In a world with so much financial engineering going on and complex financial transactions there are those who have managed to prosper by looking for good returns while focusing on low-risk investments. This is the approached that billionaire investor Stephen Jarislowsky has successfully used as head of Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., the firm he founded in 1955 and based in Montreal, Canada.
He had recently stepped down running the company but remains as chairman. There is no plan to take the position of CEO. Instead the company is managed by a committee of four executives. Jarislowsky Fraser is one of the largest independent investment firms in Canada managing over $37 billion in assets.
The company does all its work in house including fundamental research. They have low-volatility managers and try to get good returns with below-average risk.
Stephen was born in September 1925 in Berlin, Germany. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1941 after boarding schools in the Netherlands and France. With the U.S. entering WW II Stephen served in the U.S. Army. After finishing basic training and studying Japanese at the University of Chicago he served in counter-intelligence in Japan after the war.
Stephen returned to the University of Chicago in 1946 and earned an MA in Asian Studies with Phi Beta Kappa Honours. He then went to Harvard Business School and obtained a Masters in Business Administration in 1949. Stephen then moved to Montreal and worked as an engineer for the next three years at Alcan Aluminum. Next he went back to the U.S. then when back again to Montreal in 1955 where he established Jarislowsky, Fraser & Company Limited.
Between 2002 and 2004 in several magazine and newspaper articles Jarislowsky correctly predicted the deep economic recession in the U.S. which began in 2008 and spread around the world. Outside of business Stephen is known for his philanthropy mainly focusing on education and culture. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Grand Officer (promoted from Knight) of the National Order of Quebec.