What the hell is VAS?

Three years ago, we established a separate division which was tasked with solving client problems, optimising solutions and generally doing what it takes to make a material difference to our clients lives and businesses. This division is known as VAS (value added services).
Strategically as a firm we have successfully positioned ourselves as a wealth services firm, meaning we help clients generate, maintain and optimise wealth through business and investment.

As we enter our fourth year, we do so with a solid team of diverse talent that acts to deliver outcomes.
Across the VAS team we have degrees in economics, history, business, administration, engineering and surprise… accounting! There’s experience in manufacturing, international marketing, logistics, critical analysis, HR, strategic planning, governance, information technology and wait for it… intelligence!
Rather than talking further about us, it is worth setting out what we achieved last year and outline the nature of the tasks completed.
Property Activity
Three of our previous syndications closed out this year. The lowest return was a tax paid 12% compounding for five years, the next was 18%, compounding over three years and the best was 23% over four years.
Two new property investments were funded with total funding raised of $22m. One was a Queen Street Office retail complex the other was development land at Orewa. Three others were also funded, but fell over when the pre-conditions were not met. Two more were in progress at the end of December and have since settled raising $3.5m.
Private Equity / Venture Capital Activity
A total of seven projects were funded this year with new investments of approximately $5m being placed.
Generally, the transactions completed this year arose out of disputes between shareholders. The result is we facilitated five transactions with a total value exchange of $16m. Nothing is too small, the smallest was $90k in very difficult emotional circumstances for both sides.
One only was a purchase transaction and involved purchasing a listed shell. We also competed five due diligences on potential acquisitions for clients, and endless number of pitch assessments for the Venture Capital activity.
Sundry / Other Activity
We advised on;

  • The implementation of two Employee Share Plans
  • One Management Buy Out
  • A lease termination and surrender
  • A significant bank debt restructure and settlement deed
  • Two nasty matrimonial engagements
  • A governance review engagement
  • Expert witness work on a consequential loss claim
  • A market feasibility research engagement
  • Two data reconstruction/disaster recovery assignments
  • A business transformation assignment

The latter was a full deep emersion engagement utilising the whole team (excluding me), where we reconstructed financial data, reviewed systems failures, assessed senior leadership team capacity, completed a full 360-degree review including a staff survey and delivered a diagnosis to the board for consideration. All recommendations have been adopted and the business has refocused and is beginning to see increased performance.
Highlighted Project… Ripe Time
This engagement started two years ago, as an initial capital raise moved into a full governance assignment with two of the four directors being Gilligan Sheppard team members including the Chair. We also dealt with tax, ESOP’s R&D tax credits and the other usual items. The Chair became an Executive Chair and led the company’s sales and licencing efforts. We continue to lead its current second round fund raising.
Enterprise value now $60m up from $1.7m at the start. Our team along with the engineering team from ‘The Innovators’ have driven a phenomenal outcome for the investors and the founders.
What do we think the difference is to any other advisor environment?
The characteristics of our team which drive such outcomes and across such a wide spectrum of activity, is what I describe as the four ‘C’s’. Courage, Commitment, Caution (or Analytics) and Connection

  1. Courage… no boundaries, (expect our values and ethics) enables creative thinking and a belief that we can do anything.
  2. Caution… the analytical mind applied to the probable, to determine the possible.
  3. Commitment… once the possible is identified the dogged determination to see the task through.
  4. Connections… to bring together teams inside and outside Gilligan Sheppard to openly collaborate for the common good based on mutual trust and respect.

Where will VAS be next year?!

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