At CMG, we have a saying: “If you’ve seen one business family, you’ve seen one business family.” In other words, each family is as unique as the people that comprise it, and thank God for that.

It’s one of the reasons that CMG’s philosophy is to “meet the family where they are” in their journey as a family in business. Cookie cutter advice and solutions don’t work, nor are they appropriate.

Our commitment to customization in working with families demands that we continually upgrade our own bench strength in order to bring the right resources to the table. And that’s why we’re pleased to announce that Quillan Quarrington has joined CMG as a Principal, effective May 9, 2022.

Quillan brings over a decade’s worth of experience with PwC Canada, most recently as a Partner in its Family Enterprise Services group – providing advice and expertise to families on issues including tax and succession planning, charitable giving strategies, and family facilitation. He has worked with small businesses and large multinationals. He also knows the complexities of a business family on a personal level. Enerstar, an oil and gas services company in Alberta, is owned and run by Quillan’s family, and he was its Chief Financial Officer for several years.

At CMG, Quillan will be focusing on providing strategic advice and guidance to business families in how best to plan for their futures, protect their legacies, and steward their wealth from one generation to the next. He’ll also be supporting families with tax guidance and governance services. And, Quillan will work directly with families and their advisors to find new and innovative ways to help them solve tough problems.


As Quillan puts it:

I’ve watched the way that CMG works with clients. And I think it’s how I want to work with clients. We can bring the right people to the table, and make sure that everyone’s aligned in the best interests of the family and working toward the same goal. It’s not about a product; it’s about a long-term relationship. It’s built on trust and being there when they need you. That’s complicated – and then explaining its real value in a way that’s understandable. I think our clients deserve that. We owe it to them.

Through Quillan’s years working with family firms, he has seen two issues arise again and again:

  1. Business families are looking for a “playbook” for succession planning. In other words, business leaders want to know what has worked for other companies.
  2. It’s easy to put off dealing with complex financial decisions. Especially if an individual doesn’t have a background in finance.


How Quillan tackles these challenges:

Every business family has to plan for the future, and every plan will be different

Succession is an issue that every business family eventually has to face. What are you going to do when you retire? Will your  children take over the firm? Will you sell? “That’s a fundamental question for every family. I think what makes it interesting is that every family is unique. There are different industries, there are different personalities of the kids, or the kids have different needs. I’ve never seen exactly the same solution twice” says Quillan.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all. It has to be the right plan for the right people.”

Quillan’s real passion is building long-term relationships with the families. “The business matters to them more. It’s personal to them. It’s a reflection of who they are as a family; it’s their legacy. I love the stories; I love the history. I love knowing more about the people behind the business” he says.

“For me the clients are extremely important. They matter to me on a personal level. And I see that here at CMG too.”

As we’ve said before, we’re concerned as much about the business of the family as the family business. And by that we mean: understanding how the family envisions their future; supporting communication within the family in order to facilitate smooth transitions; and ensuring that the family’s ownership plan has a clear set of rules and structures.


Financials don’t have to be daunting

Sometimes issues including estate planning, taxes, investments, or insurance can look overwhelming. But ignoring or overlooking these issues won’t make them disappear.

One of Quillan’s skills is helping to make these big problems manageable. “My goal has always been to find simplicity in the problems. To boil it down. It is complex, there’s a ton of different rules to know. But by the time I get to you, I can try to distill it down to something where you can make a choice and move forward and not stress about it.”

As a tax partner at PwC, Quillan found life insurance to be core to almost all of the tax planning that he did. “It needs to be simple and it needs to be straightforward for the client. And they need to understand why it may be the right answer for them,” he says.

At CMG we want to ensure that your business is prepared to weather potential future shocks, such as estate taxes or family buyouts. CMG helps business owners make sure they have liquidity and that they understand the different financial choices available to them to achieve their goals.

The takeaways?

  1. Every business family is unique. No problem is ever going to be solved the same way twice, because no individuals or families have precisely the same needs.
  2. Complicated questions can be simplified. Don’t let questions of tax, estate planning, or succession sit on the corner of your desk untouched because the issue is too big or seemingly too convoluted.
  3. If you’re not sure, ask. Have an open dialogue with the people that you trust, and don’t hesitate to reach out to those people with questions. We’re here to help.

Download and view this as a PDF here.


Sarah Reid is a Toronto-based freelance writer.