Walter Financial is a private investment firm that deploys capital in public markets with the expertise of Walter Public Markets, 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 fully-fledged investment firm comprising a team dedicated to public investments, two 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, 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 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.
Valérie Archambault has served as Vice President of Operations at Walter Financial since 2019. In this role, she ensures the efficiency of business processes and management tools within Walter Financial and its divisions, including the technological, administrative and real estate aspects of the business.
Prior to joining Walter Financial, Ms. Archambault cofounded and managed a company in the industrial technology sector, where she held the position of Vice President, Finance. Her duties involved financial, logistics, administrative and human resource management. In her most recent role, Ms. Archambault worked in technology strategy consulting at Deloitte, where she collaborated with clients from the financial and insurance sectors. She was able to hone her expertise in IT strategy, optimization and management and in planning and delivering business transformation programs using agile methodology.
Valérie Archambault holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and management from HEC Montréal. She is also Scaled Agile SAFe 4 Scrum Master (SSM), Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and ITIL certified. She demonstrates her commitment to the community through her work on projects supporting female professionals in business and tech. She was the first VP of Femmessor – Laval and is actively involved with the Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec, Deloitte’s Women in Technology committee and the L’Effet A’s Défi 100 jours program.
Mathieu Bernier is a Portfolio Manager and the Head of Research at Walter Financial where he is responsible for coordinating and conducting investment research primarily for the firm’s public portfolios. In this role, he is in charge of analysis, financial modeling, executive interviews and site visits of portfolio companies. Mr. Bernier also works in close collaboration with Walter Capital Partners and participates actively on private transactions executed by the group.
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 in 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 MBA from McGill University in Montreal, and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Mr. Bernier is member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and is currently pursuing the CFA designation.
Since 2017, Emilie Biron-Esbérard has held the position of Corporate Accountant for the Walter Group. Ms. Biron-Esbérard oversees the full accounting cycle for all of the Group’s companies and prepares and analyzes monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements. She does the investment bookkeeping for Walter Financial, in addition to providing general support within all of the Group’s companies.
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 Bachelors of Business Administration, Accounting from HEC Montréal.
Renaud Paquin has held the position of Financial Analyst at Walter Financial since 2018, conducting financial research to evaluate investment opportunities in public markets. He is also involved in 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 an automated quality filter based on the Bloomberg database and in spearheading an investment project on the US market that resulted in a significant investment. Earlier in his career, Mr. Paquin completed two financial analyst internships at 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 and an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree from HEC Montréal in 2017. He is also enrolled in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program, having passed the second exam in 2018. During his studies, Mr. Paquin participated in many major competitions and simulations, including the CFA Research Challenge, where his team reached the North American semifinals, as well as HEC Montréal’s Model United Nations.