Stephan A. Jarislowsky, CC GOQ, was born September 9, 1925. He is a Canadian businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Jarislowsky Fraser Limited, which he has built into one of the largest and most successful investment management firms in Canada with billions in assets under management.
Stephan A. Jarislowsky was born in Berlin, Germany, and his parents were Kaethe and Alfred Jarislowsky. He is the stepson of a steel mill owner in Germany, who was ousted by the Nazis for harbouring Jews. Jarislowsky would go on to emigrate to the United States in 1941. He attended school in Asheville, North Carolina at the preparatory Asheville School before studying mechanical engineering for two years at Cornell University. With the US entry into World War II, he would go on to serve in the U.S. Army. He finished his basic training and studied Japanese at the University of Chicago before going on to serve in counterintelligence in Japan after the war.
He returned to the University of Chicago in 1946 and graduated with an MA in Asian Studies and Phi Beta Kappa Honours. He followed his studies by earning a Master’s in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1949. For three years, he would work as an engineer for Alcan Aluminum in Montreal. He only briefly returned to the United States but would return to Montreal in 1955 where he founded Jarislowsky Fraser & Company Limited.
In several magazine and newspaper articles between the years of 2002 to 2004, Jarislowsky correctly predicted the economic recession that began in 2008 in the United States and spread across the world. December 16, 2008, during an interview with CBC’s The Current, Jarislowsky said the current recession would last between two to five years, if not longer, if corrective measures were not taken by governments and the general public. He argued that inflation would be the only solution in the circumstances to reduce the enormous debt loads held at all levels of society, and massive and immediate government spending was required to stimulate the economy. Jarislowsky is married with four children.
Apart from his personal business pursuits, Jarislowsky is an outspoken defender of business ethics (and a harsh critic of ethical breaches). In 2002, he founded (along with Claude Lamoureux) the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance to further his cause. Although not directly involved in politics, Jarislowsky has been outspoken against Quebec nationalism. In 1997, in a speech he gave at the Westmount Municipal Association, Jarislowsky made comparisons between Parizeau and Bouchard with the fascism of Franco’s Spain and Hitler’s Nazi Germany. He explained that days after the 1995 referendum, he suggested the partition of Quebec and the transformation of Montreal into a City state. During his speech, he stated that his fellow citizens should oppose the PQ.
In 2011, a journalist from La Presse, Denis Lessard, contacted Jarislowsky to discuss the statements he made. During his interview, Jarislowsky stated his opinion, saying the independence movement in Quebec “is still driven by religious fervor. The people who want the power at any cost will tell you all kinds of stories to get it. It is maybe not Nazi… but it is fascist.” Following the publication of this interview, Jarislowsky would withdraw from the 2011 ADQ party congress he was invited to.
Previously, Jarislowsky was a director of the influential C.D. Howe Institute and has also been active in other corporations other than his own including SNC-Lavalin, Canfor, Southam, Swiss Bank Corp., Velan Valve Inc., Abitibi, and Goodfellow Lumber Inc. He has also participated in educational, cultural, and charitable initiatives. With his wife Gail, they have endowed numerous university chairs in Canada, those in Economic and Cultural Transformation (Memorial University), Economic and Financial Policy (Queen’s, established 1990), Environment and Health (McMaster, established 2003); Families and Work (Guelph, 2003); Religion and Conflict (Assumption University, Windsor); Public Sector Management (University of Ottawa, 2003); International Business Administration (Laval, 2000); Urology (McGill); Finance (the University of Alberta, School of Business); Biotechnology (Saskatchewan, 2004); Technology and International Competition (École Polytechnique de Montréal); History (Concordia); and Public Sector Management (Ottawa, 2005), Water and Global Health (Carleton, 2016).
He has also made significant cultural contributions, including The Stephan A. Jarislowsky Dance Studio in Vancouver, and the Fail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute Studies in Canadian art at Concordia University in Montreal. He has provided contributions to television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. He has also provided multiple lectures. In 2005, he published The Investment Zoo: Taming the Bulls and the Bears, which would go on to sell more than 15,000 copies in Quebec and pushed the French edition of The Da Vinci Code out of the top position on the bestseller list.
Jarislowsky has Honorary Doctorates of Law from Canadian universities, including McGill University, Queen’s University, University of Alberta, McMaster University, Université Laval, Concordia University, the University of Windsor, the Université de Montréal, and the University of Ottawa.