President and Chairman
Michael Lee-Chin, President and Chairman of Portland Holdings (Portland), is widely regarded as a visionary entrepreneur whose philosophy of “doing well and doing good” has resulted in extraordinary business 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 post‑graduate 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 the stock appreciated seven-fold. 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 – held more than $15 billion in assets under management. In September 2009, AIC’s retail investment fund business was sold to Manulife. Today, Michael remains firmly committed to creating wealth for investors as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager of Portland Investment Counsel Inc., an investment fund manager, portfolio manager and exempt market dealer.
As the founder of Portland, Michael’s business accomplishments span various countries and numerous sectors.
At the helm, Michael has established an investment philosophy and guiding principles for each of the companies under Portland. Although some companies may not have possessed strong balance sheets or a guiding framework prior to acquisition by Portland, it has been under Michael’s stewardship that each of these companies has come to display the following attributes:
Solid returns on equity;
Positioned in a long-term growth industry;
Entrepreneurial, competitive and hard-working management;
Potential to be a global leader;
Possessing competitive advantages (for example, brands, relationship networks, licenses, etc.); and
Possessing quality tangible assets.
Portland currently owns a collection of diversified businesses, operating in sectors that include financial services, consumer goods, waste management, tourism, insurance, agriculture and media.
Portland is committed to “Building Strong Indigenous Businesses”. 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.