Brookfield-backed BFIN closes Asia offices amid restructuring

Former global head of Brookfield’s private funds group Leo Van den Thillart has been brought on board as CEO to lead the business.

BFIN, a global real assets investment advisory firm and a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, has closed four of its five offices in Asia-Pacific amid the company’s new restructuring plan, PERE can reveal exclusively.

The firm first established its Asia operations as a capital introduction business in 2012 but started shuttering its offices in the region last year. It is understood that it first closed down its India office in June 2019, followed by its Singapore office in February, Hong Kong office in March and Australia office in May. Two sources close to the situation told PERE that the firm made the decision to consolidate its Asia operations into one regional office in South Korea.

PERE can reveal that the company is in the midst of expanding its offerings, footprint and team under the new leadership of chief executive officer Leo Van den Thillart, who took on the role in September. Prior to joining BFIN, Van den Thillart was a managing partner at Brookfield Asset Management and the global head of Brookfield’s private funds group. Having worked at Brookfield for almost 11 years, the private equity veteran was instrumental in building out the global marketing strategy, fundraising and product development of Brookfield’s private funds.

Despite being owned by Brookfield Asset Management, BFIN operates as an independent financial advisory business, according to LinkedIn. Currently, it has offices in Toronto, New York, London, Munich and Seoul. It provides services on M&A, debt and equity placement, project finance, asset brokerage and structured transactions in real assets.

The firm declined to reveal the details of the restructuring plan but told PERE: “BFIN continues to have a meaningful presence in Asia and is committed to serving and growing its client base in the region. The firm will have more to share on its strategy and growth plans for the region in the new year.”