The Bank of Nova Scotia History

Scotia Plaza
44 King Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5H 1H1

Telephone: (416) 866-6161
Fax: (416) 866-3750

Public Company
Incorporated: 1832
Employees: 43,869
Total Assets: C$282.16 billion (US$200.48 billion) (2003)
Stock Exchanges: Toronto New York London
Ticker Symbol: BNS
NAIC: 551111 Offices of Bank Holding Companies; 522110 Commercial Banking; 522210 Credit Card Issuing; 523110 Investment Banking and Securities Dealing; 523120 Securities Brokerage; 523920 Portfolio Management; 523930 Investment Advice; 523991 Trust, Fiduciary, and Custody Activities; 525910 Open-End Investment Funds

Company Perspectives:

Since welcoming our first customers in 1832, Scotiabank has enjoyed continued success by building on traditional core strengths--risk management, cost control, diversification, customer satisfaction and great employees. Our goal is to be the best and most successful Canadian-based international financial services group.

Key Dates:

The Bank of Nova Scotia (or Scotiabank) is born; it is the first public financial institution in Halifax.
The Union Bank of Prince Edward Island is acquired.
Scotiabank makes its first move into the Caribbean, opening a branch in Kingston, Jamaica.
Headquarters are moved to Toronto.
Bank of Nova Scotia merges with the Bank of New Brunswick, the oldest Canadian chartered bank.
Toronto-based Metropolitan Bank is acquired, making Scotiabank the fourth largest financial institution in Canada.
The Bank of Ottawa is acquired.
Passage of the National Housing Act leads Scotiabank to create a mortgage department.
Changes to Bank Act of 1954 enable Scotiabank to introduce a consumer credit program.
Bank of Nova Scotia expands into Asia with the opening of a branch in Japan.
Scotia Securities is formed to provide discount brokerage and security underwriting services.
Brokerage firm McLeod Young Weir Ltd. is acquired.
Scotiabank acquires Montreal Trustco Inc.
National Trustco Inc. is acquired for C$1.25 billion.
Scotiabank increases to 55 percent its stake in Mexican bank Grupo Financiero Inverlat, which is subsequently renamed Grupo Financiero Scotiabank Inverlat.
Economic turmoil in Argentina leads to the bank's sale of its subsidiary there and a C$540 million writedown on its investment.
Stake in Scotiabank Inverlat is increased to 91 percent.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Anderson, Mark, "The Lost Picture Show," Canadian Business, May 1, 1997, p. 93.
  • Blackwell, Richard, "Bank of Nova Scotia Looks to Branching Out," Financial Post, October 5, 1994, sec. 1, p. 8.
  • ------, "Scotiabank Expects Big Fall in Loan Losses," Financial Post, January 18, 1995, sec. 1, p. 8.
  • Darroch, James L., Canadian Banks and Global Competitiveness, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1994.
  • Haliechuk, Rick, "Scotiabank Profit Hits Record in 4th Quarter," Toronto Star, December 1, 1994, p. E2.
  • Kalawsky, Keith, "Bank Mergers No Longer a Hot Political Issue," Financial Post, March 25, 2003, p. FP1.
  • ------, "Scotiabank Looks South for Future," Financial Post, March 26, 2003, p. FP1.
  • Kraus, James R., "Scotiabank Weathers Growing Pains Overseas," American Banker, July 28, 1999, p. 4.
  • Laver, Ross, "Banking in Bad Times," Maclean's, November 26, 1990, pp. 44+.
  • Partridge, John, "Scotiabank Bids for National Trustco," Globe and Mail, June 25, 1997, p. A1.
  • ------, "Scotiabank Gets New Spin: CEO Provides 'Stark Contrast' to Former Management Style," Globe and Mail, June 21, 1993, p. B1.
  • ------, "Scotiabank Takes Hit over Mexican Bank," Globe and Mail, November 30, 1995, p. B1.
  • ------, "Scotiabank Vaults to No. 3: Montreal Trust Gives It Stronger Presence in Central Canada, Personal Finance," Globe and Mail, December 4, 1993, p. B17.
  • Partridge, John, Karen Howlett, and Sinclair Stewart, "Scotiabank Names President," Globe and Mail, January 16, 2003, p. B1.
  • Posner, Michael, "Titans at the Altar: Two Financial Giants Link Up with New Partners," Maclean's, July 7, 1997, pp. 50-51.
  • Schull, Joseph, and J. Douglas Gibson, The Scotiabank Story: A History of the Bank of Nova Scotia, 1832-1982, Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1982.
  • Stewart, Sinclair, "Scotiabank Chief to Step Down in 2003," Globe and Mail, December 4, 2002, p. B1.
  • Wood, Chris, "The Trials of a Banking Giant," Maclean's, November 18, 1985, pp. 34+.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.59. St. James Press, 2004.