Stephen Jarislowsky

Stephen Jarislowsky was a prominent Canadian investor, businessman, and philanthropist. Jarislowsky is the founder and former Chairman of the investment counselling firm, Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., which he led for 63 years. He played a pivotal role in expanding the company, making it one of the largest and most prosperous investment management firms in Canada. In 2018, Scotia Bank acquired the firm.

Early life

He was born in Berlin, Germany in 1925 and moved to Canada with his family as a child. He spent his formative years attending public and high school in the Netherlands and France. In 1941, he immigrated to the United States and attended preparatory school in Asheville, North Carolina. Following this, he pursued mechanical engineering studies at Cornell University and later joined the US Army. After completing basic training, he furthered his education by studying Japanese at the University of Chicago before serving in Counterintelligence in Japan following World War II.

After coming back to the United States in 1946, he enrolled at the University of Chicago and earned an MA degree with Phi Beta Kappa Honours. He then pursued MBA studies at Harvard Business School, graduating with distinction in 1949.

After earning a degree in engineering from Cornell University, Jarislowsky began his career as an investment analyst and later founded his own investment management firm, Jarislowsky Fraser, in 1955.

Jarislowsky was a married father of four. He has been appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Grand Officer (formerly Knight) of the National Order of Quebec. In his free time, he enjoyed spending time with his family, gardening, walking, good wines, music, literature, and art.


Stephen Jarislowsky amassed most of his wealth as the founder of Jarislowsky Fraser, an investment management firm established by him in 1955. Although he resigned as CEO of the company in 2012, he still holds the position of chairman emeritus and also serves as the president of the Jarislowsky Foundation.

In April 2018, the Canadian bank Scotiabank acquired Jarislowsky Fraser for approximately $750 million in stock and cash. In addition to his accomplishments in the financial industry, Jarislowsky is an avid art collector, possessing a considerable collection that predominantly comprises Canadian art but also features Chinese jade and French impressionism.

Jarislowsky was known for his conservative investment philosophy and emphasis on long-term value investing. He was a vocal critic of excessive executive compensation and advocated for greater shareholder rights and corporate governance. Under his leadership, Jarislowsky Fraser grew to become one of the largest independent investment management firms in Canada, managing billions of dollars in assets for institutional and individual clients.

In addition to his personal business endeavors, he advocates for business ethics and speaks out against any violations. In 2002, he co-founded the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance with Claude Lamoureux, aimed at fostering a culture of strong business ethics.

In addition to his business activities, Jarislowsky was also active in philanthropy and public service. He served on numerous boards and committees, including the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada, and donated millions of dollars to various charitable causes, including education, health, and the arts. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989 and was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 1992.

Jarislowsky was involved in various educational, cultural, and charitable initiatives. He has funded forty chairs throughout Canada, primarily in universities, but also in other prominent organizations such as the Banff Centre, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. All these chairs focus on promoting ethics and excellence.

In addition, Jarislowsky frequently contributed to various media outlets, including television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. He is also the author of “The Investment Zoo,” a book published in 2005.

Jarislowsky passed away in 2020 at the age of 94. He left behind a legacy as one of Canada’s most successful and influential investors, as well as a respected voice on corporate governance and social responsibility.

Net Worth

His personal wealth was estimated at $1.5 billion.


Stephen A. Jarislowsky has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his career, including:

Officer of the Order of Canada - In 1990, he was awarded this prestigious honour for his significant contributions to the Canadian investment industry and his philanthropic work.
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada - He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1998 for his contributions to the field of finance and economics.
Canadian Business Hall of Fame - In 2001, he was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame for his exceptional business leadership and philanthropic efforts
Lifetime Achievement Award - In 2005, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Investment Awards for his significant contributions to the investment industry.
Honorary Doctorate Degrees - He has received numerous honorary doctorate degrees from universities across Canada in recognition of his business leadership and philanthropy.
Philanthropy Award - In 2017, he was awarded the Philanthropy Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in recognition of his lifetime of giving and charitable work.