Aleem Bandali

Forty Under 40 Winner 2015: Senior vice-president and director, MNP Corporate Finance Inc., Age 37

As senior vice-president and director of MNP Corporate Finance Inc., one of Canada’s largest corporate finance companies, Aleem Bandali has run engagements of up to $30 billion in size.

He has worked with large clients, including the U.S. Department of Energy, MGM Resorts International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Working behind the scenes to help them finesse acquisitions, mergers, divestments and other megadeals, he is a master of discretion, taking care not to reveal secrets from the boardroom.

But there is one project he is happy to talk about.

He was the lead on winning and delivering the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics athletes village project while working at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Vancouver.

At times, the project was mired in controversy as it struggled with financial woes, but Bandali never doubted for a moment that the project would be a crowning jewel on the city’s landscape.

He feels pride every time he drives past it. “I love it. I think it’s awesome,” Bandali said in an interview.

He described his work on the project as being special. “You have a lot of different parties with interests that are not aligned at all. It was a clash of different interests, different personalities, but all with a common goal of trying to get the village built before the Olympics came along.”

In some ways, the work he did on the Olympic Village was no different than the work he does behind the scenes helping companies to swing big transactions. Whether they are looking at their capital structure from a debt or equity point of view, whether they are looking to divest or to buy other companies, he helps guide them through the process. “It’s fun; it can have moments of grandeur,” he said, though “it’s often a lot of people and a lot of emotions.”

Bandali estimates he puts in 12- to 13-hour workdays and often works on weekends. Yet he still wants to find time to work with charitable organizations, a growing passion of his.

Among other organizations, he likes to devote his time to the Arts Club Theatre Co. and to KidSafe, which provides safe havens for vulnerable inner-city children outside of school hours.

He feels driven to help because he feels he has been pretty lucky in life so far. And besides, he said, “I think it makes sense.”

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