Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact beginnings of the “3 Macs”, there is evidence of MacDougall Brothers dating from 1849. The roots however, go back even earlier. Donald Lorn MacDougall is considered one of the first brokers in Montreal, acting as a broker of bills and produce since 1843. He established the first stock broking firm in Montreal with John Glass in 1844. D. Lorn MacDougall joined with one of his brothers to establish MacDougall Brothers, probably in the early 1850s.
In these early years, there was an evolving succession of partnerships involving various members of the MacDougall family. In his time, D. Lorn MacDougall was a leading figure in the investment industry and a prominent member of the Montreal business community. In 1874, he was a central figure in transforming the former Board of Brokers into the Montreal Exchange and was elected as the first Chairman, a post he held until illness forced him to resign in 1883. His brother, Hartland St. Clair MacDougall, was also a founding member of the Montreal Exchange and served as Chairman from 1894 to 1895 and from 1897 to 1899. He succeeded his brother as the senior partner of the family firm when D. Lorn MacDougall passed away in 1885.
While there were various MacDougalls and their in-laws involved in MacDougall Brothers in these early years, one of the nephews of D. Lorn and Hartland St. Clair MacDougall joined the Firm in 1900, only to leave one year later to work for a competitor. Hartland B. MacDougall was a well known sporting figure in Montreal. Among other things, he won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Victorias hockey team. Why he decided to leave the family firm at that time is unknown, but he was successful elsewhere and served as President of the Montreal Stock Exchange from 1914 to 1915. Subsequent to the death of his uncle, Hartland St. Clair MacDougall, he returned to the family firm in 1921 forming a partnership with Robert E. MacDougall, a friend of no relation, under the name of MacDougall & MacDougall.
The Firm prospered during the “boom” years of the 1920s and suffered, along with everyone else, during the difficult years of the 1930s following the stock market “crash” of 1929. The Firm continued to be very much a family affair, with two of Hartland B. MacDougall’s sons joining as partners.
After the Second World War, one of his sons, Hartland C. ‘Tommy’ MacDougall emerged as the senior partner and guided the Firm until his retirement in 1975. Tommy MacDougall presided over a significant expansion of the Firm bringing in new partners and undertaking various mergers or takeovers as the industry consolidated during the 1960s and early 1970s. While previously the Firm had been dominated by MacDougall family members, by the mid 1960s there were ten partners and approximately 25 employees. The Firm prospered and gained a reputation for their conservative and discreet character.
The first significant merger was with MacTier & Co. on January 20, 1960, which brought Stuart MacTier into the partnership. The Firm was incorporated and the name was changed to MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Incorporated. From this time, the Firm became familiarly known as the ‘3 Macs’. Other notable names that were taken over or merged with during this period were Burnett & Company (established in 1868), Marler & Marler (1875), Kingstone & MacKenzie (1919), Stuart Molson and his half of the partnership of Molson & Rousseau, and Moat & Co. In 1975, the Firm took over Barry & McManamy, an old Quebec City Firm, thus establishing an office in that city with Olivier Samson, a former City Councilor of Quebec City, as a new partner.
While the Firm was now considerably larger and composed of a number of partners, the Family presence was still strong. Tommy MacDougall’s nephew, Tom Price had joined the Firm in 1954, later becoming a partner, and then President in 1970. Bart MacDougall (Tommy’s son) joined the Firm in 1959 and established an office in Toronto in May 1968. By the mid 1970s, the Firm had 17 Directors (or Partners) and approximately 35 employees.
In 1975, Tom Price succeeded his uncle as Chairman. The next twenty years saw significant change in the industry, including the deregulation of commissions and the entrance of the chartered banks through takeovers of other brokerage firms. Through it all, the ‘3 Macs’ continued to grow and thrive as an independent firm focusing on the needs of the private client. In 1988, Michael Harrison was brought in as President & CEO. The size of the Firm and complexity of the business introduced new challenges. By 1995, the Firm had grown to approximately 125 people of which 21 were Directors. Ownership of the Firm had also opened up to include the majority of employees, not just the Directors.
In May of 1996, Tom Price died suddenly. He had made a significant contribution over his 42 years at the ‘3 Macs’ as the Firm grew into one of the largest independent firms in the country. He was succeeded as Chairman by Bart MacDougall.
Over these last ten years or so, the Firm’s business has continued to evolve. It now enjoys a reputation as a first class investment manager with a focus on client service. Michael Harrison helped build a successful fee-based portfolio management business. During his tenure, the Firm opened up an office in London, Ontario in 1990. On his retirement, he was succeeded as President & CEO in June 2002 by Tim Price, (the son of Tom Price). Tim joined the Firm in 1984 and served in a variety of roles, including responsibilities in finance, administration and compliance, as well as serving as a portfolio manager since 1990.
A recent initiative has been the establishment of a wholly owned subsidiary, MacDougall Investment Counsel Inc., in 2003. On a consolidated basis, the Firm has around $4 billion in assets under administration. Ownership is broadly based among approximately 175 employees, of whom 25 are Directors.
From its formative years, some 150 years ago, and through five generations of the MacDougall family, the MacDougall Firm has been dedicated to providing high quality investment advice. Today’s ‘3 Macs’ is a broadly owned firm of individuals, which is committed to the fundamental principles of integrity, independence, performance and service.