Fund Wins Top Award

December 16, 2004

Release Date: December 16, 2004

It’s been in existence for only five years, but Saskatoon’s Golden Opportunities Fund has been recognized as the top Canadian labour-sponsored investment fund for 2004.

The fund has attracted $45 million from 8,000 Saskatchewan unit holders and has put that money to work in 50 investment transactions in 35 different Saskatchewan companies since 1999.

Grant Kook, the fund’s president and CEO, says organizers of the Canadian Investment Awards phoned him a month ago to strongly suggest he attend last week’s awards dinner at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall.

Kook says winning the award could bring further benefits to Saskatchewan’s economy because it will put Golden Opportunities on the radar of other venture capital funds from outside the province.

“We syndicate with other funds, and now we’re starting to be able to attract funds from other parts of Canada to bring them here,” he said. “For us to win this award, we can counteract that view we have no expertise here.”

What was particularly meaningful for Kook was the fact that fund managers such as himself don’t choose to enter the awards and all 120 labour-sponsored funds were scrutinized. Some of those funds have a billion dollars in assets.

Fund performance was only one of the criteria in judging the labour-sponsored funds, with factors such as liquidity, changes in assets, fee structure, redemption rate, management quality, job creation record, social responsibility, clarity of reporting and marketing initiatives also judged.

“Golden Opportunities is the first choice because of its consistent performance and the role it plays in raising money in its province,” the selection committee said.

While Kook doesn’t take credit for bringing venture capital to Saskatchewan, he says Golden Opportunities has stirred up interest in the province to invest in local growth companies.

“It’s nice to hear that people associate us with venture capital and raising money now,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “The province is pretty small so it’s nice to know we’ve helped in creating that venture capital market.”

Labour-sponsored funds are given a specific endorsement by a labour union at their inception. In 1998, the Construction and General Workers union Local 890 in Saskatoon lent its name to Golden Opportunities.

Murray Lyons
The StarPhoenix
Thursday, December 16, 2004

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2004