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Bain, James Keith (Jim) (1929–2022)

by Andrew Clark

Jim [James Keith] Bain, a major figure in Australian stockbroking and pioneer of the screen trading revolution that led to the formation of the ASX, died in Sydney’s Lulworth House aged care facility on September 9, weeks after sustaining a heavy fall. He was 92.

Cheerful, direct, a strong family man and a workaholic, Bain built up his family stockbroking firm of Bain & Co from just six employees to be one of Sydney’s big broking houses.

He was also active in the Liberal Party, was the key backer behind the establishment of the conservative Sydney Institute in 1989, became a major property developer in the Canberra area late in life, and was the author of three books dealing with stockbroking, the finance industry, Sydney-Melbourne rivalry and the lives of the early European explorers in Australia.

Born on October 1, 1929, Jim Bain attended both the Armidale School and Scots College in Bellevue Hill, Sydney. He joined the family firm of W. Bain & Co straight after school in 1947, and remained until his retirement in 1987.

During his 40 years of broking, Bain and Co became a major force, rivalling Ord Minnett in Sydney, Potter & Co and J.B. Were in Melbourne. 

A man of remarkable energy, he also developed a family property at Murrumbateman, which has been absorbed into a rapidly expanded Canberra, was chairman of property developer Merryvale Estates, and the short-lived NatWest Australia Bank.

He was also Chairman of the Sydney Stock Exchange, although he was voted off for a time by board members afraid of losing their positions through the consolidation brought about by his advocacy of the introduction of screen trading.

Jim Bain spent much of his retirement years writing his three books.

Five years after he retired as chairman, Bain & Co was sold to Deutsche Bank. After a struggling Deutsche Bank retrenched 17,000 staff around the world, including 50 in Australia, in 2019, Jim Bain told The Australian Financial Review he was “obviously disappointed to hear the news.”

“We were quite pleased to sell out to them because I think it was a pretty good price, and they were pretty well regarded,” Bain said.

His widow, Janette, recalls Jim Bain as a “very honest man. That’s probably why I married Jim: I knew where I stood with him. He always said what he thought.”

A private funeral service for Jim Bain was held earlier in the week at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Watson’s Bay, followed by a cremation at the Mausoleum in Botany. A wake was later held among family and friends at the Royal Sydney Golf Club in Rose Bay.

Jim Bain is survived by his wife, Janette, children Roger and Margo, and grand-children Georgina, Holly Annabelle, Antonia, Isabella, Lucinda and Albert.

Original publication

View the list of ADB articles written by James Keith (Jim) Bain

Citation details

Andrew Clark, 'Bain, James Keith (Jim) (1929–2022)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bain-james-keith-jim-32810/text40817, accessed 30 November 2022.

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