By ANDREW WILLIS, CHRISTINA PELLEGRINI
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Newly arrived Goldman Sachs Canada Inc. CEO Jason Rowe knows that in the highly competitive investment-banking sector, he needs to differentiate his firm from rivals. And he's got a pitch ready to go.
Mr. Rowe, who was named head of the Canadian business last month after 15 years with the firm, plans to say that Goldman delivers a unique global perspective to Canadian clients.
Then the veteran tech, telecom and media banker will offer up a case study: Goldman is currently bidding to advise a Canadian company in a "unique" industry on an initial public offering, competing for this mandate with the rest of the dealers on the Street.
He says that no domestic dealer has done a deal in this sector; Goldman, on the other hand, has led five similar IPOs.
"We have a depth of knowledge on global industries that is unmatched," Mr. Rowe said Monday during an interview at Goldman's offices in Toronto, ahead of a flight to Calgary to meet oil patch clients. He said his arrival is part of "the firm's continued investment in Canada."
Goldman has Canadian offices in Toronto and Calgary and shrank its local team over the past year.
A number of foreign-based investment banks cut staff in their Canadian operations as part of global downsizing.
Mr. Rowe says Goldman has "several dozen" Canadian employees and while the head count will remain at this level, the firm plans to deepen coverage of sectors such as technology, financial institutions, real estate, consumer products and health care.
The commitment to Canada reflects an upbeat outlook on potential activity, as Mr. Rowe said Goldman expects to see a steady stream of M&A deals, with domestic companies investing abroad and foreign companies targeting Canadian businesses.
In 2016, Goldman Sachs ranked fifth over all in M&A advising involving a Canadian company, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.
The bank worked on 22 transactions last year valued at $84-billion (U.S.). Morgan Stanley, the country's top financial adviser, advised on 20 deals valued at $99-billion.
The New York-based firms, and rival investment banks, also expect to see Canadian companies continue to raise money with equity and debt financings and Mr. Rowe said Goldman will strive to earn a larger share of these underwritings. Canadian companies have traditionally looked to foreign-investment banks for approximately 10 per cent of their stock sales; the domestic dealers dominate this business.
Mr. Rowe takes the reins from former Goldman Canada CEO Peter Enns, a financial-services banker who recently announced plans to retire this spring after 21 years with the firm.
Prior to joining Goldman in 2002, Mr. Rowe was a captain in the U.S. Army, serving in an elite airborne infantry division.
He was named a partner in Goldman in October, 2016.
While Mr. Rowe will be a generalist in Canada, the first point of contact for domestic clients, he plans to put his expertise in tech banking to use by working in the "innovation" economy, with up-and-coming companies.
It's a focus that fits with the economic agenda unfolding under the federal Liberals and provincial governments.
His appointment is part of broader personnel changes that Goldman announced in midDecember to expand their regional footprint across North America.
The bank named four new investment-banking heads at offices in Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas and Toronto.