British Columbia

Former Vancouver Canucks defenceman sues financial advisers for negligence

A former Vancouver Canucks defenceman is suing his financial advisors, alleging they gave him bad advice and sold unsuitable investments and insurance policies that amounted to more than his entire net income from his six-year hockey contract.

Lawsuit claims Jason Garrison lost money due to Vancouver wealth management company's negligence

Jason Garrison (right) celebrates a goal with Vancouver Canucks teammates Henrik Sedin (left) and Nicklas Jensen in 2014. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

A former Vancouver Canucks defenceman is suing his financial advisors, alleging they gave him bad advice and sold unsuitable investments and insurance policies that amounted to more than his net income from his six-year hockey contract.

In 2013, Jason Garrison was 28 years old and signed to a nearly $28 million US contract with the Vancouver Canucks. That year, he hired Richard Jones from RJ Financial Group, a Vancouver-based insurance and wealth management firm whose clients include professional athletes, dentists and doctors.

According to a statement of claim filed last month, the hockey player wanted Jones's help to manage his money — at the time, Garrison had little experience with financial planning but did not want to take risks with his money and intended to live off his savings over the long term. 

However, in the years that followed, the court documents allege Jones sold Garrison several large insurance policies and contracts, including three life insurance policies worth over $10 million each. The notice of civil claim maintains Jones told Garrison his recommendations would result in almost $44 million in capital after 10 years.

Investments were risky, lawsuit claims

Instead, the lawsuit alleges Jones over sold investments, causing Garrison to lose money.

Furthermore, it says Jones and his company did not warn Garrison about the risks associated with the investments. It also says he did not create a financial plan for Garrison and did not properly identify what kind of insurance he needed.

Jones is also accused in the lawsuit of completing forms using copies of Garrison's signature without his permission, recommending investments that were in a conflict of interest and selling insurance — policies to which Garrison would be contributing for 10 years or more. 

The lawsuit claims because of this, Jones, his company and five other companies involved breached contracts and were negligent in their dealings with Garrison.

"The dominant purpose for which the defendants sold the policies and the leverage loans to the plaintiff was to earn profit, premium, commission and other compensation without regard to what was suitable for the plaintiff or the plaintiff's best interests," the lawsuit says.

A response to the civil claim has not yet been filed in court.

When contacted by phone, Jones said he was shocked by the lawsuit.

He later said by email, "I took my relationship as an advisor to Jason very seriously. And his plans have performed very well over these past [eight] years or so. There were very specific and valuable reasons for Jason [to] have investments in these particular insurance products."

Garrison is seeking unspecified damages, including reimbursement of interest and other charges paid on leveraged loans.

Garrison, who is from White Rock, B.C., played with the Vancouver Canucks for two seasons before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2014. 

He now plays in the Swedish Hockey League. 

About the Author

Andrea Ross is a journalist with CBC Vancouver. andrea.ross@cbc.ca Twitter: @_rossandrea