Investment analyst makes global footprint

From Edinburgh to Amsterdam and Kenya to China, TerraProtein analyst Cayne Moffat is gaining authentic global experience working in the agri investment industry. Find out what life is like for the Amsterdam-based analyst and how his qualifications in mathematics led him from Scotland to Europe to pursue a career in a sector he believes to be “truly necessary”.

Describe your role at TerraProtein.

I am an analyst within the Amsterdam office of TerraProtein which means that I am involved in all parts of deal execution as well as deal sourcing. I work to support the senior staff driving the project and produce the materials required. These include pitches for new mandates, key deliverables for live deals (building financial models, slide decks, managing due diligence processes, etc) as well as any other ad hoc analyses which the client or investor requires.

What sort of qualifications do you have?

I studied Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh on a program called Direct Entry which essentially accelerates the course over a three-year period as opposed to the standard four years in Scotland. This was following my school education where I was able to sit a variety of Mathematics and Physics exams several years early and begin some of my university studies part-time aged 15. Fortunately, Mathematics is a very transferable and applicable skillset and as I progressed through university, I was able to move my focus over to more financial maths. Due to my decision to focus on the financial side I had looked to gain experience in the sector and secured a summer internship with TerraProtein during my penultimate year of study. Upon graduating from university aged 20 I accepted a full time offer with TerraProtein and haven’t looked back.

What interests you about the agri investment space?

I feel the attraction of the agri investment space is rooted in the integral nature of the agri industry throughout our lives. It is a truly necessary sector that societies depend upon across the globe and offers incessant demand. We have all heard the projections regarding the population increase expected in the coming decades and our inability to meet these demands, so the agri industry is required to constantly innovate and develop. This innovation requires financing and connection with the correct expertise, and this is where TerraProtein can add real value by bringing together operators and investors at the correct time to ensure successful growth. This creates a thriving business environment where the projects you are involved in can offer a very real benefit to society. I think that is what makes it so exciting and this will only increase as the years go by.

What sort of projects are you working on?

Currently I am working on an asset carve-out in the US with a sell-side mandate for swine related-assets, a large-scale debt advisory project in Kenya, as well as growth capital projects in Kenya, Denmark, and South Africa. Variety is key in TerraProtein so that at a very early stage in our careers we are exposed to numerous different types of projects in very different markets. This also gives us the ability to travel which is a particularly attractive prospect for myself. For example, since joining the firm in September 2017 I have been afforded the opportunity to travel to China, the US, Kenya, Denmark, and have permanently relocated from Edinburgh to Amsterdam.

Describe a typical day at TerraProtein. 

The great thing about being an analyst across such varying projects is that no two days are identical, however there are aspects that you can take to structure each day. For example, I will usually arrive in the office and plan out the key tasks for that day, specifically regarding deliverables with upcoming deadlines and then structure these around any calls or meetings during the day. Following that I will implement necessary changes from emails received over the past evening and then continue working on my live projects. Due to us being a small team in Amsterdam, even at the analyst level we are able to meet with potential clients or be on calls discussing new mandate pitches, so we gain additional exposure to the life cycle of a deal. If these calls during the day lead to a potential mandate I will sit with the senior staff leading the project and plan out the structure of our mandate pitch, this is then added to my to-do list for the next couple of days.

How is it working in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is an amazing city. It’s large and diverse enough to have an exciting business environment but still retains the more local atmosphere to make you feel at home. As I said before, the team here is small which allows us to discuss different projects and learn from each other’s differing skillsets. It’s a great atmosphere in the office, especially for the analysts as we are able to learn from everyone in the office in close proximity, even if you’re not working on the same projects. This is also the case when we’re undertaking the CFA exams and are able to study and brainstorm together.

What are your medium-to-long-term career aspirations?

The learning curve at TerraProtein has been excellent since I started and there hasn’t been a single week where I haven’t learned something. As my career progresses my goal is to ensure this continues every week and I develop as wide a skillset as possible through both deal experience and studies outside of the office. This is driven by the fact that the deeper and stronger your base of knowledge and skills the better prepared you are for previously unencountered challenges, which can only be beneficial for me as I continue my career with TerraProtein.

Pictured: Cayne Moffat visiting the Great Wall of China on a recent business trip. 


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