A series of 2,2':4,4'':4',4'''-quaterpyridinium ligands bearing different N-substituents (methyl, Me; phenyl, Ph; 4-acetylphenyl, AcPh; 2-pyrimidyl, Pym; 3,5-bis-methoxycarbonyl-phenyl, MCP) have been prepared. These compounds feature powerful electron acceptor moieties and hence have been combined with different electron-rich metal centres to give complexes suitable for quadratic nonlinear optical properties. A series of dipolar ruthenium(II) ammine complex salts of the form [RuII(NH3)4LA][PF6]4 and octupolar complex salts of the form [MII(LA)3][PF6]8 (M = Ru(II)/Fe(II), LA = a 2,2':4,4'':4',4'''-quaterpyridinium ligand) have been prepared. These compounds exhibit multiple intense, low energy metal-to-ligand charge-transfer (MLCT) absorptions in the visible region and reversible M(III/II) redox processes. First hyperpolarizabilities have been determined directly by using hyper-Rayleigh scattering and indirectly via calculation from Stark (electroabsorption) spectroscopic data.