Transcript

Reid Thomas:
0:03
I'm one of those guys who, I think loves to try different things. So, I'm always pursuing different things. You know, as a kid I played, you know, being a Canadian, I think I had skates on at two years old and I played hockey my whole time as a kid growing up. But I love that. And then I also love music. You know, I'm a classically trained pianist. Not a lot of people know that. And so that's kind of the opposite of being on an ice hockey rink.:

Announcer:
0:32
Welcome to the OZExpo Podcast where we talk with the people who really know the Opportunity Zone market from investors, fund managers and developers to tax experts, politicians and attorneys. The most influential voices in the Opportunity Zone industry are here on the OZExpo Podcast.:

Jack Heald:
0:53
Well, welcome back everybody to the OZExpo Podcast. I'm your host Jack Heald and I'm here today with Reid Thomas of NES financial. Reid, Welcome to the show.:

Reid:
1:04
Hey Jack, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me.:

Jack:
1:06
So, real quick, remind me, what is your title there at NES?:

Reid:
1:10
Ah, it's a good question.:

Jack:
1:12
Well, that's why I asked.:

Reid:
1:12
I am the Executive Vice President.:

Jack:
1:16
I was looking at your stuff, and it's like, wait a minute, this guys got like 5 titles.:

Reid:
1:19
Does it really matter anymore. At my age, it doesn't matter anymore. I'm the Executive Vice President and General Manager of what we call our specialty finance central administration business, which includes products like Opportunity Zones that we're here to talk about today.:

Jack:
1:36
Well, great. Well before we start, dive into the Opportunity Zone, let's dive into a little bit about who is Reid Thomas. So, who are you, where'd you come from? How'd you get here?:

Reid:
1:47
Well I seem to be old enough to have trouble remembering things. So, that's a, that's a start like my title. Uh, but I'm I grew up in Canada actually. That's where I'm taking this call from today from Halifax, Nova Scotia, overlooking the ocean. That's not a bad place to be. Um, but always had a dream of working in technology and Silicon Valley and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to transition their back on Superbowl Sunday 1995.:

Jack:
2:18
See was that '95, that would have been, that wasn't the 49ers, was it?:

Reid:
2:25
I don't know. I missed the game cause I was on the plane. I don't know. Uh, but,:

Jack:
2:30
I used to know these things.:

Reid:
2:33
Yeah, we'll have, I'd be impressed. I can't remember.:

Jack:
2:35
Oh, it would have been the Cowboys. It was either the Cowboys or the 49ers, it absolutely was. Okay. Carry on. I'm sorry.:

Reid:
2:41
Oh, there we go. So, no problem. So, I have a technical background and engineering background in fact, and always wanted to work in Silicon Valley. And so I transitioned there, like I say, in '95 and I worked for a number of technology companies, mostly selling technology and equipment, emerging telephone companies, cellular companies and that kind of thing. But more recently transitioned into a Fintech, financial technology for financial services providers. And that's what NES is all about.:

Jack:
3:13
What type of engineer were you?:

Reid:
3:15
I am a electrical/computer science engineer.:

Jack:
3:19
Ooh, a double E plus a CS.:

Reid:
3:21
There ya go.:

Jack:
3:21
Oh boy.:

Reid:
3:21
Late nights in the computer lab.:

Jack:
3:22
Well, I will, I will do my best not to sound stupid, although I'm challenged, while talking to you. I can tell.:

Reid:
3:33
Talking to me is a pretty low bar. I can assure you.:

Jack:
3:34
Okay. So, talk a little bit about, I want to dive right into the NES software, specifically as it relates to Opportunity Zones. Um, give us kind of a general overview about, about that and your role there. And then, I think I've got some follow up questions cause I'm I know our audience is going to be interested in it.:

Reid:
4:00
Yeah. I think it might be helpful to start with, you know, what the software is intended to do, you know. Y:

Jack:
4:07
Yes, please.:

Reid:
4:07
We have this idea at our company that there's these great programs that get invented from time to time, investment programs. That are really intended to do good in one way or another. But for any number of reasons, they fail to do the good they intend to do. And sometimes it's because there's too much regulation, regulation, complexity, compliance, and just the whole program becomes operational burden, too expensive and it falls flat. Other times, the sort of the opposite effect. There's not enough regulation or control or oversight and bad actors in fraud and abuse start to enter the space. And a, so we had this thought that, you know, if we could develop technology that could be purpose built to these specialty types of transactions, that it would help make everything safer, more secure and more transparent, ultimately more compliant for the investors and all the other stakeholders in the program. So, we build software that can be highly, that is highly configurable for these specialty kind of investment transactions.:

Jack:
5:12
So, that's stuff like 1031 exchanges and what,:

Reid:
5:16
Exactly.:

Jack:
5:17
Opportunity zone 1031 probably.:

Reid:
5:21
Yeah.:

Jack:
5:22
New Market.:

Reid:
5:24
You're, you're on the right path. We started out doing 1031 exchanges. That's a program where it's intended for investors to defer gain and continue to invest in, like kind property. What emerged in that sector was there was a lack of controls on how these companies called qualified intermediaries, managed people's money. And what they were doing was gambling and investing with, investors monies. Of course that, when the stock market crash, the financial crisis of 2008 occurred, you know, they weren't, it turned into Ponzi schemes basically. And a lot of people lost their life savings. So, we, just picking on 1031, you know, we developed a platform to, to track and make sure everybody knows exactly where all the money is. We put our platform, in connection with bank systems so that there were dual controls on the movement of money so nobody could steal anybody's money.:

Reid:
6:23
Everybody knew where everything was at all times. And with that sort of process, we grew to be the largest independent meaning non bank or title company, a 1031 intermediary in the country. And we went out and we recruited a woman who wrote the 1031 exchange code from the IRS so that we added expert, a level of expertise that's unsurpassed to our technical abilities. So, that's what we do in 1031 we did a similar thing for EB5, which is in, which is I think very analogous to opportunity Zones. In many ways.:

Jack:
6:55
Right.:

Reid:
6:56
That's a combination of an investment program, an immigration program. And you know, with all the buzz in immigration these days, politically, I think it's well understood how complex our immigration system is. Um, and then also it's a job creation program. Uh, so Opportunity Zones is kind of the perfect fit for us as a bridge between those two. Um, because really it's a private equity investment fund combined with a tax compliance program and kind of like 1031 combined with a job creation or economic development program. Kind of like EB5.:

Jack:
7:29
It's more interesting than I thought it was when I started my, my research.:

Reid:
7:34
That's good to hear. And then we need to work on our website.:

Jack:
7:36
No, I'm an old software guy, who has become a marketing guy. My eyes glaze over in a hurry. But you brought me back. I'm really interested now, because these kinds of questions pop to mind. How does the compliance regulations differ between, for example, the EB5 and Opportunity Zone specific? And I know that, I know we're really early, this, this, episodes being recorded two days after the IRS additional guidance was released. Um, how does it differ based on what we know at this point?:

Reid:
8:16
Well, I think we need to look at the, Opportunity Zone and EB5 in as a specialty type of fund. You know, in a traditional private equity investment, it's all about what the return on the investment is. And that's an important part of this, of Opportunity Zone and the Opportunity Zone programs. Also part of the EB5 program:

Jack:
8:38
Right.:

Reid:
8:39
In EB5 context, the real return is in successful immigration results, for the investor.:

Jack:
8:45
Yea.:

Reid:
8:45
In the, OZ world, it's really about "What is my return?" So, you have to have a strong fundamentally sound investment opportunity that makes sense. But in addition to that, the investors are investing in Opportunity Zones because they want a tax benefit, kind of like the investors in the, in the, in EB5 are looking for immigration benefits. Um, so you have to have a robust tracking mechanism, to essentially create a complete audit trail for the tax compliance parts of it to help ensure that the investor achieves that goal as well.:

Reid:
9:23
And then finally, you know, we look at this from a bigger picture standpoint. So, your, so your question about, you know, regulations, there really aren't regulations in the Opportunity Zone world, at least not yet. That dictate, you know, you have to do any kind of reporting on the economic impact or social impact. That is something you have to do in the, in the EB5 world. You know, you do have to track job creation and those kinds of things. Um, but you don't have to do it in the Opportunity Zone investment world today. But we think, look for the health of this program, this is a program that's intended to do good and its intent and the good it's intended is really to do, to help revitalize these economically distressed areas. And so I think we're going to have, we're already seeing investors that are motivated by those social benefits, social impact benefits of the investments. And I think on the, on the economic development side or the government side of the, of the, the ecosystem, there's a tremendous amount of interest to see that this program achieves it's end. So, you know, we, we've built our solution to be able to cover all those different elements. Of course, the traditional fund accounting and private equity investments stuff, all of the tax compliance tracking and auditing and creating an audit trail as well as all of the social impact, benefits, monitoring, projections, all of that.:

Jack:
10:43
Okay. That's something I'm really interested in. I realize this is a really new program and there's, there's probably a lot of folks working on this, but I haven't run into anything that's actually formally tracking social impact. Is that part of what you're doing there with the software:

Reid:
11:03
Absolutely.:

Jack:
11:03
And in terms of, yeah. Okay. Let's talk about that. Tell us more about that.:

Reid:
11:07
Well. Right. So, you know, it stems from sort of we learned in EB5. Now EB5 is limited really to, focus on job creation. But in this world there are, there are many other metrics that we can actually track and monitor, over time. Right? In addition to job creation, we can track, you know the sort of typical pay scale and in specific region, the other social benefits can be tracked. So, there's a number of different sort of metrics that are available to be tracked through standard economic models. And we got exposed to those models through our, through our experience in the, in the EB5 world. Um, so you're right though, there are no standards here. There's several groups I think that are actively trying to sort of formulate these types of standards, for Opportunity Zones.:

Reid:
12:05
So, as those emerge, we'll continue to configure our software to, to produce that kind of information in the, in the standard format that's required. But for the moment, what we've really done is, is essentially mapped out, okay, well here are the five or six indicators such as payscale job creation, you know, how many hotel rooms were created, et cetera, et cetera. Um, and we can monitor that progress based on the amount of capital flowing into a specific investment against the baseline within the Ecos, within the, the economic track, meaning the Census Tract or the county or the geographic area.:

Jack:
12:43
Are you using the baseline that Treasury, the date that Treasury set up with the Census Tracts, which was I think 2012 or is the baseline the start of the fund in terms of a date? Um, let, let me back up. That may be on, in my question may not be clear. So, you said you've got five or six metrics, the baseline, when you take the date of, when you take the baseline measurements, does that go back to the 2012 Census Tracts or does that start of the fund or something else?:

Reid:
13:15
Well, it's, it's when we get engaged, we're going to run at what we're doing is running a report on the data available at that time. So, it depends on how current the data is.:

Jack:
13:28
Right.:

Reid:
13:28
So, it's, intended to be, okay, before we started to do this project, what was the state of that census track, let's say?:

Jack:
13:36
Yeah. And it sounds like it would be a much more defensible number that way.:

Reid:
13:40
Yeah. And then, and then what we do is we know what the planned investment is and so we can run that through economic modeling tools. Exactly like what gets used in EB5. And we can derive from that based on that investment, here's a number of benefits in terms of the different metrics that are created or will likely be achieved. And then we can, so, so we've, we've established a baseline, we've created a projection and then we can monitor as the project goes on, you know, how are these investments being made? And we can actually track out and verify back that the goals were achieved, the objectives were to achieved, and here's the net economic impact.:

Jack:
14:20
Gotcha. Um, so questions about the types of funds, but take these in any order you want. So, I'm wondering A, if I'm a, if I'm somebody who runs a half a dozen funds, is that something you handle? Um, is there a minimum fund size? Is there a maximum fund size?:

Reid:
14:40
Yeah, great question. You know, this is interesting because when we started doing EB5, you know, we learned, we learned a lot. If you take an EB5 fund, the average investor's investment amount is $500,000. And so the average sized fund, and we're the, we're the leading provider in the EB5 space. So, we have lots of data. We, we've done probably 700 plus EB5 deals. So, what we found was that the average size EB5 fund was $50 million, which had a 100 million, sorry, a hundred limited partners, a hundred investors in a $50 million fund.:

Jack:
15:20
Right.:

Reid:
15:21
And so that as a ratio is very high. Um, and most traditional private equity funds have much fewer investors for much more investment amount. And therefore those types of systems don't scale very well. So, we had to build our own technology to be able to scale, and deal with the complexity.:

Reid:
15:42
In EB5 every investor's investment immigration process by the end has resulted in about 3000 pages of documentation that we're tracking and maintaining along the way. So, to your question about is there a certain size and so on, in the way we've built our system, we think we're uniquely positioned to be able to scale up or down, in terms of the size of these funds. And that's beneficial because to date it's still unclear what the, how this is going to play out. You know, we're, signed now I think over 25 Opportunity Zone fund customers since the program started. So, we think we're the leading provider in the space at the moment. Um, and what we're seeing is a wide range of them. Some of them are $1 billion plus, others are $20 million and down. A lot of folks started with sort of investors that were friends and family because the regulations were a little, well, frankly were not even there. But as regulations evolve, we're seeing this trend to be more institutional on sort of broker-dealer platforms and the like. So, it's a little unclear what the mix will be, but we're seeing, funds have a lot of different sizes start to emerge. The highest growth area. We just did a webinar a couple of days ago and reported these statistics. You know, we're, we're seeing the higher end meaning $500 million and above in terms of fund size growing the most rapidly over the last three months.:

Jack:
17:20
To a certain extent. That makes sense because we're going to come up against this December 31st deadline here. Uh, what, eight months away, seven months away now. Yeah. So, I think there's a general feeling in the industry that there's got to be a rush to the door. I don't know if that's the entrance door, the exit door, but one way or another we got to get in under that, that deadline to pick up the full 15% basis step up.:

Reid:
17:44
That's right. Yeah. And I also think it's, it's a, it's an indicator just, you know, as the, the more institutional companies are going to take a more conservative approach to this. So, as regulations become clearer and further defined, we're going to see more and more big corporate institutions entering this space and putting Opportunity Zone funds together. Um, and that's what I think is driving this early on. You know, you had a lot of emerging fund managers, trying to get a market presence in early to market, which makes a lot of sense. And now we're starting to see the other bigger players catch out. So, we're seeing a sort of a very diverse range of funds, tights, to date. Mostly it's real estate. I think about 78%.:

Jack:
18:33
I was going to ask you what you were seeing. Go ahead.:

Reid:
18:33
Yeah, it's mostly real estate. Um, although we're starting to see a significant increase in the amount of operating business interest. So, I want, I want to say off the top of my head, about 75% or so are real estate projects right now, real estate investments. Um, the rest is either a combination of an operating business with a real estate component or just a straight up operating business. And I think as regulations continue to get clearer on the rules for operating businesses, which the regs from yesterday seem to, we expect that to grow pretty rapidly.:

Jack:
19:10
So I'm just innately curious about this kind of thing in terms of operating businesses, are you seeing any kind of energy plays, alternative energy?:

Reid:
19:21
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. That is a growing sector. That's one of the sectors that we saw grow the fastest and the last quarter.:

Jack:
19:27
Yeah. I, it just, it makes so much sense. Um, so another question that comes to mind is the mix of deal types similar to EB5. I know EB5 is supposed to be job creation focused. So, I would expect that there's probably a lot more in real estate with a Opportunity Zone than there is with EB5 or am I mistaken? I've been wrong before.:

Reid:
19:57
I would say it's, it's very similar actually right now. Um, where EB5, the ratios of the amount of stuff that we see in EB5 is a very consistent with what we're seeing in Opportunity Zones. But I do think we will see higher growth in other asset types, other than real estate in OZ that we did not see in the EB5 context. It really just, it gets down to sort of the rules, you know, a construction project was a great way to create jobs and, it was predictable because it was linked to spend and not necessarily the longterm success of a business. So, EB5 many projects were designed really around that sort of a model. So, real estate played very well. Um, real estate also plays well in Opportunity Zones of, but, I think so do, the, operating business models.:

Jack:
20:54
I have to say as an ex-software developer myself, I'm pretty impressed that you've, that NES has developed a platform for a program, that for all intents and purposes we didn't even know about a year and a half ago. Um, talk a little bit about the development side there.:

Reid:
21:16
Yeah, that's a good question. Right? So, it gets back to this focus that we have on these specialty types of funds. Um, and so, we have created a platform, we call it E-stack, that has the ability to perform capabilities, that are commonly used in these kinds of transactions. So, as an example, you know, we have a capability would be something we call sub accounting, right? So, this concept of one big bank account with multiple investors underneath it, each investor has their own journey. Either it's an immigration journey or a tax journey or whatever it is. And, and so we've created this structure, these sub accounts to support multi media types, right? So, they can support data about the, the status of the cash in a bank account or do they can also in store store documentation or monitor a workflow and a progression down an immigration path.:

Reid:
22:14
Um, so we've created these kinds of capabilities, that the way we architected it was such that we could configure them underneath a workflow. Hopefully, I'm not getting too technical and it's getting boring, but, but underneath a workflow. So,:

Jack:
22:30
I'm a tech guy. This stuff makes me happy.:

Reid:
22:34
So, when, so when something like Opportunity Zones comes along, you know, well, it's an investment fund, so you need to do fund accounting. Well, we have fund accounting capabilities because we do, EB5 funds. We do 1031 investments. We do traditional private equity funds accounting. It also has, a, economic impact modeling. So, we configure, right, okay, we're going to measure the expenses we're going to measure and then run that through an economic calculation model. Well, we already have that capability for EB5. So, really it's about just creating a new workflow, for this specific investment program. And then putting the right capabilities in order. So, we were able to do that really quickly. You know, the, the program got created as you point out, December, 2017. It wasn't till middle sort of the summer really of 2018 that they had even identified the Opportunity Zone funds. Um, so during that window of sort of the first half of 2018, we started putting our product together and launched our product around August, September 2018.:

Jack:
23:40
Holy smokes. That is just astonishing.:

Reid:
23:44
Oh we, we felt it was really important, to, to get out to market early to try to establish best practices. Cause this is a market that like, we love this program. This is, you know, this is something that's really needed for this country and we're very excited about it and we want it to succeed. So, we felt strongly that it was important for us to get out there in the market with this complete solution that covers all the different elements, the social impact elements, the tax compliance and the fund accounting elements and start to set that as the standard for best practices so that, you know, we can show the government, even though the government's, you know, it hasn't mandated yet, at least that there'd be these kinds of reports, we're able to provide them. Um, and so we, we really want this program to succeed. And so that's what we're as a company, we're passionate about.:

Jack:
24:35
You know, it, it occurs to me that, if in fact you get a house, get out ahead of the curve there and generate these social impact reports, we know that at some point the government is going to mandate that. We know they're gonna mandate reporting on the social impact of this program. And if you've already got the reports in place, you know, that can become a template. I know, I know. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but just telling our listeners that can become the template that the government uses to say, yeah, this is what you need.:

Reid:
25:08
Yeah, that's a possibility. And you know, our clients obviously would benefit from that because there'll be in a much stronger position. I mean there will be a lot of competition for investor dollars and we're hopeful that, you know, the clients who entrusted us to provide these services ultimately have greater successes as a results.:

Jack:
25:26
Okay. Um, talk about some of the special benefits of the NES package to a general versus the limited partner.:

Reid:
25:33
Well, so good question. So, we've architected this to really drive value to all points of the ecosystem. So, obviously the general manager has certain responsibilities and certain compliance responsibilities that they have to have to live up to. Um, so from a technology perspective, you know, we've created the systems such that they have access to realtime information about the overall funds performance and can drill into the status of each and every individual investor that's going on. Also, we've built it such that the compliance reports that at least are defined today are measured in real time. Right? So, how are they doing against the 90% test, right? Where they have to have a certain amount of the assets invested at the, into a project.:

Jack:
26:26
Right?:

:
26:26
Out of the general fund. So, we're tracking that stuff in real time so the general partner can see exactly where that is. Now from a limited partners' perspective, they also have access 24x7 through portals to the status of their investment. Their specific information, all the documentation they would need to help reinforce that they were compliant with the tax rules so that they can achieve their benefits. They can also look and monitor in real time, what the status of the overall funds compliances. Of course they can only see their individual information, but they will know whether the fund is, you know, how it's doing against the 90% test. Just picking on that one example. So, we've tried to make it user friendly. You know, we have essentially a cloud computing based platform where people can log in from their mobile phone or from the web and do it. And then the other benefit we provide is we act as an independent third party, right?:

Reid:
27:21
So, we build this software but we actually operate it for our clients. So, our clients get some, get all the benefits of a cloud computing SaaS based software platform. Without having to staff up install software, you know, troubleshoot any of that stuff. We do all the back office reporting. Which helps the general partner because it lowers their costs, improves their efficiency and it also helps the limited partner because the limited partners can entrust. Look this client, this, this fund has hired NES to be that independent oversight to make sure that money moves where it's supposed to go. Things are properly tracked, everything's in order. So, it gives investors confidence that, that their investments are safer, more likely to succeed.:

Jack:
28:07
No, it makes sense. Um, does NES, you already answered one of the questions I was going to ask is if this is hosted in the cloud. Um, but that brings up the next question. Is NES harvesting metadata from across deals and are you seeing any interesting or unexpected patterns because of that?:

Reid:
28:29
Well, we do to try to, we do try to monitor, you know, what trends are going on in the industry. Really to help inform our clients about the emerging trends, but also, to help ourselves get in front of potential product opportunities. Um, and yes, I think, you know, one of them I mentioned already, which is there seems to be a strong increase in the institutional investor in a fund moving into this space, in the last three months. So, I liken it to the EB5 business, you know. When EB5 business started out, it was emerging fund manager is very innovative and creative people that started out in this industry. And then, you know, after the, we got into it in 2010 and it took about three or four years. And then we started to see the large institutional real estate developers, et Cetera, approach this program.:

Reid:
29:29
Um, we're seeing that trend here happened much, much quicker. So, so that's one example. Perhaps the more interesting one for the audience, though, is really the, the investor motivation. You know, we, we continue to see, a significant, more than I would've thought actually, a significant amount of importance placed on what's the social good of that this investment is going to do. Don't get me wrong. I think the investors are still fundamentally motivated by, has to be a sound investment and provide a good return, but all things being equal, you know, a lot of folks are very interested in giving back. Um, you know, they grew up in a certain community,:

Jack:
30:04
Oh yea.:

:
30:07
They'd like to invest back. So, that kind of a motive has been surprisingly strong. That's the biggest one for me so far. But it's early, you know, we'll see.:

Jack:
30:19
It is early. I want to know a little bit more just about the origins of NES. Where did this company come from? How did it get started.:

:
30:30
Yeah. It started in 2005 with this, with this idea, you know, we, we, started to observe as the financial market started to unwind that there was a surprising amount or maybe a surprising lack of transparency as to what was going on. And so when, when the financial crisis hit, that was apparent. People didn't know where their money was. They didn't know really or understand the investments they were in. The banks didn't understand the investments that they were hosting and managing.:

Jack:
31:04
Oh yeah, I remember that.:

:
31:07
Yeah.:

Jack:
31:08
Painfully.:

:
31:08
Exactly. And, what was really astounding to me, as you know, a guy who grew up in technology as I got as I transitioned from sort of telecommunications into financial services was the fundamental core banking architectures.:

Reid:
31:21
You know, they're really good at what they do, kind of the core banking functions, but the creative products and investment products that are out there, the banking, architecture and infrastructure, just not, it's just not equipped to deal with it. And so we felt, look, we can, we can add value to the investors in these types of complex programs by increasing transparency, but we can also help protect the bank. Because in essence, we'll let the bank do what it's good at. It can take money in, it can push money out. It's got kind of checking accounts, savings accounts, all that stuff does that beautifully, right. But all of this complexity around say an OZ investment and how it needs to be tracked from account to account, and when it needs to move and all of that stuff. We do all of that on top of the banking infrastructure.:

Reid:
32:06
So, we formed a bunch of banking relationships early on to be able to help protect investors and banks. Um, cause in the financial crisis, the banks, even if even it wasn't their fault, they were the guys getting sued.:

Jack:
32:19
Yea. Exactly.:

:
32:19
And so when EB5 came along, we thought perfect. We know how to work with banks to help them deal with this kind of money because that's complex money. I mean, it's all foreign in the EB5 case and it's tied to immigration. So, the headlines aren't good. So, you know, just to put it in perspective, there's 6,000 banks in the country. There might be 12 that will take an EB5 deposit with any consistency, right? And so, we partner with them to help make sure that we de-risk that effort for them because they benefit from the relationships with the in EB5 world regional centers, the foreign investors, and obviously the deposit.:

Reid:
32:57
But we take over all the complexity of that. So, so that was kinda the idea and we, you know, we kind of came across sort of one segment after another. We started doing 1031. Then we came across EB5, we built up that business. Then we came across and we decided, look, we can run a traditional private equity. So, we hired a team out of State Street, which is one of, if not the largest, one of the largest fund managers are fund administrators out there. And we hired the folks, the team that runs their institutional fund accounting. So, we've always sort of embraced this, let's build a world class technology, let's layer on world class expertise on top of it, and then let's go after these specific transaction types. And that's what we, that's what we do. So, we try to specialize and differentiate, in these areas that are unique.:

Jack:
33:45
Let's, let's find out a little bit more about you. Outside of financial services and technology, what are you best at? What do you love?:

Reid:
33:57
Oh my gosh. Um, you know, I have, I'm one of those guys who I think loves to try different things, so I'm always pursuing different things. You know, as a kid I played, you know, being Canadian, you know, I think I had skates on at three years old and I played hockey. I think my whole time as a, as a kid growing up.:

Jack:
34:17
Is that a law if you're born in Canada or you just required to have learned to skate by a certain age. I've always wondered that.:

Reid:
34:25
I don't know. I don't know. But, you know, as, as I had a family and kids, yeah, they were on skates at the same age. So, maybe it is, I dunno. But I love that. And then I also love music. You know, I'm a classically trained pianist, not a lot of people.:

Jack:
34:39
Oh yea?:

:
34:40
And so that's kind of the opposite of being on an ice hockey rink, beating each other up. But.:

Jack:
34:44
What's your favorite piece to play?:

:
34:46
I always liked playing Beethoven for some reason.:

Jack:
34:53
Yea.:

:
34:53
So, So.:

Jack:
34:53
I'm a Chopin guy, myself.:

:
34:53
Are ya?:

Jack:
34:54
Yea.:

Reid:
34:54
That takes some skill. Good job.:

Jack:
34:55
Well, I think Beethoven is a, Beethoven is technically much more demanding. Because I'm not great at that style. I'm a blues keyboardist myself. Like,:

Reid:
35:06
Gosh, I wish I could do that.:

Jack:
35:08
Yeah. Well we can swap in and swap stories there.:

Reid:
35:13
Yeah. But now I have, you know, I have a family. Obviously my kids are grown. They're moved away. My wife and I, we bought a house, with a, with a small hobby vineyard. So, we're trying to figure out how to properly grow grapes and make wine and, renovate our house. And now we have grandkids. So, that's why I'm up in Halifax today. Visiting with them. So, it's, it's, for me, it's just always something different. And what I, you know, I, I love about NES and our industry is, it's every day it's something different. It's just somebody trying to do something different with their investments, whether it be building a hotel or a multifamily complex or starting a business in some area. It's fun to do different things.:

Jack:
35:56
Well, let's, let's flip it around. Found some things that you love. Um, what drives you out of your mind? What drives you crazy?:

Reid:
36:06
Oh, that's easy. Aside from traffic, right? It's driving me crazy. It's, it's gotta be waiting in a restaurant. You know, when you've had your meal and you, a person brings the bill around, you put your credit card down, and then you just sit there and wait. That's drives me crazy. I go out of my mind.:

Jack:
36:27
Oh my gosh. I spent a year and a half living in London.:

Reid:
36:32
Yeah, exactly.:

Jack:
36:33
Yeah, yeah.:

Reid:
36:34
Europe. It's like that, right? Yeah. It just drives me crazy. It's like, guys, just come take the money already.:

Jack:
36:39
I'm trying to leave, and I actually do want to give you money for it. Yeah.:

Reid:
36:44
Oh my gosh, that's a pet peeve.:

Jack:
36:47
Well read. I appreciate it. Anything else you'd like to add before we, go through the go through all the contact stuff?:

Reid:
36:56
Oh, well maybe a plug for the EOC Expo. I think, you know, we've worked with the folks involved in that on a number of different initiatives over the years and it's a great team and I'm very excited about the platform that's being built here and I encourage everybody to listened to all the podcasts and attend all the events.:

Jack:
37:15
Well, thank you sir. I appreciate that. You're the first one to do that. So folks want to get ahold of you or find out more information about that. Yes, What's the best way to do that?:

Reid:
37:25
You can visit our website is probably the easiest thing. www.nesfinancial.com. Our phone number is there and you can reach out anytime. We're happy to talk to anybody.:

Jack:
37:38
And I just want to remind our listeners that all this contact information will be available on the podcast website as well. Well Reid Thomas, I want to thank you for being with us today. This, for me. This has been a really fun section.:

Reid:
37:52
Thanks Jack. I appreciate it.:

Jack:
37:56
And for all of our listeners, thanks for tuning in to the OZExpo podcast. I'm Jack Heald and we will talk to you next time.:

Announcer:
38:09
This podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal tax or investment advice. For specific recommendations, please consult with your financial, legal, or tax professional.:

Announcer:
38:27
This is a presentation of OutClick Media Corporation.:


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