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.

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