Peter Cundill
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CUNDILL, Peter F. FCA, CFA Philanthropist, sportsman, diarist and renowned global value investor. Peter Cundill was born in Montreal in October 1938. He was educated at Lower Canada College where he made his mark on the football field and on the basketball team. He gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in 1960, after which he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and entered the investment business. In 1963 he began to keep the daily journal that he maintained for more than 40 years as he built and grew the Cundill Value Fund for which he became famous. Peter had what he called his "epiphany" on a plane when he read about the value investment principles of Benjamin Graham. His comment was `THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE' and he did, with a success that richly rewarded thousands of investors, not least those with small resources and precious savings. His record over 35 years as a global mutual fund manager was unrivalled. In 2001 he received the Analysts' Choice Career Achievement Award in recognition of proven superior performance and his lifetime contribution to the financial community. At the Canadian Investment Awards ceremony he was introduced as "the Indiana Jones of Canadian Money Managers" - an epithet in which he took great delight. But Peter was in no sense one dimensional. He had a passion for physical challenges, running 22 marathons including a `sub 3' when aged over 40, of which he was immensely proud. His interests were exceptionally wide ranging, springing from his insatiable curiosity, a characteristic which he regarded as a vital component in every aspect of life. He was a voracious reader and an inveterate traveller, once commenting `if I haven't been on a plane for a week I begin to feel restless'. He was never happier than in a hotel suite where he could smoke his cigars and eat his favourite "junk" foods (typically hot dogs with lashings of mustard and vanilla ice cream smothered in caramel sauce). Although he lived in London for the past 20 years and loved that city he remained inordinately proud of being Canadian, profoundly interested in everything about his country. He relished nothing better than being among a gathering of Canadians with a bit of Montreal gossip, some Bay Street news and Vancouver views. His abiding passion for history and his belief that it is only possible to comprehend the present and arrive at a measured perspective about the future if one understands the past, led to his founding of The Cundill International Prize in History at McGill, the largest in the world. The Cundill Foundation, which now controls his very considerable wealth, has supported and will continue to support a wide range of charities as well as research projects and educational and enterprise gifts to young people. In 2006 Peter was diagnosed with Fragile X Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome, an as yet untreatable neurological condition. As a result he retired from daily operational fund management in 2009, becoming Chairman Emeritus of Mackenzie Cundill. Nevertheless, far from giving up or wallowing in self-pity, Peter fully embraced the challenge of his condition with unwavering cheerfulness and a determination to lead as full a life as possible and to continue to guide and support all those within his wide reach in a personal and professional sense. His influence has been profound. He was very anxious to provide some legacy of his investment genius which might be useful to others and this culminated in the production of a book, There's Always Something To Do - The Peter Cundill Investment Approach. To his immense delight the first copy was pressed into his hands in hospital two days before he died. It will be released at the end of February. Peter was pre-deceased by his beloved wife, Joanie, and is survived by his stepdaughter, Evelyn, two grandchildren, his stepson, Roger, and his brother, Grier. He will be deeply missed by a large international circle of friends and all of his ex-colleagues and associates. Following his wishes, Peter will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered in Quebec and British Columbia. Memorial services will be held in Vancouver, Toronto and London at dates to be announced. If you would like to make a donation in his memory, please consider the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Condolences to

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Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Jan. 27, 2011.
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4 entries
January 28, 2011
I started in the financial services in 1994 and made my first order of the Cundill Value Fund that same year. I was married in 1995 and honeymooned in Whistler and Vancouver, while in Vancouver I visited the Cundill office to meet Peter but, alas he was not there. We have lost a great Montrealer and a great value investor.
Jean Marier
January 27, 2011
I was very fortunate to meet Peter in Vancouver in the mid-80s. At the time, I embraced the wild & wooly Vancouver Stock Exchange junior resource style of investing, but always found it interesting to hear his take on value investing a la Benjamin Graham. (I am now retired early and wealthy, thanks to Peter's moderating influence on my natural tendencies!)
More than investing, though, Peter influenced my Life through his Living Life To The Fullest approach, and his embracing of the contradictions inherent in being human (e.g. his marathon running vs. smoking cigars, all the while enjoying his junk food). He demonstrated that it was possible to be very disciplined as an investor without giving up one's joie de vivre. And to always be curious!
This glass of champagne is raised in your honour, Peter!
Milton Bingham
January 27, 2011
January 27, 2011

I had the good fortune to meet Peter from time to time at the Edper office in Toronto. Always gracious, insightful and moving on. His memory and all his good work will remain with us and our children.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Casgrain
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