Richest People

Canada’s Richest People: Michael Lee-Chin

Canada’s Richest People
Michael Lee-Chin
(Photo: Louie Palu/Globe and Mail/CP)

Michael Lee-Chin

Net Worth:
$3.95 billion
(▲21.2% from 2017)

Rich 100 rank: #20
Change in rank from 2017: ▲4
Major company holdings: Portland Holdings, National Commercial Bank (in Jamaica).
Location: Burlington, Ont.
Age: 66

The Jamaica-born business magnate and philanthropist is the epitome of a self-starter. Four decades ago, he was the bellman on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship; in recent years, his own yacht could have been mistaken for one—before he sold it for a huge profit. His largest investment today is a $560-million stake in National Commercial Bank in Jamaica.

Lee-Chin, a civil engineer by trade, landed a job as a financial adviser in 1977 after struggling to find work in his field. He quickly moved up the ranks in finance while delving into the investing world, starting with growing a $500,000 loan from the Continental Bank of Canada to $3.5 million in four years. He put $200,000 of his earnings toward purchasing mutual fund company AIC Canada, which had holdings of about $800,000. Today, the company controls over $6 billion in assets. Lee-Chin now chairs AIC, along with Portland Holdings Inc., a private investment company that owns an array of other businesses in media, telecommunications, health care, tourism and finance.

Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017