January 26, 2018 – Vlaad and Company, a Toronto-based financial services executive search firm, has been retained to help structure and take part in the hiring of up to 50 employees that are expected to be added to the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) by this summer.
The newly created bank is designed to attract private investment in Canadian infrastructure projects that generate revenue and are in the public interest. “The Canadian governments are embarking on one of the largest infrastructure programs in our history,” said Bill Vlaad, CEO of Vlaad and Company. “It is an honor to be on the ground floor of this effort. While we are a Canadian solution to executive search, our infrastructure team also provides deep knowledge on recent and expected developments in the sector and will play a key advisory role in the design and structure of the organizational and compensation plans.”
CIB will invest $35 billion from the federal government into transformative infrastructure projects. To execute this, the organization brought in an entire board, chaired by Janice Fukakusa, former CFO of the Royal Bank of Canada. The entire senior management team, from the CEO to the execution teams, will be sourced in the market. “Professionals in the industry are very interested in the prospects of working in what is effectively a start-up, but a start-up that will invest billions in the economy,” said Mr. Vlaad. “What other opportunity can provide that?”
Vlaad and Company works with a diverse range of clients across investment and corporate banking and capital markets, private equity and alternative assets, restructuring and M&A, research, project and structured finance, asset/wealth management, corporate development and compliance and risk management.
As a former investment banker and corporate development director, Mr. Vlaad has in-depth financial services industry knowledge. He recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss his firm’s new recruiting partnership. Here are some excerpts from that meeting.
Bill, what type of roles will your firm be filling for CIB?
We will fill everything below the CEO post. That position was given to another firm but it hasn’t been filled yet. Currently the chair, Janice Fukakusa, is filling in as an interim CEO. They brought in an interim CIO, but we will begin finding his replacement in a few months. This is a brand new entity so they need to fill all open positions – from C-Suite to senior and junior investment professional positions, and all support functions. W will assist in their hiring which is expected to be 50-80 positions in the next year.
Take us inside this partnership.
Because this is a crown corporation, due process and governance are very important. Therefore, we began with reading all the literature on its mandate. We had several meetings with senior members of CIB and CIB’s advisory group to get a good understanding of the culture and strategy they were looking for. We designed a proprietary “search navigator” for each potential role so that all stakeholders were on the same page and knew what was being considered. We have to document all material on each candidate and ensure there is quantitative analysis as well as qualitative to minimize any unconscious bias. We also need to ensure the market is aware of all material at the same time. To that end, we are holding open video conference calls where interested parties will hear about the process, strategy, timing, etc. Then we bust our rump and find the right candidates. The Canada Infrastructure Bank will not and should not pay at the top end of the range given that they are using tax payer’s dollars. Yet, this is a critically important enterprise where top talent is required. Therefore, we will spend a great deal of time educating candidates on the impact their role will have for the country.
Explain what a typical search is like for clients in the banking industry.
The search process is not unlike what you would find in other industries, really. It is just that the technical tool box for candidates is different. Often, parts of the due diligence process are “easier” given that many of the transactions that professionals work on in this industry are public and they were involved in assets you can touch (road tolls, bridges, community houses, etc.) Therefore, our research can often reveal good details of the candidate’s abilities. One area of challenge in the banking sector is that capital and people are fluid and global. Our searches can easily reach all corners of the globe looking for the best talent. Gender issues plague our industry as they do others, so we need to be hyper-vigilant that we work toward an inclusive and diverse candidate pool in the screening process.
“One area of challenge in the banking sector is that capital and people are fluid and global. Our searches can easily reach all corners of the globe looking for the best talent. Gender issues plague our industry as they do others, so we need to be hyper-vigilant that we work toward an inclusive and diverse candidate pool in the screening process.”
Can you share some other search work your firm has completed for organizations within the banking sector?
We have worked with almost all global banks that have offices in Canada – Barclays, Rothschild, BAML, and Natixis are some examples – and most of the Canadian Banks, including TD and CIBC, as well as several PE firms and pension funds and the corporate development teams for many companies looking to add valuation experience to their teams. One piece that helped secure this mandate for us was the volume of work we have completed for infrastructure funds in Canada as well.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media