Theresa Shutt is Head of Corporate Debt at Fiera Private Debt. In this role, she is accountable for the management of the Canadian Corporate Debt funds and platform in Canada. Previously, Theresa was Senior Vice President for Corporate Debt. Prior to joining the company in July 2019, she was the Chief Investment Officer of Private Debt with Integrated Asset Management.
With over 20 years of experience in corporate lending and capital markets, she contributes to the success of the business by growing AUM through strategic capital deployment and the development of innovative private debt strategies.
Prior to Integrated Asset Management, Ms. Shutt was a Managing Director with BMO Corporate Finance where she developed customized financing solutions for mid-market Canadian Companies. Previous to this role, she held a variety of roles at RBC and Scotiabank structuring fixed income and equity derivatives for corporations and asset managers. She began her career working as an economist for the Conference Board of Canada.
Theresa Shutt holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics (Honours) from the University of Alberta, a Master of Arts (MA) in Economics from McMaster University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto. Ms. Shutt is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.
With over 16 years of experience in the financial services industry, Ala Azara joined Fiera Private Debt in January 2022.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt, Mr. Azara spent the last 11 years at BMO Financial Group. Most recently, he played a key role as Vice President, Business Banking where he led a team of 15 commercial account managers. He also held various senior roles with the same financial institution including Senior Business Development Manager, and thereafter was appointed to Head of client acquisition and Business Development for Quebec and Eastern Ontario. Previously, he worked with HSBC Bank in commercial banking supporting clients via trade finance and cross-border financing, and he also managed several client portfolios with lending over $400 million. Mr. Azara has extensive experience in management, business development, contract negotiations and commercial risk management.
Ala Azara earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business with a Major in finance.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt in July 2019, Brian Ko had worked at Integrated Asset Management Corp. with the Private Debt Group since 2011. Mr. Ko was responsible for origination, client negotiations, deal structuring, financial analysis, due diligence, and portfolio management.
Prior to joining Integrated Asset Management, he spent four years in fixed income research at DBRS, where he was most recently an Assistant Vice President in the energy group.
Mr. Ko holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Computer Science and Commerce from the University of Toronto, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia and he holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Daniel Patenaude MBA, BBA
Managing Director, Corporate Private Debt
With more than 25 years of experience in the banking industry, mostly in business financing and international trade, Daniel Patenaude joined the Fiera Private Debt Team in 2017.
An experienced business industry leader, Mr. Patenaude has held several strategic positions, helping bring a number of complex projects to fruition during his career. He has also led teams of account managers, cash management specialists and financial analysts. Mr. Patenaude also headed the National Bank’s Corporate Financing Group, leading a team of major accounts financing professionals responsible for mergers & acquisitions for Quebec.
Holding a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in international trade and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA), specialized in finance from HEC Montréal, Daniel Patenaude has an important network of business contacts.
Dino Fracassi CFA, BBA
Managing Director, Corporate Private Debt
Dino Fracassi joined the Corporate Private Debt Team in June 2017.
Mr. Fracassi has over 20 years lending experience, covering a wide range of businesses from small private companies to large publicly traded corporations. In his most recent role, he was a key contributor to Scotiabank’s Toronto-GTA Structured Commercial Banking team where he managed a loan book of over $500 million of assets. Prior to this role, Mr. Fracassi worked at HSBC Bank Canada where he led a commercial banking team and helped establish a leverage finance team. The leverage finance team worked closely with private equity sponsors by providing leveraged credit facilities in support of sponsor backed M&A activity. Earlier in his career, Mr. Fracassi held credit adjudication roles at Credit Suisse Canada and Scotiabank-Global Risk Management.
Dino Fracassi holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration (BBA) from Ryerson University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of the CFA Society Toronto.
Madalina Dragomirescu BCom
Managing Director, Corporate Private Debt
Madalina Dragomirescu joined Fiera Private Debt in December 2021 after a 17-year career at HSBC Bank, where she held various senior roles within Commercial and Corporate Banking in Montreal and Toronto. Most recently, she led the South Shore and Eastern Townships region, where her mandate was to build a team of account managers and financial analysts in order to develop this strategic growth market.
Previous roles include leading Quebec’s cash management team, corporate credit adjudication, client relationship management and business development. She also held a director role on the board of directors of Hong Kong Canada Business Association. Ms. Dragomirescu has extensive experience in structuring complex transactions and has guided many clients with their financing needs.
Madalina Dragomirescu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce with a Major in Finance from McGill University, where she graduated with great distinction. She also studied at Vienna University of Economics, German being one of the five languages that she speaks fluently.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt in June 2020, Mr. Penelas worked at BMO Corporate Finance within the Diversified Industries Group where he was responsible for origination, deal structuring, due diligence, and execution of corporate lending transactions in Canada and Internationally.
Prior to joining BMO, Nelson Penelas spent four years in the Leverage Finance Group at CIT Corporate Finance, where he was a Director responsible for the origination, due diligence and execution of leveraged buyout supporting Canadian and US Financial Sponsors.
Mr. Penelas holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester.
Russell French MAcc, CPA, CA, CIRP, LIT
Managing Director, Special Loan Management
With more than 22 years of experience in corporate restructuring, Russell French joined Fiera Private Debt as Managing Director, Special Loan Management in 2021 to support the investment team on non-performing loan management, credit structuring and special situations.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt, Mr. French was an Assistant Vice President at Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) where he led BDC’s Business Restructuring Unit for the Ontario and Atlantic Regions. In this role, he was responsible for strategy development and risk management related to special loans in the bank’s portfolio. Previous to this role, Mr. French was a senior practitioner in Ernst & Young’s Corporate Restructuring Group. For more than 15 years, he advised lenders, management and other stakeholders in Canadian and cross-border restructuring matters including restructuring strategy, refinancing, business viability assessment, business plan development and the preservation and enhancement of stakeholder value.
Russell French holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chartered Accountancy and a Master of Accounting from the University of Waterloo. He is a CPA, CA as well as a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP) and a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT).
Matthew Tokaruk CPA, CA, CFA
Director, Special Loan Management
Matthew Tokaruk joined Fiera Private Debt as Director, Special Loan Management, in 2022. In his role, Matthew supports the management of non-performing loans and other special situations. Mr. Tokaruk brings over ten years of professional experience in business restructuring, financial institution oversight, and financial services.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt, Mr. Tokaruk was a Senior Analyst in BDC’s Business Restructuring Unit, where he worked closely with business owners and their senior management to help guide their organizations through financial, operational, and other unique challenges. Matthew held previous roles at the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRAO), Canada Life Assurance Company, and Grant Thornton LLP.
Matthew Tokaruk holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) from the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. He is a CPA, CA, and CFA Charterholder.
Varun Bhardwaj CFA, CAIA, BBA
Senior Director, Corporate Private Debt
As a Senior Director, Mr. Bhardwaj participates in all aspects of Fiera Private Debt’s investment activities with a primary focus on origination, diligence, and monitoring of investments.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt in July 2019, Varun Bhardwaj worked at Integrated Asset Management Corp. with the Private Debt Group since 2015. Previously, he spent two years in pension consulting, advising defined benefit and defined contribution plans on capital market expectations, pension liabilities, and asset management.
Mr. Bhardwaj holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.
Elliott Venessy joined Fiera Private Debt in 2019 and became a member of the Corporate Private Debt Team in 2021. As a Director, he is responsible for origination, deal structuring, financial analysis, and portfolio management. Previously, he held the position of Associate Director, where he was responsible for supporting the team in analyzing new financial transactions, assessing risk and credit structure, and monitoring the portfolio.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt, Mr. Venessy spent three years in alternative investments as a Financial Analyst with exempt market dealer Quintal & Co. Financial Services. In this role, his responsibilities included financial modeling of renewable energy projects, as well as managing client and investor relationships.
Elliott Venessy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management from Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, and a Master’s degree in Applied Finance with a specialization in Portfolio Management from from the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Reda Tahlaoui MSc
Associate Director, Corporate Private Debt
Reda Tahlaoui joined Fiera Private Debt in August 2022. As an Associate Director, he is responsible for deal structuring, financial analysis, as well as portfolio management.
Prior to joining Fiera Private Debt, Mr. Tahlaoui worked at Laurentian Bank Financial Group as part of the Business Development Team. Previously, he spent six years at the European Investment Bank, where he was responsible for the analysis, due diligence and monitoring of private debt investments, and was also assisting in origination and co-investment efforts. Earlier in his career, Mr. Tahlaoui worked for four years in multiple investment banks advising clients on ECM/DCM mandates in emerging markets.
Reda Tahlaoui holds a Master of Science in Global Banking and Finance from Regent’s University in London (United Kingdom).