Former Canadian pension fund chief to head new activist investment firm

Smoothwater Capital will collaborate with institutional investors

Stephen Griggs, the former Canadian pension fund chief who has also headed the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG), has formed a new activist investment firm with private investor Garfield Mitchell.
Griggs left his role as chief executive of the C$14.7bn (€11bn) OPSEU Pension Trust (OPTrust), the Ontario state workers fund, in April last year after less than a year in the role. He went on to sue the fund for wrongful dismissal.
Before that he was for three years Executive Director of the CCGG, the group that currently has 46 institutional investor members who manage nearly C$2trn of assets.
His previous roles include chair of environmental investment firm Investeco Capital and President and CEO of Legg Mason Canada.
Since leaving OPTrust, Griggs has been running his own investment and consulting business called Underwood Capital.

Now he has now been announced as CEO of a new Toronto-based activist investment boutique called Smoothwater Capital.It will be chaired by Mitchell, who is a director of Viking Gold Exploration, the W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the Donner Canadian Foundation. The pair had worked together before at mutual funds firm BPI Financial.

“Activist investing is a logical next step in my career”

Smoothwater will invest its own capital in listed small to mid-cap Canadian companies with governance or strategy problems. The new outfit “will work collaboratively with other investors to effect change in targeted companies, particularly with institutional investors who hold material illiquid positions”.
Mitchell said: “I know that together we can accomplish a great deal with Smoothwater and make a difference in the Canadian capital markets by becoming a leading activist investor.”
“Activist investing is a logical next step in my business career, and I look forward to working closely with Garfield again,” said Griggs. Link