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BMO Harris Private Banking Changing Face of Wealth Study: Diversity Reigns Among High-Net Worth Canadians

- Two-thirds of affluent Canadians are self-made millionaires

- Almost half of Canada's wealthy are either immigrants or first generation Canadians versus only one-third in the U.S.

- One-third of high-net worth Canadians are women, compared to 21 per cent in 2010

- Education Matters: 80 per cent have at least an undergraduate university degree

- U.S. millionaires tend to be younger than Canada's

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - BMO Harris Private Banking today released the first in a series of studies which examines trends among high-net worth Canadians (those with investible assets of $1 million or more). The inaugural study revealed that the country's affluent are a diverse group of individuals and that wealth can be acquired in various ways regardless of gender or birthplace.

The study found that two-thirds (67 per cent) are self-made millionaires, making their wealth on their own, while only one-in-five (20 per cent) attribute at least part of their wealth to an inheritance.

Additionally, almost half (48 per cent) are either immigrants to Canada (24 per cent), or describe themselves as first generation Canadians with at least one parent born outside of Canada (24 per cent). Within this group of new Canadians, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) reported that their wealth was self-made. Interestingly, the study found that new Americans account for only one-third of the wealthy in the U.S.

"For generations, many have considered Canada to be a place that provides opportunities for those who are willing to move here and contribute to the growth of the country. The findings of this study confirm this long-standing belief," said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, Senior Vice President and Head, BMO Harris Private Banking. "Today's high-net worth Canadians, whether they were born here or have adopted Canada as their own, prove that hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit can result in prosperity and success."

Women and Wealth

The study also revealed that women make up one-third of Canada's affluent, up from 21 per cent three years ago. The study found that:

  • Forty per cent of women generated their own wealth
  • One-third of women manage their own investments (versus 59 per cent of men)

"Today's women are controlling more and more wealth in Canada, and that number is increasing by eight percentage points annually," said Ms. Dousmanis-Curtis*. "From a private banking perspective, it's clear that the face of wealth in Canada is changing and there is no longer one stereotypical type of high-net worth client. As an industry, we need to anticipate and exceed the unique needs of this diverse client base if we are to succeed."

Other highlights of the study include:

  • The wealthy tend to be younger in the U.S. than in Canada, with 24 per cent of high-net worth Americans being under the age of 40 versus just four per cent in Canada
  • Sixty-eight per cent of affluent Canadians are men
  • Education is a big indicator of wealth with 80 per cent of high-net worth Canadians possessing at least a university degree and 46 per cent a graduate or professional degree; 10 per cent have a technical, trade or apprenticeship degree and just 9 per cent hold only a high school diploma or less

Regional Breakdown:

Region Percentage who are self-made millionaires Percentage who are new Canadian millionaires Percentage who are women millionaires
National 67 48 32
Atlantic 83 46 37
Quebec 64 44 24
Ontario 64 45 36
Alberta 72 44 36
British Columbia 74 68 26

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 305 Canadian adults who have $1M+ in investable assets. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 5.6%, 19 times out of 20.

US figures come from an identical study fielded during this same period among 482 American adults with $1M+ in investable assets.

* The Boston Consulting Group

About BMO Harris Private Banking

Backed by the stability and resources of BMO Financial Group, professionals at BMO Harris Private Banking are responsible for the successful management of wealth by providing expert advice and highly personalized services in banking, investment management, estate, trust, succession planning and philanthropic services - all in a coordinated and confident approach. With 34 offices across Canada, including Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, BMO Harris Private Banking is able to service clients in a variety of languages.

For more information on BMO Harris Private Banking, please visit

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For further information:
Media contacts:
Amanda Robinson, Toronto

Valerie Doucet, Montreal

Laurie Grant, Vancouver