A team of dedicated and proven experts

People are the core asset of Van Berkom.

Founder and Partner, Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer

J. Sebastian van Berkom, B.Comm., LL.D.

Founder and Partner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

The best strategy for a successful investment is investing in high-quality, well-managed small-cap companies at discounted prices and holding them for the long term. The team continues to follow the same process that I put in place more than 30 years ago.

J. Sebastian van Berkom

Our Founder

Son of Dutch immigrants, J. Sebastian van Berkom started his career in 1971 at the Bell Canada pension fund. Despite a brilliant career at this telecom giant and then at LRM Investment Management, his entrepreneurial instincts led him to become co-founder, in 1984, of an investment management firm, which rapidly grew to billions in assets under management.

As a strong believer in the potential of small-cap equities, Sebastian eventually opted to focus solely on this particular asset class: in 1991, he founded Van Berkom and Associates Inc.

His early success with the new firm was built on a fundamental bottom-up, long-term investment philosophy. In essence, Sebastian looked for solid companies with strong and sustainable growth potential.

In the same spirit, Sebastian, over time, developed a model to ensure the sustainability of the firm, which he really takes seriously: a transition plan, which includes the progressive transfer of share ownership and organizational responsibilities to joining partners.

With the long-term success of the company thus assured, Sebastian’s interest in philanthropy grows: promoting education, funding research and contributing his time and talent to various organizations and foundations.

His early success with the new firm was built on a fundamental bottom-up, long-term investment philosophy. In essence, Sebastian looked for solid companies with strong and sustainable growth potential.

In the same spirit, Sebastian, over time, developed a model to ensure the sustainability of the firm, which he really takes seriously: a transition plan, which includes the progressive transfer of share ownership and organizational responsibilities to joining partners.

With the long-term success of the company thus assured, Sebastian’s interest in philanthropy grows: promoting education, funding research and contributing his time and talent to various organizations and foundations.

Career

1971

1979

1991

2012

2021

  • His investment career started in 1971 at the Bell Canada Pension Fund, where he spearheaded a shift to increase the firm’s interest in small-cap funds.
  • In 1979, he became a Partner of LRM Investment Management, which he left in 1984 to co-found Montrusco Bolton.
  • Nevertheless, Sebastian wanted to implement his own investment philosophy and process. He thus founded Van Berkom and Associates Inc. (“Van Berkom”) in 1991. He was the architect of the company’s investment philosophy and process, and was the firm’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.
  • Built from the ground up, Van Berkom gets a return of 43% for his first client within a year, and then soars to become a successful firm, with 30 employees and $5 billion in assets under management.
  • Starting in 2012, Sebastian was also Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer and Responsible Officer (“RO”) of the newly-incorporated Van Berkom Golden Dragon Limited (“VBGD”) in Hong Kong.
  • In these roles, Sebastian ensured that the investment philosophy, process and discipline at Van Berkom and VBGD were properly implemented, resourced and incented.
  • Effective January 1, 2021, Sebastian relinquished his position as President of Van Berkom, and is now Founder and Partner, Chairman and Chief Executive officer.

PHILANTHROPY

2003

Foundation of the Van Berkom Endowed Chair in Small-Cap Equities at the John Molson School of Business ("JMSB") at Concordia University ("Concordia") in Montreal.

2005

Became a Founding Director of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations in Canada (“IGOPP”). In August 2010, he was appointed to the Audit and Investment Committees, in 2013 he was appointed President of the Investment Committee, and he resigned in 2020.

2011

Funded the Van Berkom JMSB Small-Cap Case Competition at Concordia.

2013

Appointed to the Investment Committee of the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation. Financed the Nicolas Steinmetz - Dr. Gilles Julien Chair in Social Pediatrics.

2014

Funded the Van Berkom-Saucier Parkinson’s Disease Brain Organoid Platform at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University.

2014

Founded the Van Berkom Small-Cap Investment Management Program ("VBIMP") at the JMSB at Concordia.

2015

The Stephen A. Jarislowsky Fellowship was established under the VBIMP at the JMSB at Concordia.

2017

Appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (“MMFA”) Foundation.

2020

Appointed to the Investment Committee of the Jarislowsky Foundation to help Stephen A. Jarislowsky co-manage the assets of the Foundation.

2021

Appointed to the Board of Directors of the Jarislowsky Foundation.

RECOGNITION

1997

Small-Cap Manager of the Year Award.

1998

Finalist at the Annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

2017

Received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree (honoris causa) from Concordia University.

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