September 17, 2018

The Art and Science of Perfection

Perfecting the internal controls within a growing organization is no small feat. The ever-changing nature of the industry requires a commitment to continuously adapt and stay ahead of a dynamic regulatory and compliance environment.

The two lines of business at Canada ICI must strike an important balance. The Origination Team has historically developed new, leading-edge structuring solutions for real estate financing transactions, while the Asset Management Group establishes the framework and processes to execute these transactions on behalf of its investors.

Vice President of the Asset Management Group, William Yu, has always intuitively understood this balance. It’s the reason he is entrusted with the design and implementation of internal processes and corporate governance for Canada ICI’s Asset Management Group. William has excelled at ensuring the interests of Canada ICI’s investors are at the forefront, while creating an infrastructure so the origination group can continue to drive transactions.

Internal Auditing and Peer Reviews

As one of his early initiatives, William helped develop a culture of governance which is reinforced by internal audit and peer reviews. “It’s difficult to review your own work with a critical eye,” William told us. “That’s why the internal audit function is critical in our business. We’ve built a culture around objectivity.”

The internal audit process is a daily activity at Canada ICI, where a combination of different team members from different divisions ensure that each transaction is robust and prepared to flow correctly. These processes include strict guidelines from regulatory bodies, but also encompass the company’s best practices based on years of experience.

“When it comes to governance and compliance, simply meeting the minimum requirements just doesn’t cut it in today’s environment. All of our stakeholders whether it be our employees, investors, and shareholders expect that we’re building a culture that is continuously pushing to build market-leading best practices. As stewards of institutional investments, we’ve invested heavily in systems and technology that have allowed us to grow with scale.”

Evolving Corporate Governance

In an organization where the culture is fast-paced and high-driving, William contends that corporate governance requires near-constant vigilance and proactive development to stay one step ahead of the demands of the current real estate financing environment.

While William says that the end goal is to achieve a “market-leading level of governance,” he acknowledges that true perfection cannot ever be truly realized because the business continues to evolve and the regulatory environment is always changing.

As the company grows, it becomes increasingly complex. With an eye always on the future, William believes Canada ICI can stay ahead of the curve and remain the most relevant commercial real estate financing company in the country.

“We are constantly looking at our industry on a global scale, learning from what has made other organizations like ours successful and where the gaps are. We are always doing our research. This never stops,” William explains.

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