Jeff Mills, Global Head of Investor Relations at RCF

Interview with RCF Managing Director, Global Head of Investor Relations, Jeff Mills

Jeff Mills is a Managing Director at RCF and Global Head of Investor Relations. Jeff joined in May 2016 and is responsible for managing the communication with all of RCF’s investors.

I knew RCF to be a leading firm in the private equity space through a number of different limited partner relationships; and when I learned about the company’s desire to have its first Investor Relations professional, I jumped at the opportunity. I had previously worked in a number of third party and in-house marketing roles, and the thought of building up an Investor Relations group in a formalised fashion, was what attracted me to join and to take on the role.

Jeff’s day to day role involves interacting with more than 100 investors from different geographies, with the majority based in North America, some in Europe and in Asia.

I am responsible for all client interactions between RCF and its investors. The conversations held with investors cover a variety of topics including RCF’s current portfolio and understanding the information needs of our investors. The ultimate goal is helping our limited partners by making their interactions with RCF efficient and informative.

My expertise is in private equity investor relations and although I wasn’t that familiar with the mining industry before joining RCF, I must say that I have found it an invigorating challenge to be working with the team here. The resources industry has a key role in the economy and in the world more broadly and the expression “It’s either mined or grown” is very accurate. Every single day we are using something that has been mined. This is probably intuitive for someone in Australia, where we have our Perth office, but it’s not necessarily so to someone based in North America.

With the new role in place at RCF, Investor Relations has a more centralized function now.

Before I joined RCF, the Investor Relations role was primarily managed by James McClements, Ross Bhappu and other colleagues. It was a shared function across a number of people and RCF wisely decided that they needed a person to handle this on a regular basis and in a more formulaic manner. By creating this role for me, RCF now has a centralized function and I like to think that I have brought some fresh ideas on how to interact with investors.

Jeff has travelled extensively during the last eight months in order to meet with a broad number of RCF’s Limited Partners.

During the last eight months I have been travelling to meet with our investors and to better understand how we can work with them and help answer all their questions and needs. I have been working on a number of really interesting projects over the last year and engaging with all our investors, taking the opportunity to share the RCF story and explaining how we are working to source portfolio companies and create value for them. As we are private equity focused, the commitment from investors is over a number of years and not just a short term investment opportunity. All of our investors are here for the medium to long term which we believe makes us a more attractive source of capital. Given the term of commitment from our investors, open and frequent engagement and communication is key.

In terms of other mining private equity funds, there are only a handful.

There definitely aren’t many private equity firms that specialize in mining, especially relative to more traditional PE firms. I expect that this will change overtime as funds that specialize in mining become more common practice. However, this shows that there is an opportunity to help with educational engagements with the investor community explaining what mining focused private equity is, how we do it and why it works for portfolio companies.

The people and the technical expertise is what sets RCF apart

Since joining, what was immediately clear from the start was the great group of people at RCF. Everyone has a very positive attitude, wanting to help grow and develop the portfolio companies. As a new member of the team, I was immediately drawn towards the open, collegial environment and the culture here.

In my view people make a significant difference in a business, especially in both mining and private equity. The team at RCF has the right perspective about working hard and keeping key stakeholders needs at the forefront of their mind. This is the biggest differentiator across the board of any organization.

It’s also great to see colleagues who are really passionate about what they do. My colleagues are specialists, many are engineers, geologists, metallurgists or other mining specialists; they are experts by nature, in fact some are so passionate about mining they not only do it as a job but also in their spare time as a hobby. There are many people in the firm who work Monday to Friday and then spend their Saturday and Sunday looking for new projects and checking out different rock samples. Mining is a genuine passion here.

Prior to joining RCF in May 2016, Jeff held positions in fundraising and client services at various private equity firms.

I had been working in a role similar to this one for the last 15 years. I have worked with groups that started from investment banks to third party marketing firms. I was recently the Managing Director at Brooklands Capital Strategies, a division of TPG and Ares Management. Prior to that, I was the Head of Investor Relations and Marketing at Oak Hill Capital, and I started in the industry at global investment bank Probitas Partners.

I have worked in a variety of functions doing both primary, secondary and structured transactions, portfolio updates and client services, and I now have the chance to transfer some of this knowledge gained into my current role.

Jeff holds a B.S. degree in Mathematical Economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.B.A from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. After graduating from the United States Military Academy, he served in the United States Army as an aviation officer.

The Army is, of course, somewhat different from private equity but there are so many similarities to Investor Relations. Investor Relations is very much about clear communication, being disciplined and organised and always putting others’ needs ahead of yours. Many of these skills are very common in the army and they are certainly well suited in Investor Relations.

Jeff has lived in various cities and met his wife during his time in the army. They now have two kids and are based temporarily in San Francisco.

I am from Western Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. I was raised there and then went to university in New York. I then spent seven years in the US army and was stationed in New York, Alabama, South Korea, Colorado, Arizona and then Kentucky and Tennessee. While stationed in Colorado I met my wife — that’s our family connection to Colorado outside of RCF’s Denver office.

I have two sons who keep me very busy, one is 13 and the other one is 10. We spend a lot of time together, supporting them in their sports and hobbies, which is what I really enjoy doing in my spare time.