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Strong connections help INFOR Financial land key advisory assignments

Neil Selfe is the founder, CEO and managing principal of INFOR Financial Group.

Here’s the news: INFOR Financial, a recently formed Canadian-based boutique advisory firm was named as the financial adviser to a group of investors which have just made a minority investment in Duff & Phelps Corporation. The New York-based Duff & Phelps defines itself as “the premier global valuation and corporate finance advisor.”

Given that such work – its understood that the transaction comes with an enterprise value of more than $1.5 billion — is outside the normal bailiwick of where INFOR operates, it raises the obvious question: how did INFOR land that assignment given that none of the investors is Canadian?

Here’s a clue: one of the investors is the University of California’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer. Here’s another clue: one of the other investors is the New York based private equity firm, The Carlyle Group, which through its Global Financial Services Partners and Global Financial Services Partners II funds, has agreed to increase its minority investment stake. Earlier this year, The Carlyle Group along with Warburg Pincus acquired an 80 per cent interest in DBRS, a ratings agency that was started in Canada by Walter Schroeder more than three decades back.

Here are two other clues: for almost the past two years, Brian Gibson, the former senior vice-president of public equities at AIMCo. and before that a senior investment executive at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, has been working as a special adviser to the pension and endowment fund at the University of California. Gibson works with Jagdeep Singh Bachher, a former AIMCo colleague, who is the fund’s chief investment officer. The fund manages about US$93 billion of assets.

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