Investor Based Finance Group
Strategic Advisory Services for Small and Medium Cap Firms
- Independent Strategic Advisory Firm, 100 % principal owned
- Founded 2002 by Scott Samuel, Pat Westfall, Kevin Muir, located in Richmond Hill, Ontario
- June 2006: launches IBF 1 Corp., capital pool company
- Goal: expanding the company’s range of activities from the current intermediary activity (M&A and raising capital) to more emphasis on capital markets consulting involving securities and accounting compliance and strategic investor relations.
“Our experience and expertise overlap... together we can cover every aspect of our clients' business."
In this issue, learn how in just three years Scott Samuel, Pat Westfall and Kevin Muir, founders of Investor Based Finance Group, have attracted high-profile clients and gently created a buzz in their industry sector.
A quiet confidence permeates the office of Investor Based Finance Group. In the three years since the founding of the independent strategic advisory firm, the three principals –Scott Samuel, Pat Westfall and Kevin Muir – have attracted high-profile clients and gently created a buzz in their industry sector. Decision makers and business owners have taken note.
This success has not been accomplished by flash: after all, three guys working out of an open-concept 15x15 square foot space located in a one-floor suburban office, are unlikely to be featured in an office decor magazine.
Rather, the threesome’s blend of skills and complementary backgrounds has garnered them accolades and filled an important niche in the market. Asked about IBF’s mandate, Scott Samuel replies succinctly: “We focus on the creation, generation and capture of enterprise value for our clients” he says.
One of IBF’s differentiators is its commitment to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with its clients. Currently, Pat Westfall is acting CFO for two of the company’s clients, which makes sense since part of the company’s role is to ensure clients are well-positioned for attracting capital. As such, IBF’s principals roll up their sleeves and create value for their clients by functioning as much more than outside advisors.
Actually working on-site as an important part of the client’s management team, IBF’s input runs the gamut of professional expertise, whether this involves due diligence, model-building, succession planning, evaluations and/or implementing mergers and/or acquisitions, or finding strategic alliances, often in conjunction with public and private forums.
“We are relentless on behalf of our clients,” says Samuel. “After all we get paid for our judgement, our correct judgement generates success fees for us,” he adds with candour. “Our clients succeed and we succeed.”
Right from the company’s inception, the principals have never been afraid to wade into deep water, points out Westfall. In its first year of operation, IBF hit the ground running, reflects Muir: WestJet was an early client, thrown into the turbulent arena that surrounded the CCAA restructuring process of Air Canada.
Their work for subsequent clients - most of whom are equally as entrepreneurial as IBF’s founders - has been equally demanding and impressive: IBF realized five times revenues and a ten-year global royalty for the founders of Tekran Inc. on a divestiture mandate; advised VertigoGroup on its business merger with Select-Tech and subsequently raised private equity for this early growth stage manufacturer; and advised the public income trust, Sungro International, on its acquisition of Lameque Group.
Still, IBF’s unique ability to service clients rests on its bench strength: together the principals bring more than 50 years of industry experience to the table. “There’s no slack here,” says Muir. “Our experience and expertise overlap….together we can cover every aspect of our clients’ business.”
At its heart, IBF’s talents represent the integral core skills required to make a boutique strategic advisory firm work.
Scott Samuel is a lawyer, experienced Bay Street Executive VP and Managing Director level Financial Executive. Chartered Accountant Pat Westfall’s background includes 10 years as the CFO of a public company trading on the TSE, while Muir, a CFA, weighs in with 12 years on the institutional side, with responsibility in the areas of Corporate Finance and Asset Management.
Most recently, the public market took notice as IBF launched “IBF 1 Corp” (symbol “IBF”), a capital pool company approved for trading on June 28 on the TSXV, backed with close to $1.25 million (Cdn.) in cash. At time of writing, the funds were earmarked for the acquisition of Gatorz Eyewear, the U.S. manufacturer of sunglasses worn by the likes of Indy Racing drivers Mario and Marco Andretti, both of whom not only sport the glasses, but are also shareholders in IBF 1.
As for its future plans, the company is heading further into the public capital markets. It will also concentrate more on expanding its repertoire of activities, with a greater emphasis on capital markets consulting involving securities and accounting compliance and strategic investor relations.
Looking ahead, IBF has another ace up its sleeve when it comes to its principals working together in what is an extremely competitive field: clearly these three professionals enjoy working together and have great respect for each other.
Outside of the work environment they get together to cheer on their favourite sports teams – they are all hockey fanatics although they support three different teams. (Westfall is a huge Montreal Canadiens fan, Muir follows the Maple Leafs, Samuel likes Ottawa, but had to settle for the Hurricanes in the playoffs.) Their camaraderie bodes well for IBF’s future growth.