The BMO-Nesbitt Thomson deal

Bank of Montreal’s William D. Mulholland and Matthew W. Barrett and Nesbitt Thomson’s Brian J. Aune and Michael I. Sweatman

Bank of Montreal’s William D. Mulholland and Matthew W. Barrett and Nesbitt Thomson’s Brian J. Aune and Michael I. Sweatman stroll along historic Saint Jacques Street to Nesbitt Thomson headquarters, Montreal, Quebec.

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Commemorative coin.

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Brass plaque from the Nesbitt, Thomson and Company head office building at 355 Saint Jacques Street in Montreal, Quebec.

The purchase of one of Canada’s most respected investment firms in 1987 was made possible by Canadian government regulatory reforms made that same year, which allowed banks to purchase investment houses. This was Canada’s response to “The Big Bang” of global financial deregulation coursing through markets and institutions in the 1980s.

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Bank of Montreal’s acquisition of Nesbitt Thomson was marked at a ceremony in Montreal. In an exchange of gifts on the occasion, Nesbitt Chairman Brian Aune presented Bank of Montreal Chairman William D. Mulholland with a certificate representing the Nesbitt shares obtained by Bank of Montreal. Mr. Mulholland in turn presented Mr. Aune with an original portrait by Nicholas de Grandmaison entitled Riding at the Door, from the bank’s private collection.

The BMO-Nesbitt Thomson deal was historic: the first of its kind between a Canadian chartered bank and a Canadian investment firm. The purchase made it possible for the bank to deliver a broad range of investment services across the massive transcontinental branch network.

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Bank of Montreal’s acquisition of Nesbitt Thomson was marked at a ceremony in Montreal. Pictured here: Nesbitt Chairman Brian Aune and Bank Chairman William D. Mulholland at a press conference on the occasion.

BMO’s large size, capital base, retail distribution network, computer systems and global operations aligned well with the brokerage’s experience and entrepreneurial skills in the securities industry. The bank envisioned new markets – particularly the personal market, where investment and savings products needed a reimagining. The people at Nesbitt also brought a new culture and a new way of doing things into the bank that persists to the present day.


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