4Front Atlantic Conference

BMO Harris Study: Eighty-three per cent of Wealthy Atlantic Canadians Are Self-Made

June 14, 2013

BMO Harris Private Banking Changing Face of Wealth Study: Eighty-three per cent of Wealthy Atlantic Canadians Are Self-Made 

  • Atlantic Canada has the highest percentage of self-made millionaires in Canada
  • The region also has the highest percentage of wealthy women in Canada
  • Education matters: More than three-quarters of the region’s affluent have at least a university undergraduate degree  

HALIFAX, June 13, 2013 – According to a study released today by BMO Harris Private Banking, the wealthy of Atlantic Canada (defined as those with investible assets of $1 million or more in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick) are a hard working and entrepreneurial group with the vast majority (83 per cent) making the majority of their wealth on their own and less than 10 per cent inheriting their fortune. The study is the first in a series being released by BMO Harris Private Banking over the next year that examines trends among the wealthy in Atlantic Canada and across North America.

Additional regional highlights from the inaugural study include:

  • Thirty-seven per cent of the wealthy in Atlantic Canada are female, making this the region with the highest percentage of women among the high-net worth in Canada.
  • Forty-six per cent of the affluent in Atlantic Canada are “new Canadians”, having either immigrated to Canada or with at least one parent who was born outside the country.
  • Seventy-six per cent hold either an undergraduate degree or graduate/professional degree.

“We are extremely proud to see that the entrepreneurial sprit is alive and well across Atlantic Canada,” said Rick Thomson, Vice President and Market Leader, BMO Harris Private Banking, Atlantic Canada. “It’s particularly encouraging that so many groups are succeeding in business and in increasing their net-worth including women, youth and first generation Canadians. It really goes to show that our region, and indeed all of Canada, is a place of opportunity no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Key National Findings:

On a national level, the study found the following:

  • Two-thirds (67 per cent) of high-net worth Canadians are self-made millionaires, making their wealth on their own. Only one-in-five (20 per cent) attribute at least part of their wealth to an inheritance.
  • Women make up one-third of Canada’s affluent, up from 21 per cent three years ago.
  • 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).
  • 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




















British Columbia




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 (including a sub-sample of 30 Atlantic Canadians). The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 5.6%, 19 times out of 20.


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 with 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 http://www.bmo.com/harrisprivatebanking


Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia 

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Media contacts:

Valérie Doucet, Montréal, valerie.doucet@bmo.com, (514) 877-8224


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Media Contacts

Emily Farlow

NATIONAL Public Relations
(902) 425-1860

Sandra Goodwin

McInnes Cooper
(902) 444-8438

Ronald Monet

BMO Financial Group
(514) 877-1873