The Impact of Cultural Fit on Mergers and Acquisitions
Throughout the years, Westwood has completed multiple acquisitions. All have been in collaboration with the firm's owners and focused on delivering positive outcomes for employees, clients, and our combined businesses.
Trevor Garfield, Director, Mergers and Acquisitions, joined our team in 2022 and has been instrumental in helping the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) team reach their strategic goals and grow the organization. Trevor began his career in investment banking as an analyst for two years before transitioning to an associate role in the private equity industry for over four years.
As an investment banking analyst, Trevor learned the basics of M&A, capital markets, financial modeling, and strategic advisory. When he transitioned to an associate role in the private equity industry, he was involved in the underwriting of various private equity and private credit investments. Trevor built on the foundation provided by his years in banking while also becoming more familiar with things like the Limited Partner and General Partner universe, investment underwriting, deal and document negotiation, and portfolio company management from the fund perspective. He says, "Both were great opportunities. I draw from those experiences every day; they're incredibly helpful for my role at Westwood."
Analyzing Culture, Financial, Strategic, & Operational Fit
For our team, Trevor brings a strong network of connections from the financial services industry. He also uses the skills he gained in his prior roles to support deal execution and is actively involved on a day-to-day basis with sourcing, negotiation, and underwriting. Trevor brings energy every day he comes to work. He says, "I enjoy the entrepreneurial side of my role and the full support we have from our executive team and board of directors to search for the right partners. It is fun to put deals under the microscope with an operator's lens attached, analyzing culture fit first alongside financial, strategic, and operational fit."
From the start, Trevor was eager about his role and the support he could provide to the M&A team. He notes, "M&A is exciting because it moves the needle of the organization every day. Under Aaron Tippie's leadership, our team has helped to write the strategic playbook for Westwood's inorganic growth. It is energizing to be in the front seat and see the positive impact it has and will continue to have on this growing organization. Each member of our organization is a valuable contributor, and the M&A team is excited to support and empower that."
The Best Decisions Aren't Only About Return on Investment
The nature of our organization is that of a people-first business. When the M&A team meets with potential partners, cultural fit is in every manner as crucial as the strategic, operational, and financial considerations.
To understand a potential partner's culture, the M&A team works to build trust through many conversations and various touch points with the other team’s leaders. The team works diligently to ask the right questions; they have to be hyper-selective in the evaluation process. Every detail and nuance relating to a holistic fit is important as they progress forward with new potential partners. Trevor says, "We will not rush the process. We want to ensure all factors align internally and externally as we determine the best ways to move forward on any given discussion."
Overall, the team's approach to mergers and acquisitions will always focus on delivering positive outcomes for our employees, our clients, and the combined businesses. Trevor’s goal is to protect Westwood’s great culture while supporting our growth. “It starts with our team, our vision, and our five core values. If we keep those in mind throughout the lifecycle of any transaction, our organization will only benefit.” Trevor says. He concludes, “This is a fantastic organization to be a part of, and we are fortunate to be here now at the ground level. It’s going to be fun to see where we go. There is a lot on the horizon we can all look forward to.”