“Being a contrarian and buying at the nadir of investor confidence has always appealed to me psychologically, I don’t know why. The result is you often get some bumpy rides at the beginning. If you’re trying to catch a falling knife, you can get a few nicks on the way down.” – Greg Boland
Last Updated: 03/11/2020
Greg Boland: Background and bio
Greg Boland is the Founding Principal, CEO and Co-Chief Investment Officer of West Face Capital, a Toronto-based asset management firm that focuses on event-oriented investments where its ability to navigate complex investment processes is the most significant determinant of returns. Greg Boland is a veteran investor with a reputation of running one of the most-well known activist hedge funds in Canada. Over the years, Mr. Boland has been directly involved in a number of successful campaigns and is known as an expert in finding value in severely distressed companies.
Mr. Boland founded West Face Capital in 2006. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.Com in finance and a background in computer science. He is also a Leslie Wong Fellow with the UBC Portfolio Management Foundation.
From 1993 to 1998, Greg Boland served as one of three partners in RBC Dominion Securities’ proprietary investment group. In his role at RBC Dominion, Mr. Boland concentrated on the areas of distressed debt, convertible bonds, equities and derivatives. From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Boland managed a Canadian portfolio of distressed investments and special situations for Paloma Partners at Enterprise Capital Management.
West Face has experience investing across the capital structure in public and private opportunities in both Canadian and international markets. The firm employs an active approach, utilizing extensive due diligence and proprietary analytics, to identify and unlock potential.
West Face notably led a shakeup of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. After taking a 11.4% stake in the meat company in 2010, Greg Boland won a seat on Maple Leaf’s board in 2011.
In 2013, West Face provided $250-million (U.S.) in equity financing to Hudson’s Bay Co. in its acquisition of Saks Inc. That same year, the firm took a stake in Canadian engineering and construction company, SNC-Lavalin Group.
In 2015, Greg Boland led a group of shareholders in a deal to sell Wind Mobile to Shaw Communications for $1.6-billion.
From the West Face Capital Website:
West Face Capital’s investment process begins with leveraging a thorough understanding of key drivers, risks, and issuer-specific factors to envision a clear path to success. We differ from traditional investment firms because we focus our efforts on an underexploited Canadian market, while investing in global opportunities that play to our strengths.
West Face Capital works with companies to illustrate, influence, or pilot a process to achieve a desired outcome. We specialize in complex files with multiple potential outcomes.
Our strategic approach and multi-asset class, cross-cycle expertise targets a sustainable advantage in any economic environment.
Greg Boland: Quotes
“You have to find your own way. You have to do something others aren’t doing. One of the few ways you can get an edge is to get involved in a contrarian situation, do a lot of work and really understand the outcomes.”
“Investor activism is a shareholder right; it’s only newsworthy because investors were quite lazy for so long.”
“Our most successful ones have been large, concentrated investments in companies that have fallen on hard times for reasons that are maybe misunderstood by the broad market and where there is a reasonable amount of complexity.”