Billionaire reveals secrets of getting rich in 2011

Michael Lee-Chin is a self-made billionaire. He is ranked as 701 in Forbes Billionaire List  and has assets worth around $1.0 billion. According to Canadian Business, he is among the richest in Canada. However, what is surprising about his wealth is Mr. Lee-Chin was born in Jamaica, a country not famous for its ability to breed billionaires, of black and Chinese Jamaican parents.

As reported by Caribbean 360, at a presentation of the Barbados International Business Association in Bridgetown, Mr. Lee-Chin informed an audience of eager business-folk, that getting rich was not about spreading risk through widely diversifying assets, but was by following the basic five simple principles of wealth creation as practices by himself and America’s wealthiest investors, particularly Warren Buffet:-

  • Wealth is created by owning a few high quality businesses;
  • Wealth is created when the person owning those few businesses fully understands them;
  • That the businesses owned are in long-term growth industries;
  • That financing is done by prudently using other people’s money;
  • That the few businesses owned are owned for the long-run.

According to Mr. Lee-Chin, ‘nimbleness’ and ‘creativity’ are also important qualities for investors to have if they wish to be successful.

However, many budding billionaires are understandingly cynical of all this from a businessman who after he becomes rich, tells us how to do it. What would be more impressive, according to them, is for him to tell the story about the plan that he had for getting rich, how he stuck to it and how it worked for him. But such a plan never seems to have existed as the 5 principles Mr. Lee-Chin recommends, appear to have just been adopted along the way in an opportunistic fashion.  Again, surprisingly, the rich never seem to have these kind of stories and even if they did, they would surely be no more than historical, rather than practical models, bearing in mind the fast pace of new developments in the financial markets over time.

Also, if America’s richest did follow all of the 5 principles above that more or less guarantee richness, what happened to all that when the financial crisis saw the biggest and the best in the USA failing, or teetering and/ or having to be bailed out? Surely, bearing all that in mind, is the USA model as recommended by Mr. Lee-Chin, still a good one for how to make it in the financial markets and to keep your money?

I am sure Mr. Lee-Chin means well, but if it was that easy, we would all be swimming in dosh. My guess is that as we are all seeing, 2011 has started off as a tough year for financial marketeers and the recommended five principles will need to be considerably massaged and new principles injected via ‘creativity’ and ‘nimbleness’ for budding billionaires to make it.

Mr. Lee-Chin’s business is investments. He owns Portland Holdings Inc., which in turn owns a medley of companies running media, tourism, health care telecommunications and financial services business. His road to wealth was via moving to Canada where after working in security for nightclubs, he moved into financial services.

[Tim Kensley-Brown, Finance & Economy Contributor (Caribbean)]


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