Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

David and Natasha Sharpe, of Bridging Finance Inc. are photographed in the company's downtown Toronto offices on April 11 2019.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The husband and wife duo who ran Bridging Finance Inc. are no longer with the company after its receiver terminated chief executive officer David Sharpe and chief investment officer Natasha Sharpe.

A week ago, Bridging Finance was placed under the control of a receiver, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, following allegations that the money manager improperly used investor funds to benefit some of its founders and executives. At the time, Mr. Sharpe was suspended from his role and Ms. Sharpe remained with Bridging.

The Ontario Securities Commission is still investigating the matter, but PwC is not waiting for its full findings and has removed Mr. Sharpe and Ms. Sharpe from their respective roles.

Story continues below advertisement

Opinion: Bridging receivership highlights the risks in private-debt investing

“The decision of the receiver is regrettable but not surprising,” Mr. Sharpe wrote in an e-mailed statement. “Notwithstanding our termination, we will cooperate with the receiver to the extent possible in the interests of investors while we address the OSC’s misguided allegations.”

Ms. Sharpe remains a co-owner of Bridging, holding a 42 per cent stake in the private debt manager.

The OSC also disclosed Friday that the scope of its investigation is widening, with the watchdog probing to see if some Bridging officers and directors, including Mr. Sharpe, perpetrated a fraud on unitholders. The OSC is also looking into whether certain officers made misleading or untrue statements to the regulator.

The OSC originally alleged that Bridging misappropriated $35-million from an investment fund it manages to complete an acquisition for its own benefit; that Mr. Sharpe received $19.5-million into his personal chequing account from a client to whom Bridging had lent more than $100-million; and that Bridging lent $32-million to a borrower two weeks before the same borrower bought a 50-per-cent stake in Bridging.

The regulator is also investigating to see if Bridging failed to make complete or timely disclosure of these issues to investors.

Full details of the OSC’s original request for receivership have not been made public, but the regulator has said its probe and putting the company under control of PwC is “necessary to protect investors from serious and ongoing harm and is in the public interest.”

In an exclusive interview with the Globe this week, Mr. Sharpe acknowledged that Bridging needs to beef up its investor disclosures, but added that he was mystified by the move to put his company under the control of a receiver. “The need to put in a receiver is perplexing,” he said. “We are stunned by this.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Sharpe said he found out Bridging was being put into receivership last Friday around 10:30 p.m., the day after he was interviewed at length by an OSC forensic accountant and an OSC lawyer about a complex web of payments and loans between Bridging, some major borrowers, and himself. The interview was his second extensive examination with the OSC in six months

Bridging, which specializes in private debt and manages roughly $2-billion in assets, has exploded in growth since it was founded in 2012. The money manager got its start providing alternative lending, known as bridge loans, to middle-market companies considered too risky for traditional bank financing. Much like other private-credit lenders, Bridging has attracted many high-net-worth investors who are hunting for yield in an era of low interest rates.

The OSC’s probe is ongoing but the regulator said it has uncovered “serious misconduct” in connection with Bridging loans to three different borrowers, each worth more than $100-million. In two cases, the OSC has alleged money flowed directly to Mr. Sharpe and his wife, Natasha, who co-owns Bridging with road paving magnates Jenny Coco and Rock-Anthony Coco, after investors’ funds were advanced.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies