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Women's Investment Group No. 2 fonds (P720)

1958-2006. - 23 cm of textual records.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

Four English-speaking Montreal women -- Leona Prescott, Theresa Lidwin Maloney, Frances Simard and Maisie Radburn -- signed a "Partnership Declaration" for the establishment of an investment club on June 20, 1958. The Women's Investment Group No. 2 was one of its three chapters. The purpose of the group was to educate the all female members in the fundamental principles and techniques of sound investing, enable the group to pool its resources for regular investment in the stock market and become acquainted with the growth theory of investment. Monthly meetings were held to discuss investment strategies, invite speakers from the financial community and share knowledge.

The group met in the boardroom of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Ritz Carlton branch, until the late 1980s. The Montreal Badminton and Squash Club, the Mount Stephen Club, the Atwater Club and the Westmount Library were other locales used by the group in the last 20 years of its existence.

While the number of members varied throughout the years of operation, it never exceeded 35. The executive committee consisted of a president, vice-president, recording secretary, treasurer, and later a market study chairwoman. Fees averaging $10 to $30 a month were collected on a yearly basis and pooled for investment purposes. The treasurer was responsible for the recording and executing of financial operations. A majority was required for investment decisions.

In the early years, individual members provided investment recommendations. By 1964, a market study subgroup met prior to the monthly meeting and was responsible for investment research and recommendations for the club as a whole. Investments were placed solely in Canadian companies until 1977, when the group began to diversify with the inclusion of foreign stocks, notably those of American companies. To encourage members to follow the stock market, summer contests were proposed whereby the member with the highest portfolio gain over a set period of time was declared winner of a cash prize.

Guest speakers were invited to discuss financial issues such as estate planning, portfolio diversification, investment principles and services offered by financial institutions. Richard Hart, of MacDougall MacDougall & MacTier, was a regular contributor as well as the group's broker. Noted Montreal investment advisor Stephen Jarislowsky was asked to speak on several occasions.

The group disbanded in October 2006. Too few members, a lack of interest in executive positions and the need for a new meeting place were among the reasons given. Judy O'Brien and long-time member Paula Gillett were listed as copresidents at the time of dissolution.

Scope and Content:

This fonds offers insight into the financial markets of the late 20th century through yearly security holdings and position ledger sheets, group financial statements and monthly meeting minutes. The minutes also provide information on female group investment strategies and on various financial speakers, most of whom were Montrealers. Group by-laws set out information on the structure of the organization.

The fonds is divided into the following series:

  • P720/A: Group By-Laws
  • P720/B: Meeting Minutes
  • P720/C: Membership
  • P720/D: Balance Sheets
  • P720/E: Taxation Requirements
  • P720/F: 1998 Club Survey