An Immigrant’s Story – From the son of a store clerk in a little village in Jamaica to the cover of Forbes' Billionaires Edition: The Story Behind Michael Lee-Chin
How to persevere in times of adversity and empowering yourself with the knowledge that “your actions today will be your history tomorrow.” Behavior in the midst of adversity, how to differentiate yourself, persevere and prosper.
“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything.”
Michael Lee-Chin has built his wealth on a defined set of principles which can be applied by anyone looking to achieve success in any endeavor. Michael Lee-Chin reviews and enlightens the audience on his 5 Laws of Wealth Creation and defines character traits and common behavior of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.
“Success begets complacency begets failure.”
How to avoid the human predisposition towards mediocrity and complacency and strive in the direction of consistency of behavior, success and control of emotion. The importance of having a cause and purpose that drives you and the importance of not only doing well but doing good. Michael discusses the need for businesses to embrace the communities in which they do business in and the importance of community development and nation building. Michael expresses that in order for businesses to be everlastingly successful their actions and behavior have to be consistent with community’s needs.
Michael Lee-Chin, Chairman, Portland Holdings Inc., is widely regarded as a visionary entrepreneur whose philosophy of “doing well and doing good” has resulted in phenomenal success and inspiring philanthropic initiatives.
Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica in 1951, Michael immigrated to Canada in 1970 to study civil engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. After beginning postgraduate studies, Michael decided to explore career opportunities within the mutual fund industry. At the age of 26, Michael became a financial advisor and, with growing success, progressed to the position of branch manager.
In 1983, at the age of 32, Michael borrowed money to purchase $500,000 of Mackenzie Financial stock. After four years, this stock appreciated seven-fold, and Michael used the profits to make his first acquisition, a small Ontario-based investment firm called AIC Limited. At that time, Advantage Investment Counsel (a division of AIC Limited) had assets under management of just $800,000. Within 20 years, AIC grew from less than $1 million and – at its business peak – posted more than $15 billion in assets under management. In September 2009, AIC’s retail investment fund business was sold to Manulife Financial. However, Michael and his team continue to sub-advise the flagship Advantage Series of funds for Manulife through Portland Investment Counsel. Michael has managed the Advantage Fund since inception.
As the founder of Portland Holdings Inc., Michael Lee-Chin’s business accomplishments span various countries and numerous sectors. In April 2006, Portland acquired an 85% controlling stake in the United General Insurance Company, the largest auto insurer in Jamaica, and renamed the firm Advantage General Insurance Company. A controlling interest in CVM Communications Group (consisting of radio and television stations and newspapers) was purchased at the same time. In the tourism sector, Michael has guided Portland through a number of acquisitions in the Caribbean. Among them, the Trident Villas and Spa in Jamaica, Reggae Beach and Blue Lagoon. The first Portland acquisition in the health care industry sector was announced by Michael in July 2006, when Medical Associates Limited, a privately held hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, joined the Portland group. Portland also runs a Private Equity Fund focused on investing in the Caribbean region; clients include OPIC; a division of the US government, European Investment Bank (EIB), Verizon pension fund and Export Development Canada (EDC).
Under Michael’s stewardship, Portland Holdings Inc. today owns a collection of diversified businesses, operating in sectors that include financial services, telecommunications, tourism, media and health care. In 2002, Lee-Chin received the Harry Jerome Award for Business Leader of the Decade and Time Magazine named Lee-Chin one of 'Canada's Heroes' in July of 2004.
Over the years, Michael’s vision for sustainable growth for Portland Holdings Inc. is anchored in two principles. First, Portland will invest in businesses that are economically substantial and provide exceptional products and services into the marketplace. And, equally important, these businesses must also seek to improve the social well-being of the communities in which they operate. Michael formally established as the Portland mantra – “prosperitas cum caritate” – which in Latin speaks to his goal that businesses must “not only do well, but also do good” – that is the measure of success. In 2008, Michael Lee-Chin received one of Jamaica’s highest national honors – The Order of Jamaica, for his significant contributions to business and philanthropy. In December 2014, Michael was appointed the Chairman of the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica.