The strange owner of the brokerage, Gary Ng!
Gary Ng, who was 34 at the time, bought PI Financial for $100 million in cash in 2018. I feel like a fool for ignoring the Gary Ng story while writing 10 Wealthsimple stories in the past few months. Max Meier and John Eymann started PI in Vancouver in 1982.
When it was sold, it had $4.5 billion in assets under management (AUM). Gary didn’t buy PI as his first or last thing. He wants to bring together all of Canada’s independent investment management firms into one. Gary calls himself the Admiral of the fleet of financial firms he is building. I care a lot about how people are known, so I will now call him Admiral Ng.
Admiral Ng was born in Winnipeg, like Gerry Schwartz and Bruce Flatt. He also went to the University of Manitoba and got a degree there. Admiral Ng came from a poor family. His father was a mechanic and his mother worked as a secretary. During the dotcom bubble, when he was 18, he started working as a coder for Redknee.
He put the money into a contract manufacturer in China, which he sold to Industrial Bank of China in 2007 for $150 million. Then he tried golf and played up to 36 holes a day, bringing his score down to 77. Then he got tired of golf and started trading commodities after a friend suggested it. He first worked for Union Securities as a retail futures broker.
He traded pork bellies, canola, bonds, stocks, and options, among other things. Admiral Ng still remembers the day he started, February 2, 2008, because that’s the day his pet hamster died. Shorting the S&P 500 index “in a very, very heavy way” during the crisis, he made tens of millions for his clients and himself.
“We took it all the way to the bottom. You never get to rock bottom, but we were pretty close. Then, for the last ten years, we rode it all the way back up.”
Sounds like a plan that can’t fail. PI Financial bought Union Securities in 2012. Gary was a top producer, so PI wanted to keep him on, but he wanted to go out on his own. He started the company Chippingham Financial by taking over a small broker in Toronto. But adding one advisor at a time was too slow for him, so he moved on to bigger acquisitions.
Admiral Ng says that the average age of owners of investment dealers that are not owned by banks is 69. This puts him in a unique position to offer plans for the future and a long-term vision. He doesn’t seem like the type to slash and burn and roll up.
The most important thing to him is that each customer gets a plan that is made just for them. The old tailor-made plan! I like people who are only interested in making money. He’s not crazy about technology either, and he still believes in the human-heavy model.
He likes to buy companies with between $2 billion and $5 billion in assets, but he is also interested in bigger companies with up to $15 billion in assets. Admiral Ng has said: “I’m a friendly guy. I am not a conqueror. I have a lot of money, and that’s the best part.”
I’m interested in what he does. For example, his PI deal seems to have been done in just a couple of hours, without any haggling. “I told them that I didn’t want to talk about it. I asked for a number that didn’t have any “dicker stickers” on it—a fair price, a number they were happy with “.
He is now the Executive Chairman of PI Financial, which has a CEO who came up from within. Gary still works as a broker and is in charge of a book of business. His growing business empire is now spread from coast to coast.
This post was put together with information from different normojournos’ articles. I only tell you that so you know who to blame if something I wrote is wrong. I could not get in touch with Admiral Ng. This means I have no choice but to draw bad conclusions and send out an RFK (a Request for Kompromat).
Admiral Ng said this about how he made a lot of money from the 2008 crisis: “The only time new kings are born is when there’s chaos. If everything is fine, the new kids don’t have a chance.” Leave that with me, and if we ever get into trouble, I’ll get back to you.
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