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Bank of Nova Scotia
Public company
Traded as TSXBNS
S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Financial services
Founded 1832
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada[1]
Key people
Brian J. Porter (President and CEO)
Sean McGuckin (CFO)
Revenue C$23.958 billion (2014)
Increase C$$7.298 billion (2014)
Total assets C$805.666 billion (2014)
Number of employees
86,932 (2014)

The Bank of Nova Scotia (French: Banque de la Nouvelle-Écosse), commonly known as Scotiabank (French: Banque Scotia), is the third largest bank in Canada by deposits and market capitalization. It serves more than 21 million customers in over 55 countries around the world and offers a broad range of products and services including personal and commercial banking, wealth management, corporate and investment banking. With assets of $791.8 billion, Scotiabank shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.

The bank was incorporated by the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia on March 30, 1832, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with William Lawson (1772–1848) serving as the first president.[2] The bank moved its executive offices to Toronto, Ontario, in March 1900.[3][4] Scotiabank has billed itself as "Canada's most international bank" due to its acquisitions primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean, and also in Europe and India. It is a member of the London Bullion Market Association and one of four banks that participates in the London gold fixing.

BNS Institution Number (or bank number) is 002. The company ranked at number 41 on the SNL Financial World's 100 biggest banks listing, September 2013[5] and is under the leadership of President and CEO Brian J. Porter.

History and expansion[edit]

Joseph Howe Portrait, 1881 $5 Bill Bank of Nova Scotia

The 19th century[edit]

Scotiabank was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1832 under the name of the Bank of Nova Scotia. The bank's vision was to facilitate the trans-Atlantic trade of the time.[6] Later, in 1883, Bank of Nova Scotia acquired The Union Bank of Prince Edward Island,[7] although most of the bank's expansion efforts in the century took the form of branch openings.

The bank launched its branch banking system by opening in Windsor, Nova Scotia. The expansion was limited to the Maritimes until 1882, when the bank moved west by opening a branch in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Manitoba branch later closed but the bank continued to expand into the American Midwest. This included opening a branch in Minneapolis in 1885 which later transferred to Chicago in 1892. Following the collapse of the Commercial Bank of Newfoundland and Union Bank of Newfoundland on December 10, 1894; the Bank of Nova Scotia established on December 15, 1894, in Newfoundland,[2]

In 1899, the bank opened a branch in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the meantime, the bank opened a branch in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1889 to facilitate the trading of sugar, rum and fish. This was Scotiabank's first move into the Caribbean and historically the first branch of a Canadian bank opened outside of the United States or the United Kingdom.[6][7] By the end of the 19th century, the bank was represented in all of the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.

In 1900, the bank's headquarters were moved to Toronto, Ontario.[7]

The 20th and 21st century[edit]

View of a Scotiabank facade in Amherst, Nova Scotia. This structure was erected in 1907.
William D. Lawrence (ship) carved into the Bank of Nova Scotia Building (1931), Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The bank continued to expand in the 20th century, although its growth now took the form of acquisitions rather than branch openings.

  • 1906 – The bank opened a branch in Havana, Cuba. By 1931, it had five branches in Havana, and one branch each in Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, and Santiago de Cuba. In 1960, the Government of Cuba nationalized all banks in Cuba and the Scotiabank withdrew services from all eight branches.
  • 1907 – The bank opened a branch in New York City.
  • 1910 – The bank opened a branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • 1913 – Bank of Nova Scotia merged with the Bank of New Brunswick.[7]
  • 1914 – Toronto-based Metropolitan Bank was acquired, making Scotiabank the fourth largest financial institution in Canada.[7]
  • 1919 – The bank opened a branch in Fajardo.
  • 1919 – Bank of Ottawa was amalgamated.[7]
  • 1920 – The bank opened a branch in London, and another in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
  • 1961 – The bank became the first Canadian bank to appoint women bank managers on September 11, 1961.[2]
  • 1962 – The bank expanded into Asia with the opening of a Representative Office in Japan.[7]
  • 1978 – The bank and Canadian Union of Public Employees signed the first collective agreement between a Canadian bank and a union on September 28, 1978, in Toronto.[2]
  • 2000 – Scotiabank's stake in Mexican bank Grupo Financiero Inverlat is increased to 55 percent. The Mexican bank is subsequently renamed to Grupo Financiero Scotiabank Inverlat.[7]
  • 2003 -The bank's Guangzhou Branch was awarded the first licence to a Canadian bank by the Chinese government to deal in Chinese currency.[2]
  • 2003–2004 – The bank acquired Inverlat banking house in Mexico, taking over all of its branches and establishing a strong presence in the country.
  • 2010 – The bank arrived in Bogotá.
  • 2012 - Scotiabank enters into an agreement to acquire ING Direct Bank of Canada from ING Groep N.V.

In its early expansion, the bank clearly followed trade and its customers' businesses rather than pursuing a strategy of expansion into international financial centres. Scotiabank is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, a joint venture of several major international banks that allows customers of the banks to use their ATM cards or check cards at certain other banks within the Global ATM Alliance without fees when traveling internationally. Other participating banks are Barclays (United Kingdom), Bank of America (United States), BNP Paribas (France and Ukraine through UkrSibbank), Deutsche Bank (Germany), and Westpac (Australia and New Zealand).[8]

Portfolio evolution[edit]

Scotiabank traded under ticker BNS on TSX and NYSE.

Throughout the 20th century, the bank grew not only in size, but also in breadth of products and services. Progress was conditioned by changing consumer needs, legal changes, or acquisitions of external service providers. A short list follows:[7]

  • 1954 – Passage of the National Housing Act led Scotiabank to create a mortgage department.
  • 1958 – Changes to Bank Act of 1954 enabled Scotiabank to introduce a consumer credit program.
  • 1986 – Scotia Securities is formed to provide discount brokerage and security underwriting services.
  • 1988 – Brokerage firm McLeod Young Weir Ltd. is acquired.
  • 1994 – Scotiabank acquires Montreal Trustco Inc.
  • 1997 – National Trustco Inc. is acquired for C$1.25 billion.
  • 2012 - ING DIRECT, now Tangerine (as of April 2014) is acquired for C$3.13 billion.

Mergers and acquisitions[edit]

The bank has amalgamated with several other Canadian financial institutions through the years, and purchased several other banks overseas:[4][9]

Bank Year established Year of amalgamation
Canada Union Bank of PEI
Canada Summerside Bank
Canada Bank of New Brunswick
Canada Metropolitan Bank of Canada
Canada The Bank of Ottawa
Canada Montreal Trust
Canada National Trust
Mexico Inverlat
1992 Scotiabank buys 5% stake
Canada National Bank of Greece (Canada)
Peru Banco Wiesse Sudameris
Dominican Republic Banco Intercontinental
Peru Banco Sudamericano
1997 Scotiabank acquires 25% of Peru’s Banco Sudamericano
Canada E*TRADE Canada
Canada DundeeWealth
Canada ING Direct Canada

Many former branches of Montreal Trust and National Trust were rebranded "Scotiabank & Trust", and continue to operate as such.


David Berry $100M wrongful dismissal lawsuit[edit]

In June 2005, David Berry, a very successful Canadian Scotiabank trader who had built a $75M/year business in trading preferred shares was fired on the grounds that he had committed securities regulatory violations.[10]

At the time, as part of a 20% direct drive deal, he was making more than double the CEO's salary and Scotiabank management had already taken steps to limit his compensation.[11]

The regulatory violation allegations from his former employer, left him unemployable to Scotia's competitors despite the appeal of potentially adding more than $75M/year to their equity trading profits.[11]

Documents delivered to the media showing that Scotia management had sought advice on terminating Berry prior to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) violation accusation, and the results of questioning during the IIROC inquiries strongly suggest that the securities charges were part of a clever plan by Scotiabank senior management to remove Berry from his position and simultaneously prevent him from becoming their competitor.[12]

In a ruling on January 15, 2013, more than seven years after the initial accusation, a hearing panel of the IIROC dismissed all charges against Berry.[13][14]

David Berry has a filed a $100M wrongful dismissal lawsuit against Scotiabank. As of January 2015, and nine years after Berry was terminated, Scotia settled with Berry on an amount that cannot be disclosed. Barry Critchley, who has been following the story since inception, published an article on November 6, 2014 in which he believes Scotia's $55 million reported legal charges would likely be connected to the $100 million lawsuit; but it's unlikely to be ever found out. [15]

Lawsuit seeking unpaid overtime with some of its retail branch bank employees[edit]

August 12, 2014, Personal bankers, financial advisors and other employees at the Bank of Nova Scotia could be paid as much as $95 million for unpaid overtime as part of a settlement deal in a class-action lawsuit.

The agreement, approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice during a brief hearing in Toronto on Tuesday, would cover thousands of workers for more than a decade of unpaid overtime.

The lawsuit includes approximately 16,000 Scotiabank employees across Canada who worked as personal banking officers, senior personal banking officers, financial advisors, and small business account managers from January 1, 2000 to December 1, 2013.

Class members say that overtime was often required, they couldn’t always get approval in advance, plaintiffs’ counsel David O’Connor of Roy O’Connor said in an interview. “For example, if someone comes in five minutes before 5 o’clock and wants to arrange a mortgage, you can’t kick them out when the bank closes.” Others said that they worked unpaid overtime to meet their sales targets, added co-counsel Louis Sokolov of Sotos LLP.

The deal stipulates that the plaintiff in the case, Cindy Fulawka, a Scotiabank personal banker in Saskatchewan, will receive a $15,000 honorarium in addition to her unpaid overtime.

Employees would receive 1.5 times their standard wage at the time, but no interest. Scotiabank will also pay legal fees of $10.45 million in the case.

“Litigating against the chartered banks in this country is not a task for the faint of heart. These are among the most powerful, well-resourced corporations in Canada,” Sokolov said. “The nature of these cases went to the very heart of their employment practices and they fought back vigorously as we would expected they would.”

The lawsuit was filed in 2007, along with a similar class-action filed by CIBC bank teller Dara Fresco of Toronto. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said previously that it intends to go to trial.[16][17]

Scotiabank manager’s death probe reveals multimillion-dollar fraud - $14 million missing from Scotiabank accounts in Mexico[edit]

Investigations into the murder of a Scotiabank branch manager in Mexico led to the discovery of frauds totaling millions of dollars that implicated numerous Mexican bank employees and executives.

The body of branch manager Maru Oropesa was found in a roadside ditch outside Mexico City in 2001, Scotiabank executives in Toronto sent bank investigators to Mexico. They soon discovered that Oropesa was involved in a $5-million fraud with her former boss, Scotiabank executive Jaime Ross. As the investigation expanded, agents uncovered about $14 million missing from Scotiabank accounts in Mexico and a total of 16 employees involved at almost all levels of the bank – including a cashier, a manager and a vice-president.

The $5-million taken by Ross and Oropesa was eventually traced to the United States, where the money had been used to purchase three planes. Ross was charged with fraud and money laundering, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Mexican cell phone records show that Ross’s phone made or received 38 calls between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2001 in an area near where Oropesa’s body was found the following morning.

Mexican police did not investigate Ross’ involvement in her death, but he remains behind bars for fraud. The 16 other Scotiabank employees found to be involved in fraud were never prosecuted – instead, they were fired. 'There's so much motivation to kill her'

Scotiabank's Mexico, Jesus Zamora Pierce writes that Scotiabank filed a criminal complaint before PGR (Office of Mexico's Attorney General) in 2001. "Under Mexican law, PGR has broad powers to investigate the allegations and, if appropriate, bring criminal action against the person or persons it determines are responsible. Scotiabank cannot file criminal charges against individuals. That is for the PGR to decide," the bank's legal counsel writes.

Scotiabank, which is headquartered in Toronto, has the biggest international presence of any Canadian bank, with 3,000 branches in 55 countries. The company’s vice president of communications, Diane Flanagan, told McKeown that the bank had done everything possible to solve the case.

“I can assure you that if we felt there was any indication there could’ve been a conviction or further information provided to the authorities that would’ve helped with a conviction, we absolutely would have turned that information over,” she says.[18][19][20]

Operating units[edit]

Scotia Plaza, Scotiabank World Headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Scotiabank has four business lines: [21]

  • Canadian Banking provides a full suite of financial advice and banking solutions, supported by an excellent customer experience, to personal and business customers across Canada. Scotiabank also provides an alternative self-directed banking solution through Tangerine Bank.
  • International Banking provides a full range of financial products, solutions and advice to retail and commercial customers in select regions outside of Canada, supplemented by additional products and services offered by Global Banking & Markets and Global Wealth & Insurance to meet customers’ needs.
  • Global Wealth & Insurance (GWI) combines the Bank’s wealth management and insurance operations in Canada and internationally, and Global Transaction Banking. GWI is diversified across geographies and product lines.
  • Global Banking & Markets, Scotiabank’s wholesale banking and capital markets arm, offers a wide variety of products and services to corporate, government and institutional investor clients globally.

As of 2013, Scotiabank services more than 21 million customers and has over $791.8 billion in assets. The bank employs more than 83,000 employees all over the globe including: Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Scotiabank is Canada's most international bank with 3,321 branches and offices in over 55 countries.

Corporate sponsorship and branding[edit]



Corporate Social Responsibility[edit]

The Scotiabank Bright Future program is the bank's global philanthropic vision. The bank's multinational reach has provided a unique opportunity to help people around the world through corporate giving and employee-volunteer programs that span across six pillars: education, health care, social services, arts and culture, sports and environment.

In 2013, the bank contributed $62 million in donations and sponsorships to community causes around the world. Scotiabank's employees spent 424,000 hours in 2013 volunteering and fundraising through formal community programs.

Scotiabank's corporate social responsibility EcoLiving program, encourages and facilitates environmentally preferable construction and renovation of homes. The company also has internal programs related to environmental responsibility and ethical financial and lending practices.[28]

Recent events[edit]

  • On October 20, 2011, Scotiabank acquired a 51% stake in Banco Colpatria, Colombia's fifth largest bank and second largest issuer of credit cards for the tune of 1 billion Canadian in Cash and stock (10 million shares). It is the second largest foreign transaction ever by a Canadian financial company overseas, behind Royal Bank of Canada's purchase in Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.[29]
  • On August 29, 2012, Scotiabank announced that it would acquire ING Direct Canada for $3.13 billion.[30] The sale was completed on November 15, 2012.[31]
  • On July 14 2015, Scotiabank announced that it would buy Citigroup's retail and commercial banking operations in Panama and Costa Rica. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The purchase would increase Scotiabank's client base in both countries from 137,000 to 387,000, and would add 27 branches to the existing 51 branches in both Central American nations.[32]

Scotiabank has a strong presence in Thailand through its 49% owned affiliate Thanachart Bank. With the recent acquisition of Siam City Bank, Thanachart Bank is now the 5th largest bank in Thailand with over 16,000 staff serving almost 4 million customers through 680 branches and 2,100 ATMs across the country.


  • 2005 – "Bank of the Year" – For Mexico, the Caribbean and in Jamaica by LatinFinance.[33]
  • 2007 – "Bank of the Year" The Banker Magazine – London England, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, Scotiabank Belize, Scotiabank Turks and Caicos
  • 2008 – "Bank of the Year" The Banker Magazine – London England, Scotiabank Barbados, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, Scotiabank Guyana, Scotiabank Turks and Caicos
  • 2009 – "Bank of the Year" The Banker Magazine – London England, Scotiabank Canada, Scotiabank Barbados,Scotiabank Dominican Republic, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, Scotiabank Turks and Caicos
  • 2010 – "Bank of the Year" The Banker Magazine – London England, Scotiabank Barbados, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, Scotiabank Turks and Caicos
  • 2011 – "Best Emerging Market Bank" Global Finance Magazine – New York, Scotiabank Jamaica, Scotiabank Barbados, Scotiabank Costa Rica, Scotiabank Turks and Caicos.[34]
  • 2012 - "Global Bank of the Year" The Banker Magazine. "Bank of the Year" for the Americas, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Canada and Turks and Caicos.[35]
  • 2013 - "Bank of the Year" in British Virgin Islands, Canada, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago by The Banker Magazine.[36]
  • 2014 – "Best Emerging Market Bank in Latin America" Global Finance Magazine in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos and U.S. Virgin Islands.[37]


Scotiabank has unionized relationships with employees in a number of locations around the world.[38] In Canada, the sole unionized workplace is the domestic banking branch in Deep River, Ontario.

Credit agency ratings[edit]

Senior Debt Credit Ratings (May, 2014)
Agency Rating
DBRS AA Stable
Fitch AA- Stable
Moody’s Aa2 Stable
Standard & Poor’s A+ Stable


BNS is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and registered member with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), a federal agency insuring deposits at all of Canada's chartered banks. It is also a member of:


Branch and office locations[edit]


  • All provinces
  • Northwest Territories
  • Yukon


  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • France
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Republic of Korea
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Puerto Rico As (Bank Of America)
  • Russia
  • St Eustatius
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • St Maarten
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Saint Lucia
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Turks & Caicos
  • Uruguay
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • U.K.
  • Uruguay
  • U.S.
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam


Bank of Nova Scotia. 1932. The Bank of Nova Scotia, 1832–1932. Halifax: Bank of Nova Scotia.

The Scotiabank Story: A History of the Bank of Nova Scotia, 1832–1982. by Joseph Schull

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mail Us". Scotiabank. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Pound, Richard W. (2005). Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. ISBN 978-1554550098. 
  3. ^ Toronto Star, May 3, 1904 p. 12.
  4. ^ a b "The Scotiabank Story". 2010. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  5. ^ "Largest 100 banks in the world". SNL. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  6. ^ a b – The Scotiabank Story accessed on July 23, 2008
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Bank of Nova Scotia – Company History, accessed on July 13, 2011.
  8. ^ "Scotiabank – Global ATM Alliance", Accessed May 5, 2010.
  9. ^ Deborah C. Sawyer. "Bank of Nova Scotia Canadian Encyclopedia". Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ "In defence of David Berry". The National Post. 13 July 2005. 
  11. ^ a b "The Trader's Revenge". Toronto Life. 26 May 2008. 
  12. ^ "Scotiabank explored fallout of cutting star trader’s $15M pay months before he was fired, documents suggest". Financial Post. 19 Oct 2012. 
  13. ^ "IN THE MATTER OF David Berry – Discipline Decision" (PDF). Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. 17 Jan 2013. 
  14. ^ "Former top Scotiabank trader cleared of allegations that led to his $100M wrongful dismissal lawsuit". Financial Post. 16 Jan 2013. 
  15. ^ "Could Scotiabank’s $55-million legal charge be linked to dismissed trader Dave Berry’s lawsuit?". Financial Post. 6 Nov 2013. 
  16. ^ "Ontario court approves settlement deal for unpaid overtime at Scotiabank". Toronto Star. 12 Aug 2014. 
  17. ^ "Scotiabank agrees to settle in overtime lawsuit". CTV News. 24 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Scotiabank manager’s death probe reveals multimillion-dollar fraud - $14 million missing from Scotiabank accounts in Mexico". CBC. 19 Oct 2013. 
  19. ^ "The Murder and the Money Trail". CBC. 18 Oct 2014. 
  20. ^ "Letter from Scotiabank’s lawyer in Mexico City". CBC. 18 Oct 2014. 
  21. ^ "Corporate Profile | Scotiabank". Scotiabank. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "Canada Running Series". Canada Running Series. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Official Bank of the NHL and NHLPA". Scotiabank. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Article 46(2) of the Collective Labour Agreement acknowledges that there will be strikes". Stabroek News. January 6, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Industry Partnerships". University of Waterloo. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "SCENE website". Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  27. ^ Scotiabank Caribana Partnership Extension
  28. ^ "Corporate Responsibility | Scotiabank". Scotiabank. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  29. ^ Pasternak, Sean (October 20, 2011). "Scotiabank Buys Colpatria in Biggest International Purchase". Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Scotiabank to buy ING Bank of Canada for $3.13 billion in cash". The Canadian Press. 
  31. ^ "ING completes sale of ING Direct Canada". Reuters. November 15, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Scotiabank expands in Central America". Scotiaban press release. July 14, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Advocate". Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Global Finance names the 2011 World's Best Emerging Market Banks in Latin America". Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  35. ^ "The Banker Awards 2012 - Global and regional winners". Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  36. ^ "Scotiabank Named Bank of the Year in Canada and Multiple Countries by The Banker Magazine". November 29, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  37. ^ "World's Best Emerging Markets Banks in Latin America 2014". Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  38. ^ "T43536-CSR05_1-10" (PDF). Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  39. ^ "". Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  40. ^

External links[edit]