Walter Financial is a private investment firm that deploys capital in public markets with the expertise of Walter Public Investments, and in private equities through its two specialized teams: Walter Capital Partners and Walter Global Asset Management.
Our seasoned portfolio management teams carry out a thorough fundamental analysis for each investment to ensure we select only businesses that align perfectly with our vision. Our financial experts possess the hands-on experience to go beyond market analysis and make an active contribution to the success of our portfolio holdings. We have the patient capital to support the growth of these businesses in the long term.
We believe innovation is the key to making a mark. It is at the core of our approach to investing and deploying capital, and it’s what we look for in the business models of our portfolio companies.
BEYOND IDENTIFYING QUALITY COMPANIES
We understand and support them
INVESTING AND THINKING LIKE ENTREPRENEURS
It’s in our DNA
INVESTING FOR THE LONG TERM
Because we believe in partnership
RELYING ON SOLID IN-HOUSE TEAMS
To add value to our investments
Our philosophy at Walter Financial is rooted in a concept known as « ownership investing ».
We systematically seek out high-calibre companies and tap into years of experience in the field to understand what makes them tick.
Guided by this philosophy, we embrace a long-term outlook in all of the investments in our public- and private-equity portfolios
A BUSINESS ECOSYSTEM
Walter Financial is part of the Walter Group, a business ecosystem led by the Somers family that represents their interests and values.
Guided by a multigenerational entrepreneurial spirit, the Walter Group has flourished for nearly 70 years. Having started as an industrial company that grew into a leader of its industry, the Group has since evolved into a multifaceted investment firm comprising a team dedicated to public investments, three teams specialized in private equity and a team focusing on new food projects.
At the helm of it all is a team of seasoned operators with strong business acumen and extensive financial insight. This approach empowers the Group to be actively involved in managing its investments, providing a robust and sustainable framework that underpins each of its companies.
François Beaudoin is a member of corporate boards and provides advisory services to national and international organizations in strategic planning, merger and acquisitions, and financial planning.
Mr. Beaudoin is a career banker who was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Development Bank of Canada where he worked from 1990 to 1999. Prior to that, over a 16-year period, Mr. Beaudoin held several executive positions in Quebec and Ontario at Bank of Montreal, including the position of Vice-President in the Quebec Region. From 1999 to 2012, Mr. Beaudoin acted as Senior Advisor with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Montreal.
Mr. Beaudoin is a member of the following boards: Walter Financial (Chairman), Walter Group, Walter Global Asset Management, Peak Financial Group, and Britton Electric.
Mr. Beaudoin is past Chairman of the Quebec Chapter of the World Presidents Organization. Mr. Beaudoin holds an MBA from Columbia University in New York and a BBA from the HEC in Montreal.
René Fournier is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Walter Financial. In this role, Mr. Fournier leads the investment team and is responsible for the company’s investment strategies, including asset allocation. He is also a member of the Board of Walter Global Asset Management and Walter Capital Partners in addition to being the Head of its Investment Committee. Furthermore, Mr. Fournier is a member of the board of directors of Mayrand and Alimplus, both private companies in the food sector.
Before joining the Walter Group, Mr. Fournier was responsible for the Canadian equities and corporate bonds team at a large Canadian pension fund. His responsibilities included leading the team of analysts in addition to leading the research strategy. Earlier, he worked at EDC as a director of structured project finance and as a project manager at J.D. Irving.
Mr. Fournier received an MBA from McGill University. He holds a CFA title and a professional engineer title in addition to a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Moncton University.
Frank Vitale is the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary Treasurer for the Walter Group. In this capacity, Mr. Vitale is responsible for the development, growth and strategic direction of all international finance, taxation, reporting and treasury-related matters of the Group and its businesses.
Mr. Vitale launched his career in the accounting and audit field. After seven years, he transitioned to privately held companies, where he occupied progressively senior positions. He acquired a strong financial and operational background in the apparel industry, first as a corporate controller at Baltex Swimwear in Montreal in 1997, and then in the role of Vice President, Finance and Operations of the Corwik Apparel Group. He joined the Walter Group in 2009 as Vice President, Finance of Walter Surface Technologies and transitioned in 2014 to his current role as Chief Financial Officer for all of the organization’s business units, which include Walter Financial, Walter Capital Partners and Walter Global Asset Management.
Mr. Vitale studied in Montreal where he completed a Finance and Accounting Bachelor’s Diploma from Concordia University and subsequently completed the intensive Chartered Accountancy Program at McGill University. He successfully completed the Canadian Institute for Chartered Accountants exam in 1989 to obtain his CA designation.
Stephanie Pellerin joined Walter Financial in 2021 as Chief Operating Officer to oversee the firm’s operations as well as information technology and administration. She brings to the team over 20 years of experience in dynamic and continuously changing work environments—experience that she can use to help grow Walter Financial and the other investment units of the Walter Group.
Ms. Pellerin previously worked at the National Bank of Canada as a Senior Manager, where she managed critical IT assets for the financial markets sector and served as a transformation leader. Furthermore, she was involved in strategic workforce planning for the financial market sector. She excelled in this role at rallying teams behind the recommendations required for continuous improvement. Prior to this, she spent over 13 years in consulting as a Senior Manager at Deloitte with the Strategy and Operations group, focusing on finance function transformation. She began her career in finance at Bombardier Aerospace and Bombardier Inc., where she held a variety of positions, including Transfer Pricing Analyst, Corporate Auditor and Financial Analyst.
She graduated from the Université de Sherbrooke, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Management Information System certificate. She is a CPA, CMA, holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute, and is “Scaled Agile” certified. For several years now, she has also volunteered with the Junior Chamber of commerce of Montreal and Polytechnique Montréal, mentoring the next generation of business leaders.
Mathieu Bernier is the Managing Director & Lead Portfolio Manager at Walter Public Investments (WPI). After joining Walter Financial in 2016 as Senior Investment Officer, he was later appointed Portfolio Manager and Head of Research at Walter Group in 2018. In his current role, Mr. Bernier is the lead portfolio manager for the firm’s public equity strategy offered to outside investors and was a key actor behind the creation of WPI. Given his history with the firm, he remains a strategic advisor to the Walter Group and all its investment divisions.
An engineer by training, Mr. Bernier started his career in finance in 2011 in the Investment Banking group of TD Securities and later joined CN Railway’s employee pension fund as a financial analyst on the Canadian Equities team. Mr. Bernier held several positions at CN over five years where he was responsible for large portfolio investments in industrial, energy and utility companies.
Before working in finance, Mr. Bernier held highly technical roles at various industrial organizations. While at Dominion Engineering Inc. (DEI), a US-based consultancy, he helped develop and commercialize Ultrasonic Fuel Cleaning technology at eleven nuclear power plants globally. Prior to DEI, he conducted research at MIT’s Gas Turbine Lab where he participated in the design of micro-rockets for NASA and DARPA. Mr. Bernier began his engineering career at Pratt & Whitney Canada, where he worked on the performance and testing of regional aircraft engines.
Mr. Bernier holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from McGill University in Montréal, and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Mr. Bernier is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a CFA charterholder.
Daniel Lavoie is Portfolio Manager and Chief Compliance Officer at Walter Public Investments (WPI). Mr. Lavoie joined Walter Group in January 2021 and was a key element in the creation of WPI. In his current role, he is responsible for securities selection, portfolio construction, elaboration and optimization of investment strategies. He also oversees the compliance and regulatory needs of the firm.
Mr. Lavoie brings extensive investment experience of over 17 years in various roles, ranging from financial analyst to portfolio manager in multiple sectors.
Previously, Mr. Lavoie was Vice President at State Street Global Advisors (formerly GE Asset Management), where he was the Lead Analyst and Portfolio Manager for the Global Energy sector within the Fundamental Growth and Core Equity team. Prior to joining GE Asset Management in 2013, he was Assistant Portfolio Manager at Fiera Capital for the Alternative and Canadian Growth Funds strategies. Before Fiera, Mr. Lavoie held various roles at Montrusco Bolton, including Assistant Portfolio Manager for the Equity Dividend Income Fund and Small Caps strategies. He began his career in investment in 2005 as a Special Situations Financial Analyst at a Canadian brokerage firm.
Mr. Lavoie holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration (finance specialization) from Université de Sherbrooke and is a Chartered Investment Manager (CIM).
Renaud Paquin has held the position of Senior Investment Analyst at Walter Public Investments since 2021, where he is conducting financial research to evaluate investment opportunities in public markets. He is also actively involved in developing and optimizing portfolio management tools.
Prior to his current role, Mr. Paquin completed an internship at Walter Financial during the summer of 2017 as part of the Next to Succeed program, which aims to develop the leaders of tomorrow. He stood out for his work on developing a quality filter based on the Bloomberg database and in leading an investment project on the US market that resulted in a significant investment. He later joined Walter Financial as a full-time Financial Analyst, a position he held between 2018 and 2020. Earlier in his career, Mr. Paquin completed two internships in the public market division of the the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
Mr. Paquin completed a master’s degree in finance and accounting from Imperial College London in the UK in 2018 as well an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree from HEC Montréal in 2017 and is a CFA Charterholder. Since 2020, he is enrolled part-time in the MSc Data Science and Business Analytics program at HEC Montreal. In addition, Mr. Paquin is a CFA charterholder.
Emilie Biron-Esbérard has been a part of Walter Group’s finance team since 2017. She began as Corporate Accountant before being promoted to Director, Finance and Administration in 2020. She now holds the position of Director, Financial and Corporate Projects. Ms. Biron-Esbérard is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of software systems as well as for the process of external investor onboarding. She provides structural support on all business projects and serves as the primary liaison between the Group’s business units and its accounting/reporting functions.
Before joining the Walter Group, Ms. Biron-Esbérard served as an accounting technician and administrative coordinator at Physiothérapie Universelle for seven years, where she oversaw the full accounting cycle and handled multi-company accounting. She also prepared and analyzed financial statements and budgets, in addition to managing sales, IT services and repairs and the planning of company events.
Ms. Biron-Esbérard holds a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DEP) from the École des métiers de l’informatique, du commerce et de l’administration (EMICA) and is currently working toward a Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting from HEC Montréal.
Claudie Leal-Boléa joined Walter Public Investments in 2023 as Senior Analyst, Middle Office Operations. In this role, she is responsible for managing several operational aspects related to transactions, analyzing investment portfolio performance, as well as ensuring the smooth flow of various financial activities.
Prior to her current position, Ms. Leal-Boléa worked for six years at Van Berkom and Associates, where she began her career as an administrative assistant. Through exposure to the financial industry, she demonstrated her ability to improve various processes with her attention to detail and commitment to quality, which led to her promotion to Senior Portfolio Administrator. Before that, Ms. Leal-Boléa worked in the tourism industry where she was responsible for the management of several hotels, including those of the Hilton group. She also managed different teams to ensure strict quality control of the services provided.
Ms. Leal-Boléa graduated from HEC Montréal with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance (B.Gest.). In addition, she holds a Canadian Securities Course (CSC) certificate as well as a technique in Tourism Management from the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ).
Louis-Émile Gaudette joined the Walter Public Investments team as a Financial Analyst in 2021. In his role, he is responsible for conducting financial analysis of publicly traded securities across various sectors and geographies. Additionally, he is highly involved in the fund’s operations, as well as the development of portfolio management and quantitative tools.
Prior to his current role, Mr. Gaudette completed an extended internship at Walter Financial, where he was responsible for conducting research projects that led to sizeable investments in cybersecurity and renewable power producers. He was also in charge of developing a quantitative momentum tool using the Bloomberg database. While at university, Mr. Gaudette conducted various extracurricular research projects, was an active member of multiple investment clubs, and completed the Bloomberg Market Concepts certification.
Mr. Gaudette holds a Dean’s Honour Bachelor of Commerce (Finance & Data Intelligence) from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. He is currently a level 2 Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) candidate.
Ophélie Bonifas joined Walter Financial in 2021, first as Executive Assistant and Administrative Officer and then as Administrative Coordinator. In her role, she assists the various teams, in addition to putting her organizational and communication skills to good use by ensuring the administrative management of the office.
Since her arrival in Quebec, Ms. Bonifas has held similar positions in various fields such as optometry and new technologies. In the various roles she has held, she has been able to demonstrate her skills in project management, event organization, procedure implementation and also quality control system.
Fluent in French, English and Spanish, Ms. Bonifas also holds a bachelor’s degree in human sciences and a master’s degree in archaeology from the University of Toulouse II le Mirail, France.