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Robert Peters

 

Growing up in Calgary in the 1950s, Robert Peters entered business early, delivering prescriptions on bicycle for a Mount Royal pharmacy for 40 cents an hour while other kids chewed gum and traded baseball cards.

As his interests matured, cars became the focus, and many of his teen years were spent buying, fixing and selling them, then repeating the cycle. After a few low-wage jobs, Peters offered to
sell cars for a local dealership, was hired and the earnings put him through university.

By now married with a family and realizing he could earn more selling stocks than cars, Peters switched gears again, moving to stockbroker Nesbitt Thomson, in the process launching a long and storied career in Alberta's investment community.

In 1971, aged 29, he started investment firm Peters & Co. Limited, mortgaging his home so he and a business partner could open an office in downtown Calgary. It was the first Alberta-based
member of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Before long, Peters and his partner launched a road show in eastern Canada and the United States, making pitches to investors, sharing hotel rooms and spending at least one night in a hotel
lobby to save cash. The sacrifices paid off when investment began flowing into Calgary's emerging junior producers.

In sticking to Calgary, rather than migrating to one of Canada's financial centres, Peters remained at the core of the oilpatch, his bread and butter. His staff traded, analyzed and underwrote securities using a straightforward strategy: "Keep it simple; pay attention to profit margins; and don't grow for growth's sake."

On Peters' watch, the firm created a range of tax-advantaged oil and gas investments, including Canada's first drilling fund. Over time, drilling funds evolved into flow-through shares, the lifeblood of many oil and gas producers.

As founder, chairman, chief executive and a major shareholder, Peters was for 30 years the driving force behind the firm that bears his name. Still, as his other interests developed, he began selling his stock in the firm, retiring in 2001.

Today, Peters still backs young oil and gas entrepreneurs, often taking a stake in their companies, and continuing to offer corporate boards the benefit of his experience. In the broader Alberta community, he has served on the board of the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) and as chair of the board of the Glenbow Museum.

 

   
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