William M. Mercer

William M. Mercer




Class of 2003

William M. Mercer’s early career as an economist at the Powell River Company led to an assignment to establish the company’s pension plan. After struggling with no guidance to gather the necessary information, Mercer realized that there must be a market for the knowledge he’d gained. He subsequently set up William M. Mercer Limited in Vancouver, in 1945.

Bill Mercer’s vision lay in recognizing the value of knowledge and how it relates to pensions as the wave of the future, and in keeping his company independent of any financial interest about which type of pension it recommended. He managed to do so in spite of much pressure and the heated objections of many insurers.

He sought out the best people to work in his new company.  As he famously said, “Never be afraid to hire people smarter than you are. Having them snapping at your heels will keep you on your toes.”

Bill was also very involved with the Canadian Institute for the Blind; and donated funds to begin construction of a new library in Nanaimo, in memory of his father.

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