Canada’s affluent are an increasingly diverse group, finds a BMO Harris Private Banking study released today.

Read: Rich are now younger, more ethnically diverse

The study found that two-thirds (67%) are self-made millionaires, making their wealth on their own, while only one-in-five (20%) attribute at least part of their wealth to an inheritance.

Additionally, almost half (48%) are either immigrants to Canada (24%), or describe themselves as first-generation Canadians with at least one parent born outside of Canada (24%). Within this group of new Canadians, more than two-thirds (68%) reported that their wealth was self-made. Interestingly, the study found that new Americans account for only one-third of the wealthy in the U.S.

“For generations, many have considered Canada to be a place that provides opportunities for those who are willing to move here and contribute to the growth of the country. The findings of this study confirm this long-standing belief,” said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, senior vice president and head, BMO Harris Private Banking. “Today’s high-net worth Canadians, whether they were born here or have adopted Canada as their own, prove that hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit can result in prosperity and success.”

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Women and Wealth

The study also revealed that women make up one-third of Canada’s affluent, up from 21% three years ago. The study found that:

  • 40% of women generated their own wealth
  • One-third of women manage their own investments (versus 59% of men)

“Today’s women are controlling more and more wealth in Canada, and that number is increasing by eight percentage points annually,” said Dousmanis-Curtis. “From a private banking perspective, it’s clear that the face of wealth in Canada is changing and there is no longer one stereotypical type of high-net worth client. As an industry, we need to anticipate and exceed the unique needs of this diverse client base if we are to succeed.”

Other highlights include:

  • The wealthy tend to be younger in the U.S. than in Canada, with 24% of high-net worth Americans being under the age of 40 versus just 4% in Canada
  • 68% of affluent Canadians are men
  • Education is a big indicator of wealth with 80% of high-net worth Canadians possessing at least a university degree and 46% a graduate or professional degree; 10% have a technical, trade or apprenticeship degree and just 9% hold only a high school diploma or less.

Read: Landing high-net-worth clients

Regional Breakdown

Region Percentage who are self-made millionaires Percentage who are new Canadian millionaires Percentage who are women millionaires
National 67 48 32
Atlantic 83 46 37
Quebec 64 44 24
Ontario 64 45 36
Alberta 72 44 36
British Columbia 74 68 26