Our Partners

Debbie Wong partner head shot.

Debbie Wong, CPA, CA, CRPC®

Vice President, Tax Consulting, Private Client Group, Raymond James Ltd.

Debbie joined the investment services business after deciding to focus her time on helping people with their tax concerns through value-added services rather than through a fee-for-service model utilized in public practice.

As part of our team of private wealth professionals, Debbie works with our financial advisors to guide their high-net-worth clients toward practical solutions to their tax issues. She has expertise in Canadian and U.S. personal tax, specific issues affecting U.S. citizens or green card holders, and cross-border tax (immigration and emigration). Debbie joined Raymond James in 2004 as the tax manager in Operations and then transferred to Private Client Solutions in 2013.

Prior to joining Raymond James, Debbie gained 10 years of experience working in public practice as an expatriate tax manager at a major international accounting firm and articled at an accounting firm handling financial reporting and tax compliance for small business families. Debbie obtained her chartered accountancy designation (CA, CPA) in 1998. She also earned the U.S. Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designation in 2018 to expand her perspective on the unique planning needs of our cross-border clients.

In her free time, she enjoys relaxing and travelling with her husband, and takes a particular interest in nutrition and fitness methods to age backward.

Riaan Bottha

Riaan Bottha

Senior Trust Advisor, Raymond James Trust

Riaan Botha is a Senior Trust Advisor with Raymond James Trust (Canada), responsible for providing estate, incapacity, and trust planning services for Ontario-based clients. With more than 20 years of experience in the legal, fiduciary (trust and estates), insurance, investment and banking environment with a focus on tax, estate planning as well as local and offshore fiduciary advice and structuring, Riaan advocates the importance of everyone having an up-to-date will as part of a holistic estate plan.

Before joining Raymond James, Riaan was a Senior Trust Manager at a prominent private bank in the Caribbean where he gained valuable experience in the offshore private banking environment. Riaan managed a team of senior trust officers responsible for the administration of a complex global book of trust and corporate clients.

Prior to moving to the Caribbean, Riaan spent 15 years at a prominent global bank based out of South Africa in various positions and his last seven years as the Head of Fiduciary Advice and Fulfilment. During this time, Riaan managed a team of senior trust and estate planning advisors who provided market-leading trust, tax and estate planning advice to clients. He also supported the financial advisors as part of the bank’s non-banking financial services offering across 13 jurisdictions.

Riaan practiced as a lawyer specializing in commercial and civil litigation, insurance law and trust as well as estate law. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Tax from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, U.S. and a Business Administration degree from the Gordon Institute of Business Science in South Africa. Riaan is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Paula Lester

Paula Lester

Senior Trust Advisor, Raymond James Trust (Canada)

Paula is a Senior Trust Advisor with Raymond James Trust (Canada). She is responsible for providing comprehensive estate, incapacity, and trust planning services to Ontario-based clients of Raymond James Ltd. Paula has worked in the trust industry since 2017, prior to which she practiced as a family and estate litigator. Paula is passionate about using trust and estate services to protect clients and their families, and to avoid the unfortunate situations she witnessed as an estate litigator.

Paula is a graduate of the Juris Doctor Program at Queen’s University, having graduated on the Dean’s Honour’s list. She also has a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, degree with a major in Psychology and a minor in English and Law, earning the university medal for highest academic standing upon graduation from Carleton University. Paula also has her Trust and Estate Planning (TEP) designation.

Outside of the office, Paula likes staying active and is an avid runner and ultimate frisbee player. She also enjoys giving back to her community through coaching and involvement in charitable work.