National Bank of Canada: The Family Advantage Fall 2020 Report


The performance of publicly-traded Canadian family-controlled companies consistently exceeds that of widely held companies

MONTREAL, Oct. 13, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ РNational Bank of Canada released today its Family Advantage Fall 2020 report, which helps to better understand the inherent advantages of family-owned companies through an analysis of 38 Canadian corporations under family or founder control. The report clearly demonstrates superior long-term performance of publicly-traded Canadian family businesses.

Regional breakdown of the 38 companies included in the NBC Canadian Family Index (June 2020) (CNW Group/National Bank of Canada)

This year, the publication features the perspectives of nine business leaders whose companies are shaping the Canadian economy: Jenny Coco (Coco Group), Sarah Davis (Loblaw), Stephany Fier (Silvercrest Metals), Christiane Germain (Groupe Germain), Julie Godin (CGI), Linda Hasenfratz (Linamar Corp.), Madeleine Paquin (Logistec), Maureen Sabia (Canadian Tire) and Nancy Southern (ATCO/Canadian Utilities).


  • The report features the NBC Canadian Family Index, calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices, which tracks and measures the performance of Canadian companies controlled by families and founders against the S&P/TSX Composite Index, the leading Canadian stock market index.
  • Over the past 15 years, the NBC Canadian Family Total Return Index has registered an absolute return of¬†180.9%¬†compared to¬†140.5%¬†for the S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index (7.1%¬†compared to¬†6.0%¬†in annualized terms).
  • Key findings:
    • Public or private family-owned businesses are united by their long-term vision and their interest in maintaining their perenniality and fostering sustained growth from generation to generation. They generate long-term competitive advantages not only for their shareholders, but also for a multitude of stakeholders such as their employees, suppliers and customers, which is beneficial for the economy and community in general.
    • Family businesses create an environment conducive to the emergence of women in senior management positions. Our analysis shows that¬†13%¬†of CEOs of NBC Canadian Family Index companies are women versus¬†5%¬†for the S&P/TSX Composite. For director positions, this percentage is¬†28%¬†for the Family Index compared to¬†18%¬†on average at Canadian companies.


  • Vincent Joli-Coeur, Vice-Chairman, Financial Markets at National Bank of¬†Canada: “We are proud to release the third report of The Family Advantage series and to announce that the NBC Canadian Family Index calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices continues to show the strong performance of its constituent companies relative to their widely held peers and their long-term focus. The 2020 vintage of the Family Index includes 38 remarkable Canadian success stories, and the total market capitalization of these companies amounts to 22% of total S&P/TSX capitalization.”

  • Dr.¬†Karl Moore, Associate Professor,¬†Desautels Faculty¬†of Management,¬†McGill University¬†and Associate, Green Templeton College,¬†Oxford University:¬†“When National Bank of¬†Canada¬†asked me to interview some of the top women in Canadian family businesses, I was particularly delighted. I had long felt that women in family businesses had been neglected in our thinking about family business in our country. For the majority of the executives we talked to, it was mum and dad who were effectively the co-CEOs of these family firms. In those days the man had to take precedence. Today, thankfully, things are different. Daughters are increasingly the CEOs and rightly so.”

  • Sarah Davis, President, Loblaw Companies Limited, believes family ownership is a key enabler of successfully delivering on transformational long-term objectives:¬†“Patience and long-term vision, enabled by the¬†Weston¬†family’s ownership, were instrumental in taking a bold leap of faith in further expanding Loblaw into the pharmacy segment with our¬†$12.4 billion¬†Shoppers Drug Mart acquisition in 2013.”

  • Julie Godin, Co-Chair of the Board, Executive Vice-President, Strategic Planning and Corporate Development of CGI, on business culture: “Culture should be a continuous evolution, not a revolution. The backbone of CGI’s culture is its commitment to ensuring that the company’s employees have the opportunity to become shareholders. The concept is that when employees are owners, they have a right and responsibility to help shape the company and they feel the accountability for delivering value for all stakeholders.”

  • Maureen Sabia, Chairman of the Board of Canadian Tire Corporation, believes that the mantra of modern boards of directors needs to be changed: “Mere oversight is not enough. To adequately represent the long-term interests of shareholders and other stakeholders, a board has to be an active partner with management to create a path of long-term value generation, combined with a healthy and constructive skepticism of management.

About The Family Advantage 2020 report
The Family Advantage 2020 updates and enriches the 2018 edition of the report. It presents the NBC Canadian Family Index calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices, which tracks and measures the performance of Canadian companies controlled by families relative to the S&P/TSX Composite Index, the main index of the stock market. The Family Index includes 38 family-owned Canadian companies in different sectors across the country (see the full list of companies included in the Appendix) and is based on the application of objective quantitative criteria to an index universe provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices, the Index calculator.

In the NBC Canadian Family Index, a company is considered to be family-controlled if the founding family or founder(s) directly or indirectly hold at least 10% of the company’s voting rights or, alternatively, if individual(s) and/or related entities hold at least 33.3% of the company’s voting rights (for more information, please see our website¬†here.)

Vincent Joli-Coeur, Stephanie Larivière and Philippe Lefebvre Duquette from National Bank of Canada alongside academic contributor Dr. Karl Moore of McGill University and Oxford University are the co-authors and coordinators of this report.

About National Bank of Canada
With $322¬†billion in assets as at¬†July 31, 2020,¬†National Bank of¬†Canada¬†, together with its subsidiaries, forms one of¬†Canada’s¬†leading integrated financial groups. It has more than 26,000¬†employees in knowledge-intensive positions and has been recognized numerous times as a top employer and for its commitment to diversity. Its securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA). Follow the Bank’s activities at¬†¬†or via social media such as¬†Facebook,¬†LinkedIn¬†and¬†Twitter.

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