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Remembering Fraser Smith

Fraser-SmithCanadians in the thousands have found financial independence due to the untiring efforts of a man named Fraser Smith.

Fraser, best known as the father of “The Smith Maneouvre,” passed away Sunday morning after a battle with cancer.

“It is a great loss,” expressed Karl Straky, a friend of Fraser’s and Canadian First Financial Holding’s CEO. “Fraser will be truly missed by many.”

Fraser’s nationwide prominence started with a compact but powerful book he published in 2002 called The Smith Manoeuvre.

Smith-Manoeuvre-BookThe book illustrated how regular Canadians could use techniques previously employed by the affluent to accelerate mortgage paydown and build a larger retirement portfolio.

“His mission was, ‘To give every Canadian homeowner the opportunity to make their mortgage interest tax deductible’,” said his son Rob Smith.

The Smith Manoeuvre soon became a household name in the financial planning industry and Fraser’s book became a national bestseller.

With the strategy flourishing in popularity, Fraser went on to establish Smith Manoeuvre Financial Corp. SMFC launched in 2006 and ultimately became Canadian First Financial Centres, a financial planning firm built largely around his strategies.

“His motivations were always to encourage Canadians to not accept ‘average’,” said mortgage planner Darren Woodcock. “In his speeches, he often jokingly used the analogy, ‘You have to be careful of averages – if you’re sitting on a block of ice, and your hair is on fire… on average you are doing fine!’”

Fraser earned great respect from colleagues in the financial planning and lending industry. Sandy Aitken, CEO of TDMP, said simply: “Make no mistake that Fraser was a mentor and hero – and I consider him a legend in our industry.”

Fraser was well known for teaching people the difference between “good debt” and “bad debt,” and this message of his was adopted by mortgage professionals across Canada. “Fraser was a strong advocate for mortgage brokers,” said Straky. “His influence contributed to the advancement of our industry.”

Fraser made contributions far in excess of his financial planning success. He was a loving husband, father of two and grandfather of four. Fraser was also strongly committed to community service with considerable involvement in and support of the Sidney-by-the-Sea Rotary Club and the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

We knew Fraser a very short time, but that was long enough to know he had a warm heart, an infectious sense of humour and an outlook on life that was magnetic. He kept all three to the end.

Fraser Smith, 1938-2011