A Year at RE Royalties
"What in the world is royalty financing?”
That was my first reaction when I received an email from a current RE Royalties shareholder describing the company and explaining how they might have a potential employment opportunity for me there.
It was 2017 and I had recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Victoria. I had returned home “temporarily” (again!) while actively searching for employment. The more I sat looking at jobs and writing cover letters that referenced my previous co-op positions as an engineering student, the more I questioned if I wanted to follow the typical engineering career path. As part of my studies, I had also earned a business minor and found that I was far more interested in those courses, particularly anything to do with finance. Like most new graduates, I wanted to see the world before starting my career and spent several months backpacking across Southeast Asia and Australia, during which I had plenty of time to self-reflect. It was during this time, while driving down a road in Australia in a camper van in the middle of the night, that I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to pursue my passion for finance further. Soon after, I enrolled in the CFA program.
After returning from my trip, in addition to a clearer direction for my career, I had also met my girlfriend, who was living in Vancouver at that time. It was through her that I met a longtime family friend Melanie, whose company Contessa was an investor and had worked with RE Royalties, that Bernard was introduced to me.
When I first met Bernard, I was surprised by how young he was. Is this guy really the previous CFO of a local, well-known corporation? As soon as we got to chatting, I knew I wanted to work at RE Royalties. I could tell that Bernard knew what he was talking about and appreciated how confident he was in sharing his knowledge. Aside from Bernard, I also believed in what the company was trying to achieve. I grew up in an oil and gas town and always knew that wasn’t the life for me. Every year the effects of global warming become more apparent and I wanted to ensure that I was using my skill set to be part of the solution, not the problem. I was sold, but, unfortunately they were not quite ready to hire yet. I returned home and kept studying and applying for jobs.
I travelled down to Vancouver again later in the year to write my CFA exam, but after writing and returning home, I felt empty. I no longer had my studies as a means to keep me occupied and had no desire to set up shop in my hometown that was so far away from my girlfriend and the abundance of opportunities in Vancouver. So, in early July, I decided to take a leap of faith, pack up everything I owned, and drove to Vancouver.
I temporarily moved in with my girlfriend (pretty sure I still owe her rent) and started my search for work again. Then, much to my surprise, I received one the best emails of my life - I had passed CFA Level 1. I immediately told everyone I knew, including Bernard, and he invited me for another meeting, this time with Peter as well.
The meeting went well and soon after the meeting, Bernard called me up. “Hey Bryce, I’ve got some good news and some bad news” he said. “The good news is we would like you to be part of the team and we can offer you a job. The bad news is we can either offer you the CEO or COO compensation package.” What I later found out was that as a startup, Bernard and Peter were paying themselves minimum wage in order to minimize the amount of overhead. I knew at that point that they valued their shareholders’ capital and would do anything to protect it. While my compensation is now at a much more reasonable market level, upon acceptance of the job, I was able to tell my parents about it and bragged that I was “earning as much as the CEO”.
I officially began working at RE Royalties in August of 2017. In the first few months on the job, I would sit in both Peter and Bernard's offices taking notes while they explained how the business model operates, previous deals they had closed, as well as any relevant stories from their past experiences. I felt like I was getting paid to attend business school, and I could not have been happier. In between sessions, I would self learn as much as I could on the renewable industry to feed my curious engineering brain.
While my official title is “Financial Analyst”, I would say my day-to-day is very different than most people would imagine based on the title. My main responsibility is assisting in all aspects of the due diligence process, but the beauty of working at a young company and as part of a small team is that you have no set “box” that you work in. In the past year, in addition to formal “Financial Analyst” duties, I have also had the chance to redesign our website, attend board meetings, work on our IPO, communicate with shareholders, create a social media presence, participate in investor events, design marketing materials, create countless financial models and even help draft some legal documents. The variety and flexibility is one of the things I love most about my job and I truly enjoy coming to work every day and knowing it will be significantly different from the last. I was even fortunate enough to be given paid time off for a few weeks to study for my CFA Level 2 exams.
Looking back over the more than a year now since I started, it is difficult to comprehend how much I have learned and how much room there still is to grow and develop further skills and understanding. It has truly been an amazing experience being part of the team at RE Royalties and I am very excited for what the future holds.
Thanks for reading!