." - Emily G. Stroud

Our Firm

We created Cornerstone because we felt a need to provide clients with clarity in an industry that can be confusing, frustrating and self-serving.

Everyone’s financial situation is different. Listening to our clients and understanding their needs is essential in creating a plan that works for them. Customized comprehensive plans – including financial planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance - enables our advisors to support all aspects of your wealth management.

Our goal is to provide transparency, to educate, and to deliver an excellent investment experience in an open, caring and respectful environment.

It is important to enjoy life’s journey. We care about our clients, our employees and the communities in which we live and work. These are the values that shape and define us.

"The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your terms." - Will Rogers

Our Team

Cornerstone's founding partners each bring more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of investment and wealth management.

Doing a great job for our clients requires a team approach. This includes portfolio managers, financial planners, tax and estate specialists, insurance specialists and business succession and planning teams. All of which are in-house at Cornerstone.

Gary Cooper, CFA CFP® Founding Partner

Gary is responsible for all aspects of wealth and financial planning, but primarily investment management, including portfolio management, investment policy, portfolio construction, security selection, and trading.

Gary has been in the industry for almost 30 years, covering all aspects of investment management including: trading, portfolio management, securities analysis, and investing. Prior to creating Cornerstone in 2003, he held the position of Senior Portfolio Manager with a national investment firm, but his passion for investing was always secondary to his desire to help others, and Cornerstone was the crystallization of those passions. Working with people, creating long term relationships, and sharing investment knowledge with them – along with the incredible team at Cornerstone - is a daily joy.

Gary and his wife Karen have two beautiful daughters and enjoy travel, golf, fine wining, and reading.

Gary Cooper | LinkedIn

Mike Gilchrist, CFP®, CLU, CHFC, BSc, MBAFounding Partner

Mike is responsible for wealth planning, specializing in advanced tax & estate planning, and succession strategies for business owners and high net worth individuals. A love of puzzles and problems is what creates a passion for helping clients with their planning and working towards the big picture.

Mike has been in the industry for more than 30 years, working for major life insurance companies and banks on the high-net worth market prior to creating Cornerstone in 2003. His favourite thing about being an advisor is developing long term relationships with clients, working with fantastic people and enjoying every day.

In his spare time, Mike loves all seasons of the outdoors, sports, and spending time with his family. Mike and his wife Bonnie have all three of their children in university and are looking forward to being empty nesters.

Mike Gilchrist | LinkedIn

Dawn Banyard, PFP, FMAController, Compliance Administrator & Advisor

Dawn brings over 30 years of industry experience to the Cornerstone group.

Along with managing a diverse group of clients, Dawn is also responsible for running the Cornerstone office in addition to her role as compliance administrator. Dawn has a passion for client service and all things “compliance”.

Prior to joining Cornerstone, Dawn spent 3 years as the manager of an Alberta based Bank and 19 years in varying roles with a major Canadian Bank.

 

In her personal time Dawn enjoys honing her cooking skills, travel, and spending time with family. Dawn and her husband Jonathan have 5 grown children, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 fish tanks, affectionately referred to as “The Zoo”.

Dawn Banyard | LinkedIn

Paige Lovas, B.MGTClient Account Manager & Lead Trader

Paige is responsible for managing the Cornerstone client service team, as well as supporting the portfolio manager daily as lead trader. She believes that our clients service needs should not only be met but exceeded.

Paige joined Cornerstone in early 2006, right after completing her Bachelor of Management degree in Finance at the University of Lethbridge. In her last year of University, she also completed the Life License Qualification Program (LLQP). She is currently preparing for the CFA level I exam.

She enjoys traveling, going on adventures with her dog, and eating amazing food!

Paige Lovas | LinkedIn

Victoria MathesonAccount Coordinator

You will see or hear Victoria’s name from the minute you come aboard. Whether it be insurance or investment related, Victoria is the ‘go to’ for getting things done. She handles everything from account opening, to initiating transfers, updating addresses, changing beneficiaries, redemptions, the list goes on (and on).

Victoria came to Cornerstone from a major life insurance company where she worked in the group benefits department. She is currently registered in the Life License Qualification Program (LLQP).

In her personal time Victoria loves travelling with her Fiancé, going to the gym, and binge watching reality TV.

Vitaliy Milentyev CFA, M.A.(Econ), M.Sc.(Fin)Portfolio Manager

Vitaliy has over 20 years of investment management experience. In his current role as a licensed portfolio manager, he is responsible for clients’ financial planning, investment policy, portfolio construction, security selection, and trading.

Prior to joining Cornerstone in 2017, Vitaliy built his career in several national and international investment firms and banks in Canada and Europe. Passion for helping people is also integral to Vitaliy’s non-profit and community engagements: he’s been serving on various boards and community organizations for over 15 years and finds real joy in making the world a better place one step and one person at a time.

Vitaliy and his wife Olena are raising two sons and enjoy sports, adore travel, meeting new people and constantly learning.

Vitaliy Milentyev | LinkedIn

John A. Gilchrist, CFP® Certified Financial Planner

John has been in the financial services industry for 26 years working primally with business owners and professionals. With a focus on succession planning, risk and investment management. John also works with many companies on their employee benefits plans. With a specialty in making complex problems into to easy solutions helping clients understand the “whys” of their plan.

Joining Cornerstone in 2016 after being with Freedom 55 Financial and London life from the start of his career has enable John to provide a new prospective and new products as well as diversification as part of the Cornerstone team.

John lives West of Stony Plain, Alberta and is involved in many aspects of the community. Growing up on a farm has ingrained a hard work ethic into every aspect of life. He lives with his wife Lisa on a small farm.

John A. Gilchrist | LinkedIn

Darcy L Quartly, CFP®, MBACertified Financial Planner

Darcy is responsible for long-term financial, retirement, and estate planning, specializing in business owners and incorporated professionals. His thirst for knowledge has him constantly exploring new ways to help his clients find the most tax efficient way to create retirement income and conserve their estates for their heirs.

Darcy has been in the industry for almost 20 years, working for Canada's largest life insurance company for 16 years before joining Cornerstone in 2018. His favourite thing about being an advisor is the ability to see the lasting positive affect proper financial planning has on people's lives and their ability to achieve long term goals and dreams.

As a former Navy Master Diver, Darcy is very passionate about scuba diving and the conservation of our planet's oceans. His love of the underwater world has been passed to his wife and two children. He and his wife Shantel are also avid motorcyclists and have spent many hours exploring some of the world's most beautiful places on a Harley-Davidson.

Darcy L Quartly | LinkedIn

Elyce Harris B Comm, CFA, GBA, CHSPrivate Client Manager

Elyce is passionate about making the financial world make sense. After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta in 2010, she moved to Calgary to begin working with a major insurance carrier in individual insurance planning and then group benefits. During this time she learned a lot about the value of various types of coverage. She also learned about how confusing the insurance industry and all it’s jargon could be! During this time, she also pursued her CFA Charter, while insurance is an important piece of the financial puzzle, it is one of many. With this additional knowledge, she works with young professionals to ensure their full financial picture – cash flow, investments, insurance, and planning – will set them up for success.

Outside of work she is an avid traveler and foodie. Four months after starting dating her and her husband and took a four month backpacking trip through Central and South America (as a first trip together!) and never looked back – since then they’ve been through the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and even spent their honeymoon in Botswana! With the global pandemic, she has been travelling much closer to home and enjoying all the Rocky Mountains have to offer getting out hiking, climbing, fishing and camping. Since he can come along on these trips, her Wheaten Terrier approves! While at home, she spends time with her dog, watching hockey, and reading. She also volunteers with the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society and serves as a board member for the Calgary Humane Society.

Elyce Harris | LinkedIn

Ryan Ashley, QAFPPrivate Client Manager

Ryan is the newest member to the Cornerstone team. He was drawn into the financial industry by trying to make sense of the often complicated and confusing aspects of investing. He found a passion that was more than just investing, including how financial planning plays a key role in tax efficient investing and risk management solutions. Ryan enjoys working with clients to help them achieve their “Why” in the most cost effective and tax efficient ways possible. How a holistic plan can incorporate all areas of your finances including your investments, insurance and tax consequences so your entire plan is working together.

Ryan has completed the Life License Qualification Program (LLQP). Recently passed the QAFP exam and is now pursuing his CFP.

He lives west of Lethbridge with his wife Kylee where they enjoy the peace of country living. It also helps him stay connected to his roots of being raised on a farm and he still enjoys helping with some fieldwork or equipment repairs from time to time. He has a great passion for motorcycles and snowmobiles and loves to explore this vast continent on them.

Ryan Ashley | LinkedIn

Our Methodology

We employ a top down, wealth management approach. Using a comprehensive assessment of where you are today and where you are going, we will develop a plan to get you there that will be workable and sustainable. This holistic approach will include money management, investments, insurance and tax & estate planning.

Proper investing is about process – building portfolios with sound, scientific, and empirically-driven techniques, employing pension-style management, designed to achieve your specific goals.

Life is a journey, and the most important part of the process is the ongoing evolution, adjustments, and growth of the plan. Developing lasting relationships, and working with you as you move forward and achieve your financial freedom, is our joy and passion.

Cornerstone Fiduciary Wealth Management
Head office: Calgary
Suite 601
438, 11th Avenue SE
Calgary AB T2G 0Y4
Toll Free: (888) 260.5360
© 2022 Cornerstone Financial Group All rights reserved.