Cassie Boggs is the General Counsel at RCF. Cassie joined in January 2011 and is responsible for all legal matters involving RCF and all of its funds.
I joined RCF, succeeding its first General Counsel, Brian Dolan, to manage all the legal matters related to the management company and all of our funds. I am the head of the legal department which comprises eight people: five in Denver and three in Perth. In Denver, we have a Staff Counsel, the Chief Compliance Officer, a Compliance Analyst, an Executive Assistant for the whole group, and myself. In Perth, we have two senior lawyers who act as Legal Counsel, Australia, in addition to a EA/legal assistant.
As RCF is a Registered Investment Advisor, it is governed by US securities laws. Therefore, RCF needs a compliance function, and this is a function that continues to grow.
The Staff Counsel, Matt Thompson, and I predominately work with the deal teams out of North & South America, while investment work for deals generated out of our Australian office is the responsibility of the Australian Legal Counsel. As lawyers, we are involved in all of RCF’s investment deals, including assisting with legal and country due diligence, documenting the deals, and negotiations when required.
We have worked on a number of large deals, and a big part of my job has both a legal and business component to it. In addition, the legal group assists the finance, tax, HR and the COO on a variety of matters affecting the management company.
Cassie has a specific focus on country due diligence, political risk and corruption risks. She works hand in hand with the investment teams in these areas.
In addition to assisting the investment teams with legal due diligence, I also assess and assist in managing political and corruption risks, in part because of my background. I lived and practised law in a variety of jurisdictions, including Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Indonesia, London and Tanzania, so I have had practical experience in those and surrounding countries in identifying and assessing the types of risks that have the potential to impact our funds’ investments and RCF’s reputation.
Cassie was previously an international partner at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie, where she worked in the firm’s San Francisco, Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Chicago offices. She travelled extensively for work as her professional career has had a specific focus on the global natural resources sector.
Over the last 35 years, I have had the opportunity to work on a lot of natural resources related transactions all over the world, which has been a great job for a girl from Aurora, Colorado who thought her law practice was going to be focused only on the American West. I am a fifth-generation Coloradoan, and since Colorado has a long history of mining, it was very natural for me to start working within the natural resources space with a particular interest in mining. I was a partner at Sherman & Howard in Denver where I began my career before moving to Baker McKenzie, an international law firm with offices all over the world. The company asked me to assist with the opening of its office in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 1994, since much of the anticipated work would be for mining and oil and gas clients. From Kazakhstan, I then worked in Indonesia. Both Indonesia and Kazakhstan were big mining jurisdictions.
During my time at the firm, I learned a lot about different legal systems outside of North America, where the majority of business is done by the relationships people have as there is often no independent judicial system that people trust and the words in a contract are not necessarily always upheld. Therefore, my experience taught me a great lesson in understanding how people do business around the world.
After Baker & McKenzie, in 2005 Cassie joined Barrick Gold Corporation, moving from a lawyer role to a business role.
After Baker & McKenzie, I joined Barrick Gold as Vice President, Corporate Development, where I moved from a legal role to a business role. I was brought into their Corporate Development group to facilitate transactions, but my work expanded to assisting in the management of acquisitions and certain of the company’s assets.
When I was at Barrick Gold, we took over Placer Dome, and that’s when the firm became the largest gold company in the world. This was a huge transaction and a fascinating one.
I was also involved in negotiating agreements with the Government of Pakistan, and at one point, I was the CEO of our Pakistan Joint Venture, trying to develop a mining project, so I spent a year in Pakistan, living in Islamabad.
Back then, Barrick Gold was winding up its African assets to list them into a separate company. So for a period of time, I was the regional head of the African business unit, and from there I helped put together the listing of what became African Barrick Gold, now Acacia Mining. After that, I was its first General Counsel before I moved to Toronto, and then subsequently back to Denver.
Cassie joined RCF after having spent many years abroad, and the firm has grown significantly since she first joined.
My encounter with RCF was through Brian Dolan who was the previous General Counsel, and who introduced me to James McClements.
I was attracted to the firm as I saw private equity as a very interesting sphere. Private equity has transformed the resources sector by offering a new opportunity to raise capital in a different way than offered by banks.
RCF has more than doubled in size since I joined the firm. When I started, there were approximately 20 people in the Denver office and less than 50 people worldwide, while now there are over 50 in North America and more than 90 globally. Since I came on board, we have added an office in Santiago, and an office opened just before I joined in Toronto. So, in a relatively short space of time, RCF went from having three offices to five.
After many years abroad, Cassie was keen to get back to Denver.
Working at RCF was a chance for me to also come back to Denver after almost 20 years, which is where I am originally from.
I am a skier and an outdoor person, I love Denver’s weather, it has four seasons. The city is the right size, and it’s where I grew up. I’ve lived in a lot of great places, so when I thought of the place where I wanted to settle, Denver was home.
Cassie has an undergraduate degree (Economics) and a law degree from the University of Denver and a Masters degree in Resource Development from Michigan State University. Cassie is also a recipient of the prestigious Thompson G. Marsh Award from the University of Denver.
In the United States, you have to gain a four-year university degree before going into law. Afterwards, it’s three years of law school. My undergraduate degree was in Economics.
In November of last year, I was awarded the Thompson G.Marsh Award from the University of Denver. This was a great honor as it recognizes a law school graduate for their accomplishments. I am proud to be the first woman to receive this recognition.
Women in leadership positions
When I started practising law, 50% of the people I went to law school with were women. Not all of those people become partners in law firms, and there is a much smaller percentage of women who become partners in law firms. Certainly, in the mining and natural resources industry, you don’t come across as many women as you would in other fields. By the same token, when I practised in Indonesia most of the law firms were run by Indonesian women. While even Pakistan, which doesn’t have a society where women are at the forefront, appointed a woman Prime Minister earlier than many other countries in the world did. You don’t see as many women in the mining field, but personally, this has created a lot of opportunities for me.