Making A Jamaican Statement

Apr 1, 2002

Canadian mutual fund magnate Michael Lee-Chin recently expanded his empire with the purchase of Jamaica?s largest bank. He plans to use National Commerical Bank?s 50 branches to distribute every conceivable financial product.

Michael Lee-Chin, a Jamaican-born civil engineer with a degree from Canada's McMaster University, once had to make ends meet working as a bouncer at a local pub. But he didn't mind too much. He worked the graveyard shift at the pub and took business classes during the day. In 1977, Lee-Chin landed a job selling mutual funds for the Investors Group, a Canadian mutual fund company. "From day one, I had had the notion that to best serve my client, I had to be my biggest client," he says.

Lee-Chin scrimped and saved and invested every penny he could. Today, he is chairman and majority shareholder of AIC Group, a Canadian mutual fund company with $9.4 billion of assets under management. Forbes magazine lists him as the world's 413th richest man, worth $1.1 billion. In January, AIC bought Jamaica's largest bank, National Commercial Bank for $127 million.

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