Bridging Finance Inc. announces the hire of Robert Cacovic, Senior Managing Director

TORONTOSept. 26, 2017 – Bridging Finance Inc. (“Bridging Finance” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Robert Cacovic as Senior Managing Director of Bridging Finance Inc., joining its deal team and based in Vancouver.

Mr. Cacovic is an accomplished commercial banker who brings nearly fifteen (15) years of banking experience with him to Bridging Finance. Mr. Cacovic has previously held several roles at a top tier Canadian Bank, most recently as Sales Manager where he was accountable for the growth of a book of business in excess of $2.3 Billion.

“Bridging Finance is very pleased to have Mr. Cacovic join its team and is very well positioned for the continued growth and success of its operations. Having held positions in VancouverCalgary and Toronto, Mr. Cacovic’s experience makes him an ideal candidate to expand and grow the Company’s presence in Western Canada,” said David Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer of the Company.

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Bridging Finance and eager to apply my knowledge and expertise of the mid-market in order to continue the Company’s growth in Western Canada. Having repeatedly established itself as one of Canada’s premier private debt lenders, Bridging Finance is poised for continued success and I look forward to assisting the Company in this exciting phase,” added Robert Cacovic.

About Bridging Finance Inc.
Bridging Finance is a privately held Canadian company providing middle-market North American companies with alternatives to the financing options offered by traditional lenders. Lending proceeds, typically ranging from $3,000,000to upwards of $50,000,000, are used by companies to address short-term needs such as restructuring existing debt, providing working capital for growth, supporting inventory purchases and financing expenditures and acquisitions/buyouts.  Bridging Finance is the co-manager to the Sprott Bridging Income Fund LP and the Sprott Bridging RSP Fund. The Fund invests in factoring/private debt loans that have a low correlation to traditional asset classes. This asset class has traditionally been difficult for individual investors to access. Bridging Finance also offers portfolio management services for institutional clients. Bridging Finance manages approximately $600 million of assets.

Bridging Finance Inc. was mentioned by The Conference Board of Canada as a private financial institution that supports Aboriginal participation in major infrastructure projects.

The Conference Board of Canada, 19 pages, February 6, 2017
Briefing by The Centre for the North

8489New financing ideas and approaches to procurement are being brought forward to close Canada’s Northern and Aboriginal infrastructure gaps. This briefing presents a high-level action plan incorporating these new solutions.
Document Highlights
Canada’s declining and deferred investments in public infrastructure are the focus of national concern. The backlog of investments, is particularly acute among Canada’s Northern and Aboriginal communities. To better address Northern and Aboriginal infrastructure gaps new solutions are needed that integrate public and private sector resources and solutions, and pay closer attention to unique Northern and Aboriginal realities.

The recent joint roundtable hosted by The Conference Board of Canada and The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) brought together over 30 experts from the public and private sectors to share both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspectives, and discuss how new approaches to procurement and financing could help close the gaps. Rethinking Infrastructure Financing: Canada’s Northern and Aboriginal Communities provides an overview of the roundtable discussion, highlights the knowledge shared by our experts, and presents a high-level action plan for moving forward to close the gaps.

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Bridging Finance Inc. Announces Appointment of New CEO

bridging_finance_incTORONTO, Dec. 15, 2016 /CNW/ – Bridging Finance Inc. (“Bridging” or the “Company”) today announced the appointment of David Sharpe as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and Ultimate Designated Person (pending regulatory approval) of the Company, reporting to the Chair of Bridging’s Board of Directors (the “Bridging Board”). In the view of the Bridging Board, the Company is at a crucial stage in its growth as a leading provider of alternative financing solutions and Mr. Sharpe’s appointment is expected to result in a continued focus on expanding Bridging’s existing lending and asset management business.

Mr. Sharpe succeeds Dr. Natasha Sharpe who shall remain as Chief Investment Officer (“CIO”) of the Company. Dr. Sharpe will also retain her position on the Bridging Board.

“I look forward to continuing to lead the growth of the company.” said Mr. Sharpe. “It is imperative that Natasha focus solely on her CIO duties to ensure that we continue to have solid corporate performance through this growth phase and beyond”.

Mr. Sharpe has been a veteran of the financial services industry for over 20 years. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Mr. Sharpe served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company.

About Bridging Finance Inc.:

Bridging Finance is a privately held Canadian company providing middle-market North American companies with alternatives to the financing options offered by traditional lenders. Lending proceeds are used by companies to address short-term needs such as restructuring existing debt, providing working capital for growth, supporting inventory purchases and financing expenditures and acquisitions/buyouts.  Bridging Finance is the Sub-Advisor to the Sprott Bridging Income Fund LP.  Bridging Finance also offers portfolio management services for institutional and family office clients.

SOURCE Bridging Finance Inc.

For further information: Andrew Mushore, Chief Compliance Officer, Bridging Finance Inc., 77 King St W, Suite 2925, Toronto, ON, M5K 1K7, T: (416) 362-6252

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Elsipogtog First Nation opens Commercial Centre with Loblaw’s and Pharmasave

Canada NewsWire



New revenue, employment and economic development opportunities

ELSIPOGTOG FIRST NATION, NB, Oct. 28, 2016 /CNW/ – The Usand Group (Usand) offers its congratulations to Elsipogtog First Nation (Elsipogtog) on the grand opening of their new River of Fire Grocery Store and Pharmacy. This has been a long journey for Elsipogtog, who have dreamt for years of opening a grocery store in their home community to better serve their membership. With the closest grocery store located 12km away, Elsipogtog community members had to travel  distances to get groceries and prescriptions, leading to increased costs and a higher demand on time to fulfill basic needs.

With the new grocery store and pharmacy located on reserve, the Band members and neighboring  communities are able to save time and money procuring their groceries and prescriptions. Moreover, having the business owned and operated by the Band means that the revenue generated stays in the community.

As Chief Arren Sock notes, “The fact that we are going to grow our own business means over 50 new jobs for community members, which increases their personal wealth and prosperity and  also provides new revenue for the community. As the business grows and becomes more profitable, it will allow us to tackle new and exciting social and economic development projects. You can literally feel the positive momentum created by the store opening, and we are already discussing what will be the next step forward for Elsipogtog.”

The Commercial Center financing was arranged in partnership with The Usand Group – a capital firm based in Winnipeg, MB that specializes in Indigenous finance. “So many essential projects, such as this grocery store, are delayed or prevented due to the difficulty in First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups accessing adequate capital.” notes Sean McCoshen, CEO of Usand. “With Elsipogtog, we knew that the need was there, the business plan was very strong, and that if they were just able to get the financing quickly to get the project started, that it would succeed – and clearly it has! So we arranged a bridge loan through Bridging Finance Inc. out of Toronto to ensure  they could get the building up and start serving the community.”

“The financing we provided helped to jumpstart development,” says David Sharpe, President of Bridging Finance Inc and member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. “We could not be more proud to have partnered with Elsipogtog and Usand on this project, and to see Canada’s first Pharmasave owned and operated by a First Nation open to the public.”

About The Usand Group

The Usand Group is a capital firm that secures innovative and customized financial solutions for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities. Working alongside community members every step of the way, Usand collaborates to find financial solutions that fit the needs, capacity and strengths of each nation. These solutions are designed to enhance the financial and social wealth of the community and create a sustainable path to full participation in the global economy.

SOURCE The Usand Group, Head Office


Copyright CNW Group 2016

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Law’95 alumnus sends First Nations youths’ spirits soaring at national summit

(July 11, 2016)

idoia-arana-beobide_douglas-cardinal_sharpe-credit-gustavo-corujo-edit400x267Idoia Arana-Beobide, Douglas Cardinal, and David Sharpe, Law’95, on stage at the 2016 Hadfield Youth Summit. (Photo by Gustavo Corujo)
Thanks to the efforts of a Queen’s Law alumnus, First Nations youth have seen unprecedented involvement in an exclusive Canadian leadership event.

In its 2016 iteration, the Chris Hadfield Youth Leadership Summit – a growing event where young Canadians meet and mingle with Canadian astronauts and pilots – saw 200 First Nations youth among its approximately 1000 participants. The Summit, taking place in Gatineau on June 30, has been an annual event for the past three years, started by astronaut Hadfield as a single-day event dedicated to creating a “truly exciting day of inspiration and leadership development… that can change the life of a young person.”

“I first heard about the event through some connections with the Hadfields, such as Peter and Mike McGann,” explains Law’95 alumnus David Sharpe, President of Bridging Finance, Aboriginal Ambassador for Queen’s Law and Chair of First Nations University of Canada. “I’ve also been involved in bringing Canada’s two active astronauts, David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen, to meet First Nations youth in Saskatchewan. I’d brought Jeremy to the First Nations University pow-wow in Regina, where he was a huge hit and also toured some First Nation schools wearing his flight suit and really amazed the youth there.”

When he met with the CEO of the host organization – Peter Allen, of Vintage Wings in Ottawa – at a talk by National Chief Perry Bellegarde in Toronto, Sharpe learned that of the 750 Summit attendees in 2015, none were from First Nations communities. “I took that as a challenge,” Sharpe says. “I went to some of our First Nations leaders across the country, and found lots of them willing to commit to this event – to sending kids to be involved in this summit with the Hadfield family, the Snowbirds – telling them if they could find the kids, I could find the funding. They found the kids, and we found the funding.”

The funding, in turn, was provided by private corporations with First Nations interests. “CIBC and Carillion both really stepped up,” Sharpe explains. “There were great people at both companies who strongly believed in this project and the value of their partnerships with First Nations corporations. We even found funding to make sure everyone could stay over in Ottawa for Canada Day, which was really special.”

It was a proud moment for Sharpe, and a transformative one for all the Summit attendees, regardless of background. National Chief Bellegarde gave an inspiring talk to the youth and reminded them that ‘you do not have to be elected to be a leader.’ “To me, this is reconciliation. First Nation kids should be meeting these air cadets and other youth, people they might normally never have a chance to get to know,” Sharpe says. “And it works both ways; it’s so important for young people from all over the country to meet First Nations kids and realize that Aboriginal youth are just kids like them who want to succeed and be the best that they can be despite challenges.”

One moment stands out as a testament to the power of the event. “Picture a thousand kids, with 300 VIPs, the Commander of the Air Force, Snowbirds, astronaut Dave Williams – they’re all there. We brought Douglas Cardinal in, the acclaimed First Nations architect, to address the kids, and he stood up with his partner Idoia to sing a traditional song. They sang a sacred song to them and Douglas played the hand drum; something hundreds and hundreds of years old. And all the First Nations kids stood up as a sign of respect for their elder, and then everyone else got up as well. It gave me goosebumps,” Sharpe says.

Events like this, Sharpe says, are only the beginning. “Talking to Astronaut Jeremy Hansen, it would be a dream to find an indigenous astronaut,” Sharpe says. “I like to tell youth that if you keep working and keep trying, the sky’s the limit – and maybe that will be the literal truth for them someday soon!”

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2016 Hadfield Youth Leadership Summit – Special Event

Vintage Wings of Canada
1699 Arthur Fecteau
Gatineau, QC
J8R 2Z9

hadfieldThe 3rd Annual Hadfield Youth Leadership Summit will return to Gatineau on June 30th . This truly exciting day of inspiration and leadership development will again be open for all member’s of Vintage Wings of Canada and their invited youth guests to purchase tickets. Members of the Air Cadet League of Canada, Christie Lake Kids, the Salvation Army, members of the First Nations communities of Ontario and the Grands Frères Grandes Soeurs de l’Outaouais among other valuable community groups who will also participate.
On Thursday, June 30, 2016, Vintage Wings of Canada will host retired Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Dr. Dave Williams, his wife and Air Canada 767 Captain Cathy Fraser and Kelly Hadfield. Also invited is Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, along with other prominent Canadians. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the BCATP 75th Anniversary CF-18 Demonstration Hornet fighter jet team will be honoured guests at this event. This once-in-a-lifetime event is a coming together of some of Canada’s accomplished and inspirational leaders to provide an inspirational one day forum for over 1,000 young Canadians.
The Summit starts at 08:30 on June 30th at Vintage Wings of Canada and admission is by prior registration only, tickets will not be available at the gate. Registration for the event includes the Summit, a lunch in the youth VIP tent and flight line viewing of the Wings Over Gatineau Airshow which starts at 12:00 noon and ends at 4pm. For details on the Airshow go to

We are ever grateful for Chris Hadfield’s participation in all our activities, but with regrets he will be unable to be physically present during this year’s Hadfield Summit, though he will be able to connect with us via video.
Dr. Dave Williams
Astronaut & President/CEO Southlake Regional Health Centre
After joining the Canadian Space Agency in 1992, Dave made two flights on the Space shuttle in 1998 and 2007. He amassed more than 687 hrs in orbit and set a record 17 hrs 47 minutes doing spacewalks (EVAs), some of which included installation work on the International Space Station. In addition to his role as astronaut, Dr. Williams held the position of Director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate at the JSC in Houston, Texas, and a concurrent appointment as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Crew Health and Safety, Office of Spaceflight, NASA HQ, Washington, DC.

Cathy Fraser
Six months after learning how to drive, Cathy started her flight training and since then has accrued over 20,000 hrs flying time and is currently a Boeing 767 Captain for Air Canada flying routes nationally and internationally. She was the 13th woman hired by Air Canada as a pilot and one of 30 female captains with the airline. Cathy is on the board of the Elsie Magill Northern Lights award that honours women in aviation and aerospace and a volunteer with Dreams Take Flight that takes underprivileged children to Disneyworld every year.

Kelly Hadfield
Founder of Ghana Medical Help and niece of Commander Chris Hadfield, will give a truly inspiring talk about what it takes to create organizations that help people both near and far while being a high school and university student. When she was 21, Kelly travelled to Ghana for the first time, and out of doing so founded Ghana Medical Help, an international charity aimed to alleviate suffering and improve health outcomes in rural Ghana. Today, this Canadian charity supports the health care for over two million people in northernmost Ghana through an array of diverse projects targeting equipment and training for 14 rural hospitals, public health education and poverty alleviation.

Perry Bellegarde
Perry Bellegarde was named Assembly of First Nations National Chief on December 10, 2014. He has spent his entire adult life putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. Passionate about making measureable progress on the issues that matter most to First Nations people, National Chief Bellegarde is a strong advocate for the implementation of Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Widely known as a consensus builder with a track record of accomplishment, he brings community people, leaders, Chiefs and Elders together to focus on working cooperatively to move issues forward.

Admission to this event is in very high demand so bracelets are available only to fully paid-up, Student, Individual and Family memberships for a fee of $50/person (members & one youth guest 12 – 18 yrs old). This $50 fee will include lunch under a marquis tent and admission to our Wings over Gatineau Airshow during the afternoon. Summit tickets must be purchased in advance…they will not be available for sale at the gate.

Members and their invited youth guest are encouraged to present themselves at the members check-in at the VW hangar between 0800 hrs and 0830 hrs to receive their bracelets. Please have your membership card in hand at the time of check-in.
Please note that Student members may attend singly, but not with a guest. Family memberships entitle all registered family members (to a maximum of 4) to attend. Each Individual and Family membership entitles the holder to one additional youth guest (must be between the ages of 12 and 18).

Jun 30, 2016 08:30 – 12:00
Register For this Event
This event has passed. Registration is not permitted for this event at this time.

For More Information
-Call 1-819-669-9603

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Manitoba First Nation to build 30 mould resistant homes for $9M

Misipawistik Cree Nation’s homes designed by world-renowned architect Douglas Cardinal
By Laura Glowacki, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2016 8:58 PM
hydro-native-dealMisipawistik Cree Nation Chief Harold Turner said many homes in the community have mould problems because of their proximity to open water year-round. (Winnipeg Free Press/CP)

Misipawistik Cree Nation (MCN) near Grand Rapids, Man. says it has purchased 30 new mould and fire resistant homes designed by world-renowned architect Douglas Cardinal.

MCN Chief Harold Turner said the community took out a $9 million loan to pay for the prefabricated homes he hopes will solve a long-standing issue in the community.

The facts on mould
“The main thing for us here in Grand Rapids is the mould issue,” said Turner. “All our houses are subject to mould because the river here never freezes.”

Every year, Turner said, houses in MCN have to be gutted to clear out black mould.

carinal-housesThe Cardinal House designed by Douglas Cardinal has three bedroom plus a smaller fourth room that can be converted into a bedroom for a small child. The pre-fabricated homes are resistant to both mould and fire. (


The spores can cause a number of respiratory issues including coughing, allergic reactions and symptoms of asthma, according to Health Canada. Mould can be especially harmful for children and the elderly.

Ottawa-based architect Douglas Cardinal, whose father was Anishinaabe, calls moulds the “silent killers” in Canada’s First Nation communities.

“We’re creating extremely unhealthy houses,” he said. “They’re built so badly.”

One of the main problems Cardinal sees in conventional prefabricated homes in remote communities is condensation build-up along vapour barriers which line insulation in the walls. Humidity builds up along the plastic which leads to mould growth, he said.

Cardinal, known for his work designing buildings such as the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec and Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, has designed a prefabricated home that differs in many ways from convention.

His “Cardinal House” design uses cross-laminated timber (CLT) as the principal building material.

CLT is an environmentally sustainable, sturdy material made from gluing wood together. It’s replacing concrete and steel in many new building constructions in Europe, he said.

Laurentian School of Architecture built with cross-laminated timber

“The timber structures like this are lighter than concrete or steel but because they’re heavy timber construction, they’re even more fireproof,” Cardinal said.

black-mouldDoulgas Cardinal hopes by removing basements from his pre-fabricated home design it reduces the chance of black mould such as this. (Allison Dempster/CBC)
Each three-bedroom Cardinal House costs between $250,000 to $300,000 depending on where it’s assembled, he said. They are easily shipped to remote communities and can be put up with minimal training.

The mould-resistant design was inspired by Cardinal’s work building the Canadian Museum of History which has to maintain a 50 per cent humidity level to preserve artifacts and therefore had to be mould resistant, said Cardinal.

The architect also removed a basement from the house design because, he said, basements can lead to increased humidity as well as radon gas in the home. He enlisted the help of a bridge designer to insure the ground floor also resisted mould.

MCN Chief Turner said he remains skeptical but is willing to take a risk if it means bringing mould-free homes to his community.

“I don’t think it’s possible but if that’s what they’re telling me then I’m willing to experiment,” he said.

The prefabricated homes are set to arrive in MCN in July, said Turner, and all 30 homes should be ready for occupants by winter. Each house takes roughly three to four days to put together.

MCN currently faces a housing shortage of about 150 units, the chief added.

“If they are what they say they are … then obviously we’ll be purchasing more in the future,” said Turner.

MCN is paying for the homes without financial help from Ottawa, he said.

“We can’t wait for the federal government to build the homes even though they are obligated to build us homes under treaty, they failed us,” said Turner.

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David Sharpe of Bridging Credit Fund LP (“Bridging”) was featured in the Private Investing section of the Queens alumni Review.


Effecting change: David Sharpe


David Sharpe, Law’95, remembers what gave him his first push into the field of law. As a young man, he was playing high-level hockey and had yet to complete an undergraduate degree.
“I knew that pro hockey was something I did not want to seriously pursue and I was anxious to go to school, but I didn’t really know what to do with myself,” says Mr. Sharpe. “I was talking to hockey agent and Queen’s graduate Pat Morris at the time and he looked at me and said, ‘You’re going to be a lawyer.’”
Mr. Sharpe remembers being a bit stunned. It never occurred to him that he could be a lawyer. “Pat told me I was smart enough, that I could do it.”

That conversation with Pat Morris, Law’85, changed the course of his life. Mr. Sharpe, whose father is from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, near Deseronto, Ont., says neither of his parents finished high school. Mr. Sharpe’s family moved to Toronto to find work, and growing up, he spent time in the summer in the Tyendinaga area with his grandparents and the rest of his time in Toronto.

“I am very close with my grandmother, and as a child, I especially cherished her service to others and her kindness – she was very wise,” he says. “But it was a complex relationship, too. Her generation was made to feel ashamed for being Indian, and I felt plagued with that in some ways, shame in being myself.”

Mr. Morris’ encouragement gave Mr. Sharpe the nudge he needed. He went on to complete a BA at the University of Guelph, assisting with coaching varsity hockey along the way. A few years later, he was thrilled when he received his acceptance to Queen’s Law, because of its reputation but also because he wanted to be close to Tyendinaga, to his grandmother.

Now – after adding an LLM in securities law from Osgoode Hall Law School and an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, along with two decades of experience in the Canadian financial services industry – he runs, alongside his wife, CEO Natasha Sharpe, a company called Bridging Finance. The firm provides small- and medium-sized North American companies with alternative financing options and is one of the only bridge lenders in Canada to First Nations and Inuit for infrastructure projects.

“We saw the need for these loans for Aboriginal communities. Because we can be quick and nimble about getting money into communities, the loans are game-changers. They are making a big difference in people’s lives.”

Most recently, Bridging Finance provided a loan to a 100 per cent Inuit-owned corporation in Nunavut for the purchase of a 64-metre arctic trawler, used to fish turbot and shrimp. It has also financed housing and elders’ apartments in northern Manitoba, a wind farm and hockey arena in communities in Quebec, and a grocery store in Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick. Mr. Sharpe is especially proud of this last project, because the store has been a goal of Elsipogtog for decades and is key to the social and economic development of the community.

“This was all community-driven and the store, a national chain with a pharmacy, will provide jobs and revenue for Elsipogtog.” Mr. Sharpe says Bridging Finance was able to provide the loan in a matter of weeks, and the store will be up and running in eight months.

“We’re committed to First Nations communities,” he says, of Bridging Finance. “It’s so important to get the money in quickly, especially because in many northern and remote places the season for construction is short. And if the money isn’t there, the community loses another year without the infrastructure.”

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Natasha Sharpe on bridging the capital needs between banks and distressed lenders

In a special InvestorIntel interview, Publisher Tracy Weslosky speaks with Natasha Sharpe CEO of Bridging Finance Inc. about present market challenges for companies seeking to secure capital needs through alternative or debt financing to avoid dilution. Natasha describes how it works at Bridging Finance, a company that is seeking to arrange financing for companies that are strong, growing, or with promising potential that are in the Canadian mid-market.

For the full story please Click here

Two investing vehicles that avoid the markets’ ups and downs.


Two investing vehicles that avoid the markets’ ups and downs


For more than two years now, Natasha Sharpe has been quietly generating returns of 7 per cent to 9 per cent a year for her well-heeled clients – with little regard for the ups and downs of financial markets.

Stock markets may soar and dip, but she’s impervious. So, too, with bond and money markets. Her investments lie squarely on the fixed-income side of investors’ portfolios, but they are not hostage to rising interest rates.

Dr. Sharpe is chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Bridging Finance Inc. of Toronto, a firm that provides financing to small and medium-sized companies in need of short-term capital but that may not meet bank lending requirements.

Bridging Finance specializes in factoring – buying accounts receivable at a discount from businesses in need of working capital. Last summer, it reached an agreement with Sprott Asset Management LP for Sprott to manage its fund, now the Sprott Bridging Income Fund LP. Sprott markets and distributes the fund, while Dr. Sharpe and her team, including her husband, David Sharpe, president and chief operating officer, continue as sub-advisers.

As well as her financial experience, Dr. Sharpe, who is 42, has PhDs in epidemiology and community health from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management.

How does factoring work?

Dr. Sharpe offers the following example. A jeweller client was doing well selling jewellery to mom-and-pop retailers around the province. Then he landed a big contract with a national retail chain. Suddenly he was faced with having to finance greatly increased production, shipping and distribution costs. Even if he did manage to deliver the goods, he would have to wait 90 days for the retailer to pay him.

Click here for the full article.

Bridging Credit Fund LP (“Bridging”) was featured in the Private Investing section of the Globe & Mail.


Want to buy into timberland? Here’s how to do it

‘Psst! Want to buy some receivables?”

Well, now you can, through a fund for high-net-worth investors that makes factoring and bridge financing its business. Or you can buy a share of timberland (a hot topic at cocktail parties in recent months, wealth managers say), prime commercial buildings or farmland in the U.S. Midwest.
Video: Janet’s in the top 4 per cent, but her portfolio lacks a plan

Investing opportunities in Africa

Trend Spotters
Private investing is growing up in Canada. Far from the old notion of alternative strategies being a bit dicey – littered with the bleached bones of failed hedge funds, as it were – some recent offerings had even the biggest investors pushing to get in the door.

Last summer, Brookfield Asset Management flew right past its target of raising $750-million (U.S.) in a fund to buy timberland in the United States, Brazil and Australia. The company closed the Global Timberlands Fund at $1-billion. In October, Brookfield had even greater success with an infrastructure fund, the Brookfield Infrastructure Fund II for big investors, such as sovereign wealth funds, pension plans and insurance companies. It closed the fund at $7-billion, well beyond its initial target of $5-billion.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in private assets,” says Sam Sivarajan, head of investments and sales at Manulife Private Wealth in Toronto – “commercial real estate, agricultural land, timberland, private mortgages.” The appeal, Mr. Sivarajan says, is that these assets are not correlated to the stock market or interest rates.

“They’re a pretty good buffer, especially in volatile markets,” he says. Long term, they’re a good hedge against inflation. The Manulife Canadian Real Estate Investment Fund gives high-net-worth investors a share in a portfolio of about 20 blue-chip commercial buildings across Canada.

“One of the advantages of buying private assets is that when the market sneezes (or worse), private assets hold their value because they are not traded on a daily basis,” Mr. Sivarajan says.

You don’t have to be a sovereign wealth fund to participate in alternative investments – so called because they provide an alternative to marketable securities such as stocks and bonds – but you do have to be wealthy, or what is called an accredited investor.

In Ontario, for example, an accredited investor is a person who alone or with a spouse has financial assets of more than $1-million or net assets of at least $5-million, or whose net income before taxes surpasses $200,000 alone or $300,000 with a spouse.

Click here for the full article.