KPMG Corporate Finance, British Columbia’s largest employer and recruiter of business school students, hosted a conference in their Vancouver headquarters. The speech was given by Al Kanji, a senior partner. Also present were his two partners Jocelyn Cruickshank and Marco Tomassetti. The conference was given to 30 students of the Grenoble Ecole de Management, in GEM’s Transcontinental Track in Vancouver, as well as 10 students of Simon Fraser University, to give them an insight on his practice’s strategy and corporate culture, as well as a brief overview of the British Columbian economy.
The students learned about their different operations in detail, and their role in supporting the value proposition of KPMG CF. Mr. Kanji insisted on the importance of Michael Porter’s teachings, as well as linear statistical models in his every day work in corporate finance. Along with an introduction and overview, which shed light on KPMG CF’s primary activities of divestitures, acquisitions, capital raising and mergers especially targeting private family owned businesses, Al Kanji also insisted on the different clients and partners of the firms. According to him, the exact target of his practice is what he defined as the “middle market”, i.e. companies grossing between $10 million and $1 billion per year.
He prided himself on a specific example, the advisory services his practice sold to Bureau Veritas SA (a French global company in testing, inspection and certification services) to facilitate the acquisition of local mining exploratory company, AcmeLabs. Therefore strengthening both local and international ties to other companies as well as broadening their customer base. As such, KPMG CF’s national and international reach provides its clients with different benefits according to its scope: the Canadian branch boasts seven offices across the country, and represents over $1.1 bn in turnover. He added that corporate finance practices such as his exist all over the world.
Mr. Kanji then moved on to the subject of the British Columbian economy, with a general economic update. After some numbers about Canada and British Columbia’s sizes and populations, along with some facts about the demographics, he then went on to explain the composition and drives of British Columbia’s economy, insisting on its natural resources. This is especially because Canada is the number one source of oil for the United States of America. This allows it to be one of its privileged commercial partners. He then went on to discuss Canadian employment and income inequality, and showed that in both cases, Canada was doing better than some of its European partners, such as France. This is not the case, though, in the housing sector where Canada has high mortgage rates and household debt.
The last part of the lecture on Canadian economy heavily focused on IPO markets and the exchange rate between the American and Canadian dollar. This part was particularly relevant for the students who would like to start their own company, giving them a general picture on the opportunities of the stock exchange. Overall this part of the lecture gave a complete review of Canadian economy, which is particularly interesting for entrepreneurship students.
The combination of KPMG CF’s presentation and the information on Canada’s general economy gave the audience a comprehensive view of the stakes of managing a corporate finance franchisee of a worldwide auditing & accounting firm.
Written by Olivier Handelsman, Claire Roversi and Rohan Sakrani