Morningstar Awards: Career Achievement Winner Raymond Chang

The former president of CI Financial helped take the company from $5 million in assets under management to over $100 billion. He also earned the Order of Canada and the Order of Jamaica.

Ashley Redmond 27 November, 2014 | 6:00PM
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Brigette Chang-Addorisio: One word that I would use to describe my father is inspirational. Truly, in everything that he did as a businessman, as a philanthropist, as a father and as a friend. He did so many wonderful things, he helped out so many people and he did it quietly. He didn't ask for recognition.

Ashley Redmond: Ray Chang, of proud Hakka Chinese descent was born the fifth of 12 children in Kingston, Jamaica. He honed his entrepreneurial skills at a young age working at his mother's bakery and alongside his business-minded father. Ray immigrated to the U.S. in 1967 then came to Canada to earn his engineering degree at the University of Toronto. He also earned his CA and CFA. Ray started his career with Coopers & Lybrand, then in 1984 he obtained equity ownership with some partners in Universal Savings Fund Management, a small mutual fund company that at the time managed $5 million. This company later grew into CI Financial, which in 2014 had over $100 billion in assets under management.

Bill Holland: The first memory I actually have of Ray was of him doing the CFA. He was talking to me about it and he was correcting the actual CFA manual. And the first thought that I had at CI was, wow, this might not be the place for me – here is a guy who is correcting the CFA manual.

Ashley Redmond: Ray started at CI as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, then became President and CEO in 1998 and then Chairman and CEO from 1999 to 2010. Under his leadership, CI became the second largest publicly-traded mutual fund company in the country.

Bill Holland: His legacy at CI is a big one. You know what I would say, it's about being helpful. He was the one person that would go out of his way to help somebody and the things that he would do to try to be helpful to them – especially in urging them to continue to educate themselves. I would say his legacy was one of being just the most genuinely helpful person that's ever walked through the doors of CI.

Dr. G Raymond Chang: If I think of leadership as knowing when to step forward and when to step back and actually doing it, and I look back at the opportunities – being able to identify the opportunities and then stepping forward and actually doing what is necessary, that is what has brought me here. And more recently, knowing when to step back and letting somebody better than I am, continue.

Ashley Redmond: Ray was not only a successful businessman, but a world-class philanthropist. He and his wife Donette donated countless hours and tens of millions of dollars to organizations such as the University of the West Indies, The Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto Western Hospital.

Donette M. Chin-Loy Chang: Fair play and equity were his hallmark of who Ray stood for. He thought that giving people a fair chance and giving them a hand-up was the best that you could do for people. He was all about community, community, community.

Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong: And then one day I got a call from Mr. Chang and he said, I want to come and talk to you. I said, okay, and of course, not knowing too much about the business world, I didn't realize that he was up and coming and about to be an explosively upwardly mobile businessman. Ray said to me, I want to support education and healthcare. I said, maybe think of supporting this unit I think they will do good. And you know, he said, fine. So, he donated one million dollars and I remember that because that was the start of something good for Toronto Western Hospital.

Ashley Redmond: During his lifetime Ray received the Order of Canada and the Order of Jamaica. He was an outstanding global citizen whose footprint in the world of philanthropy is simply remarkable. Education is something that he held close to his heart and believed that it should be accessible to all regardless of income.

Ray because the Chancellor of Ryerson University from 2006 to 2012. His love of learning was infectious. He attended class with students and was nicknamed the 'Students' Chancellor.' The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education was named in his honour.

Sheldon Levy: People like Ray and the contributions that they make live on well, well past the individual and Ray's name and Ray's spirit will be as much part of Ryerson as any spirit or any fabric of the University. A part of Ryerson was built by Ray and the part that was built by Ray is beautiful and wonderful and it will last forever.

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Ashley Redmond

Ashley Redmond  Ashley Redmond is a Vancouver-based freelance writer.

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