Michael Lee-Chin is a familiar name to those in the financial world. Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, he’s been named to the Forbes Magazine 2020 list of billionaires. He was ranked No. 1,063 in the world on the Forbes list with a real-time net worth of $1.5 billion as of Aug. 9, 2020.
Lee-Chin made his fortune investing in financial institutions that includes National Commercial Bank and the Canadian-based AIC Limited, which he acquired in 1987. At that time AIC Limited had less than $1 billion in assets and under his direction it increased that to $10 billion by 2002. The majority of his wealth is now due to his 65 percent holdings in National Commercial Bank Jamaica.
The self-made billionaire also owns or holds an interest in numerous companies and subsidiaries that include Columbus Communications, Sauce Cable Company, Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline, Radio Jamaica, the Reggae Beach Resort, Trident Hotel, Senvia Money Services, and Wallenford Coffee.
His rise to become one of the richest men in the world began from humble beginnings. He was born to Aston Lee and Hyacinth Gloria Chin, both of whom are biracial African and Chinese-Jamaicans. When Chin was seven years old, his mother married Vincent Chin. Lee-Chin’s stepfather ran a local grocery store. His mother sold Avon and worked as a bookkeeper for local farms.
He attended Titchfield High in Jamaica and holds a Bachelor of Arts/Sciences degree from McMaster University. He worked a landscaping job at a hotel as a teen before moving on to cleaning the engine room on the cruise ship Jamaican Queen. Lee-Chin is currently 69-years-old and a resident of Canada.
Lee-Chin believes in giving back. The philanthropist pledged $30 million to the Royal Ontario Museum in 2003. He made a gift of $10 million to the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto to establish the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship. He also made a contribution to McMaster University and donated $10 million to the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.
In 2016, he was appointed chairman of Jamaica’s Economic Growth Council and in 2017, Lee-Chin was appointed to the Order of Ontario. He also served as the eighth chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. Lee-Chin and his family were honored with the 2015 Association of Fundraising Professionals’ National Philanthropy Award – Golden Horseshoe Chapter – for Outstanding Philanthropist.
Source: Forbes Magazine