Sébastien Mc Mahon – The Bridge Launcher
For Sébastien Mc Mahon, everyone is interested in finances. You just have to find the right way to present it. A skilled communicator, the Chief Strategist and Senior Economist also acts as media spokesperson for iA on macroeconomic and financial market issues. “It’s an important part of my job,” said Sébastien. “My wife is a high-school teacher, and we talk a lot about education in our house.”
During his doctoral studies in economics, he in fact aspired to become a university professor. But he set that dream aside to focus on analysis and modelling, another way to make data talk. “There is a science and art to graphs and diagrams. I liked building models, taking theory and making systems of equations to show impacts and make predictions.”
After several years in the private and public sectors, notably at the Quebec Ministry of Finance and Autorité des marchés financiers, Sébastien joined the economic team at iA Financial Group in January 2013. For almost a decade, he has been working his way up the ranks. “My role now is to get people up high enough to see the macro view, the big picture, and to understand how events unfold,” he said.
Chief strategists seek to explain how the economy and finance tie in together. “The chief economists of Canada’s major banks dissect economic data. We also look at the markets and their components. We combine economic and financial viewpoints to suggest investment strategies and manage portfolios.”
His first contact with finance was with eBay as a teenager. The transactional site made him realize that his American comic books could be resold at premium prices. After 20 years, the economist is still passionate about the superhero universe. Even without a cape, he has found a way to get a panoramic view of the forces that affect the economic world.
Sébastien is also very hands-on, as he acts as Vice-President, Asset Allocation & Portfolio Manager at subsidiary iA Investment Management Inc. “My co-manager and I are responsible for composing the funds and monitoring them to ensure that they perform well. Portfolio management is everything! You have to design the strategies, implement them, and then follow them,” he said.
An electric guitar player, runner and avid reader, Sébastien Mc Mahon is interested in history, anthropology and other social sciences. “Investing takes more psychology than you think,” he noted.