Don’t ask financial adviser Chris Moynes which team he’s backing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup championship.
Moynes, 48, handles roughly 10% of the NHL’s active-player roster, about 75 players, and his loyalty lies with his clients.
The trouble is, he’s had at least one on most of the contending teams throughout the playoffs. In the finals, which began Monday, it’s Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen of the Boston Bruins vs. Carl Gunnarsson of the St. Louis Blues.
Moynes doesn’t mind.
He and his Southern California-based firm, One Capital Management, have carved a big niche in a field dominated by a few Canadian banks, including Royal Bank of Canada, where Moynes spent a decade working in the sports and entertainment group.
The Toronto native shouldered his way into the high-flying realm of sports wealth advising with an unorthodox, hardworking style that jibes with hockey’s blue-collar roots.
A typical work week might find him pleading with a player to get a will or sign a pre-nup, visiting another at a rink in Europe or telling a client in no uncertain – but certainly profane – terms not to plunk down six figures on an impulsive purchase.
“A lot of people in my position basically become the yes man, so they can acquire clients,’’ he said. “I don’t give a s—, to be frank. I am going to tell them not to spend $250,000 on a car.’’
The same goes for home buying. Though he won’t name names, Moynes says he’s fired clients who refused to get with the program. One bought a $2.5 million house without letting Moynes know until he asked for $250,000 for a down payment.
“He is pretty vocal about what we’re doing,’’ said Matt Martin, the New York Islanders winger who’s been with Moynes for about a decade.
Martin, whose engagement to former football star Boomer Esiason’s daughter Sydney was highlighted in the New York tabloids last year, was on the receiving end of a Moynes harangue when they met to discuss finances last fall.
Martin doesn’t have a will, and Moynes insisted he get one. “When he wants something done, he is going to harp on it,’’ Martin said. (They’re working on it, Moynes said.)
Professional hockey ranks below basketball, baseball and football in terms of player pay, but the game still mints plenty of multimillionaires. At One Capital, Moynes’s One Sports and Entertainment Group contributes about 8%, or $130 million, of the firm’s $1.6 billion in assets under management.
One Capital founder Donald McDonald said he recruited Moynes to start the sports division in 2014 because of his focus on matters beyond dollars and cents.
“A lot of the conversations Moynes has with his clients are not about investment management,’’ McDonald said. “He has the ability to see the big picture.’’
Moynes operates from a home base in Toronto, but flies more than 150,000 miles annually. He spends as many as 175 nights a year in hotels visiting clients, prospecting for new ones and attending events like the NHL All-Star Game. In the off season, he goes to so many weddings that his wife, Sarah, has permanently begged off attending.
Unlike many competitors, Moynes focuses on signing young, unproven players who toil in the American Hockey League, in Europe or in U.S. junior programs. His firm makes little money on them, but he’s decided the potential upside is worth the investment.
“What if I turn down an American League guy who all of a sudden is lighting it up in the NHL and signs an 8-year deal?’’ he asked.
Working the Draft
Finding those types of players was part of the goal when Moynes and his One Sports team headed for the NHL Draft in Dallas last June. The two-day affair is the big event of hockey’s off season.
Executives, agents and former players took over the neighborhood surrounding the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Stars. Ultimately, Moynes signed several of the draftees there – none of whom are immediately headed to the NHL.
Dressed in his standard uniform – Under Armour pants, sneakers and pullover with the One Sports logo, Moynes hustled between meetings, which often took place in a couple of chairs in the W Hotel lobby.
The firm sponsored a pre-draft dinner for about a half-dozen likely draftees and their families in a private room at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. There, Moynes gave a short speech wishing them luck and then handed out copies of an investing guide for athletes he wrote: “The Pro’s Process.’’
He first published the book while still at RBC, but the bank wanted nothing to do with it, he says – in part because it told a number of horror stories of professional athletes who squandered their fortunes. RBC opposed using actual names, but when he joined One Capital, Moynes quickly revised the guide adding not only names, but also pictures.
Featured athletes include NHL enforcer Darren McCarty, who filed for bankruptcy with $6.2 million in debts; boxer Evander Holyfield, who lost his mansion to foreclosure; and all-star basketball player Antoine Walker, who blew through $100 million on gambling, commercial real estate deals and an entourage.
“My mantra is: Don’t let it happen to you,’’ Moynes said. “Don’t go broke.’’
Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, who has used Moynes for about 12 years, said the advice is blunt, but it’s also apt.
Earlier in his career, Foligno was determined to build his dream house on a lake in Sudbury, Ontario. But Moynes worried that he didn’t have enough liquid savings. At the time, labor issues were looming in the NHL, adding to the uncertainty. After a long discussion, Foligno reluctantly agreed to wait.