Réjean Robitaille has been named the 2009 Quebec Financial Person of the Year by Finance et Investissement.

This marks the first time the president and CEO of the Laurentian Bank of Canada heads the list of Top 25 economic and financial newsmakers for the year, as compiled by the Quebec financial newspaper.

Laurentian Bank is the country’s only bank to have hiked its dividend for five straight years, despite the economic and financial crisis. It is also the only bank to have accomplished this since the market collapse nearly two years ago.

“2007, 2008 and 2009 were the three best years in the history of the Laurentian Bank, even if those same years were among the worst for the banking industry,” admits Réjean Robitaille.

For the last five years, the bank’s stock returns based on share values have been second only to the Royal Bank’s among Canada’s Big Six banks. Since Robitaille’s appointment as CEO in January 2006, Laurentian’s shares have appreciated more than any of the Big Six’s. The stocks’ performance rivals that of any of the Laurentian’s competitors’, whether measured over one year or 10 (as at January 20).

In early 2009, there was talk of a recession, even a depression. Under Robitaille’s leadership, the Laurentian posted a record net income of $113 million last year.

The jury wanted to recognize these achievements, and above all, the banker’s long-term approach. Robitaille had to make some tough decisions to realign the Bank along its main strengths and the geographic and business diversification many observers underestimated.

The Top 25 also includes 24 other financial newsmakers featured in the February issue of Finance et Investissement, in a special segment titled “Le Top 25 de l’industrie financière au Québec.” The Top 25 were chosen by a jury made up of reporters and editors from Finance et Investissement and Les Affaires, two financial newspapers published by Transcontinental Media.

Finance et Investissement

Adivsors recognized

Also, for a fifth consecutive year, Finance et Investissement recognized two financial advisors. These individuals were selected by a jury composed by Jasmin Bergeron, Marketing Professor at Université du Québec à Montréal, Stéphane Desjardins, editor-in-chief of Finance et Investissement, Stéphane Langlois, president of LBC Financial Services and chairman of the CFIQ Quebec investment funds council, Jocelyne Houle LeSarge, general manager of the IQPF Quebec financial planning institute, and Kaddis R. Sidaros, president of Gestion Financière Plus.

Yves Guillot, MICA Services Financiers business development manager for the Outaouais region, was named “Advisor Emeritus,” a title awarded for excellence and given to an advisor with at least 25 years financial service industry experience.

Louis Roberge, vice president at Demers Valeurs mobilières, was named the “advisor most involved in the community.” Roberge is primarily known for his work with the Oeuvre Léger organization.

Finance et Investissement is the sister publication of Investment Executive.