Transcript of Interview with
Brian Thomas, Managing Director – Energy Finance, Prudential Private Capital
Interviewer, Tim Pawul (TP)
Interviewee, Brian Thomas (BT)
TP: Brian, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for doing this. So, you know we have had you involved in our events for years, you always have great comments to share on what PRU is doing both in Canada and the US. Before we jump into that can you have a very brief walkthrough on your career, where you grew up University, etc. Just to paint some context for everyone who is listening.
BT: I wasn’t expecting a “This is your lifetime conversation…” But um, my background’s a little bit different. I always tell people, I was a military brat. So, I was born overseas, spent a good portion of my life in places like Japan and Italy before making my way back to the US and ending up in Houston of all places. But I spent my formative years in Texas, I'm married a Texan so I am one by proxy. In got my undergrad here in Austin, and then worked in banking for a few years before and taking my two year vow of poverty and going back to grad school, and then making my way to Prudential Capital, which at that time, was a hybrid investment group where they were spending, you know, a good portion of time on corporate finance and then energy and there's a number of individuals that I worked with and recruited me to come with them that made their way back into the energy industry. But it is an asset class, it is always had a large presence within PRU’s private investment activity. And so, you know, at that time, it allowed me to work within a group that was kind of investing across the energy value chain. So as opposed to being a pure play or sub spec sector specialists within a single form of capital, it was more of a merchant banking model that allowed us to evaluate deployment of senior junior, you know, structured equity, etc., you know, across upstream, midstream, regulated assets, now people call it infrastructure but back then we just called it pipelines. Nonetheless, you know, 1995 seems like a long time ago to start, but that's kind of the timeframe we are working with here.
TP: Yeah, as we kind of talked about Prudential’s, oil & gas portfolio and general strategy, it will be interesting for you to kind of touch upon how that has evolved from 95’ to today. I mean, how has it evolved with the industry's evolvement with the cycles. That could be an interesting thing, right? Because we're in a very different world than we were pre-shale, you know, it was $10 oil, or give or take at the end of the 90s where we're in a similar place now, right. Any parallels you can draw would be interesting.
BT: Yeah, I mean, I think in some ways, the fact that our platform stayed durable was more a function of the structure that allowed us to kind of pivot to what area we felt like was the most stable during that period of time. And then also not being married to a single form of capital, because it's, you know, through cycles and through both industry cycles, as well as a company's growth cycle form of capital that they need that's relevant to their business plan evolves. And so this always allowed us to be perhaps maybe a bit more objective in our workings with management teams as they were going from some sort of nascent idea to securing a resource base to exploiting it to growing it to, you know, some of the Canadian relationships we've had going public, getting bored with being public, selling, retiring, getting bored with being retired, starting all over again, so many management teams we've worked with for actually two or three or four platforms over the last three decades, but it goes through cycles, and each time it feels like that moment is going to last forever and I think the industry finds a way to kind of evolve and become relevant again. And Prudential is getting to a position where it can attract capital and reward the capital that is deployed in the in the field.
TP: And quick, you had mentioned that when you joined, oil and gas and energy in a broader terms has always been a significant part of Prudential’s private investment portfolio. Just for context, what are the assets under management for Prudential? What is the energy bit of Canada versus US split? Just so we can kind of get some feel on scale?
BT: Yeah, I will have to clarify that because there is, you know, obviously, when we talked about that we were supposed to be specific as relates to the actual date in question. But, you know, we the portfolio, you know, collectively all forms of energy is probably, you know, north of $16 billion. It is a material percentage of the overall private allocation. And that, you know, you can subdivide it as much as you want. You want to talk about conventional energy, do you want to talk about, you know, the power platform with renewables that we have as well, that we all kind of deploy out of a single group. The goal is to try and maintain what we view is kind of a holistic view of the of the broader energy markets and an allocate capital to where we think it makes sense folks to trust their money with us. The conventional energy, which is the upstream / midstream side has historically been about half that mix. We have more deployed in Canada right now, at least as it relates to upstream, than the lower 48. But part of that is just because over the last three plus decades, we have always been a relationship-based investor and that does not mean we do not do analytical rigor and make adult decisions. It means we look for management teams and ownership groups that value the relationship and the trust and candor that comes with that as much as they do, you know, cost of capital and access to capital and you know, when times are good that those relationships don't matter a whole lot. It is actually times such as what we're experiencing right now is where, you know, they're they're looking to draw upon that bank account of trust. And if they had not spent the years kind of building it up, there is not much there to work with. And so, the Canadian energy market has always been one where we've had very close working relationships with management teams. Also, the Canadian markets historically have not done as much in the public debt markets. They have relied more on institutional capital, on the private basis to kind of fill that void in addition to their bank relationships, and occasionally public equity. And so, in some ways, we like the relationships in that market, but it is also the landscape of how that sector has accessed capital, that has really been a good fit for institutional institutional money. We've seen increasingly I think that trend work back its way into the lower 48 as some of the traditional forms of capital that, you know, US based companies have relied on have contracted and in some that may be temporaral and some of that may be maybe a long term secular issue, but one way or another, we hope to stay relevant.
TP: I remember in the past few years, Canada has been challenged for quite some time in terms of sourcing capital, and you said that Prudential is able to step in and kind of bridge that gap from commercial lending that dried up or been closed off to a lot of juniors and then you can kind of be the facilitator of the capital stack in a way. Can you talk about that a little bit in a little bit more detail? And then you said it is trickling down to lower 48, maybe some examples at a high level of how that is starting to play out as well.
BT: Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, you know, our group, we view ourselves as a partnership advisory role, our advice is certainly free. We are meant to be complimentary capital, we are not change agents, right. So, in some ways, we are looking for US companies that are already well run and moving in the right direction. So if we're not control oriented equity, we're not and we're also not public style, you know, lenders with a simply just looking for the best relative value return, but in many instances they're just parking capital until there's a better option. The key is that you know, you must have access to senior debt, junior debt, occasionally equity, so that you can look at situations and really evaluate what is necessary for that company. One of the holes that we had in our portfolio of capital for many years was just a larger amount of floating rate capital. And we have increasingly expanded that mandate under our direct lending program, which is becoming more common across the institutional market as the bank market pulls back and institutional capital providers can fill that void. It's certainly not the same cost of capital that, you know, the traditional conforming commercial bank market might otherwise be lending to, but it's certainly competitive relative to what presumably would otherwise be paying to issue equity or some other form of capital. And so, you know, as the bank market has contracted, some of that is just managing their risk relative to the last cycle, some of that is regulatory driven. Some of that is as mentioned before is, you know, in response to kind of ESG related conversations that they are having with their investors, someone has got to fill the void. And you know, we are trying to do so in a thoughtful manner. So, in some deals, we are coming in with junior capital, some instances were coming in with both the senior and the junior capital to fill out the entire gap stack. But it's done in a way that to the extent the company, usually it's an M&A related event or something that's a singular event that we envision the company will grow to a size through drilling and development to kind of migrate back to conforming bank facility. So it's all largely constructed so that, you know, the company isn't necessarily held hostage by capital structure, but rather, the tenor and the form of that capital is designed to kind of fit that stage of the company's life to where they grow and develop to a point where perhaps maybe we either introduce a different form of capital may be just going a little senior or perhaps allowing them to migrate back to the bank.
TP: When you guys start to come in and fill the void of the banks when you bring in other investors are these institutions that have an a long track record in oil and gas or are they a bit newer, and how do you think they're going to react to what we're going through right now? I mean, the general consensus is there were a lot of investments made, particularly in the lower 48, on tier 2, tier 3 rock that is uneconomic at a lower price point and is likely not going to be bid on, is going to have to go into blow down and, and just kind of produce out because the capital markets aren't there actually being reinvested, it'll only flow to those tier one assets, at least until demand return supply contracts a bit and there's a reset in the market and oil prices go higher that allow these tier two, tier three assets to come back online. Do you think there's going to be enough carnage on the capital market side where some of those players that you saw kind of fill the void for banks say, “no way that this has been too painful”, either it's their first foray, and there's too much recent pain to do it again, or it's been multiple decades and they pivot away from it, because there's the returns haven't been there comparative to other sectors that might be out there.
BT: Are you trying to turn me into a futurist? Yes. Yes, that is the answer. You know, the challenge is, you know, Tim, and you have seen it before… I mean, you know, this is an old sector, right? There are no new ideas. You know, people act like there's new ideas, but it is really just a retread of stuff that was done the last cycle. It is vogue again, and correspondingly with, with capital, you know, there is not many barriers to entry. And so invariably, there's going to be that universe of money that views it as a great time to kind of jump in because it's a beaten down sector and, you know, it's the relative value is appealing and, etc., etc. The challenge it's a little different this time, because that that was what we saw happen after the 2015/16/17 cycle where there was a challenged sector and money did flow in, but there was an active M&A market, there was a lot of opportunities for people to exit through means other than simply just actually cash flow from production. And we just have not been seeing that. And so that is going to be I think, a gating item that will probably create some higher degree of caution for new money making its way in. The other is just the cost of returns. The practical reality is the sector has not done anyone any favors, you know that comic strip, you know, Pogo, where he says “we have met the enemy and he is us”. I mean, a lot of the problems a sector has kind of created through, you know, technology and the growth and production, which is great, except in a commodity market, right, we have to have supply and demand balance. And so, too much of a good thing…. isn't. So, you know, I think that the challenge is, is that you're going to have some folks that were in, got in and have not had results anywhere close to what they had before. And if they do not have the willpower to perhaps pull back, the money that they raised, is going to have a voice at the table and be instructing them as well. Because at the end of the day, the people you see deploying capital, whether it's the large equity funds or large institutional money, we all live on bended knee to right. We have to raise money behind the scenes, and we have to be responsive deliver results to the institutions that sleeve their capital through us as well. And so those conversations and those investment results are going to inform how capital is deployed. And so if you look at the future of energy, we look forward, 60% of you know, global consumption is still going to be some form of fossil fuel for the foreseeable future, you know, in the 2040s and 50s, at least for the EIA, or the IEA, or whatever acronym you want to use, spit out their forecasts. And so, the cost of capital, we should say the return on capital have to kind of rise to whatever level is needed to attract the money that is needed to develop these resources. But right now, they are still in that phase where people are trying to decide more about how they get their money back over what they earn on the money they deploy. And so, I think it is going to create some friction for money making its way back into the sector in the time being.
TP: You know, we did an episode with Adam Waterous and his theory was… there has been a structural change in the industry, in that, companies have more drilling inventory than they can possibly develop in the foreseeable future nor do they have the capital, you know, you look at statistics like, one company alone in the Permian needs $20 billion to develop all their inventory. So that is just not feasible, right… And he said, in the past, pre-shale revolution, pre-fracking technology, everything like that, there was “the age of scarcity” he coins it as, companies always were, it was harder to drill successfully than it was to acquire good reserves and production. And so, you had a healthy M&A cycle because of that. And now that M&A demand has eroded and in his eyes, it is not coming back. At least from an investor's standpoint, you cannot plan on it coming back. And if it does, great, you get an extra pop on the exit. If you were to go on that string of thought, and it is more of a produce out, get your money through cash flow distributions through the companies you invest in, scale has to be important, right? Economies of scale to drive down costs. And so, when you look at a junior market, and I know the junior market in Canada has been challenge for a very long time, you know, last three, four years and it's very much gone away. I know you guys have invested in a lot of juniors. So, as we get into that world, what does that mean if those juniors cannot get an exit? Is there still a role for the junior or do you think they just disappear over the next few years?
BT: Well, I hate always talking in absolutes, I mean, it makes for, you know, pithy commentary, but I think there always be a role for juniors they may not be a role for as many juniors as we have today. And so Corporate Darwinism will run its course and you'll see mergers, whether voluntarily or forced.. You know I've heard the term “Smash Co” now recently used by a number of folks as it relates to how private equity is going to manage the portfolio's that they have. You know, if you cannot create value through the drill bit, at least in current markets and commodity prices are not constructed, the only thing you can do, obviously, is lower costs. And so, G&A is certainly a target there, field level scale of operations, cost efficiencies are certainly target there. And, you know, the great thing about oil and gas companies is personnel wise, they are kind of tiny. And you know, oil and gas wells do not have HR issues, right. You can merge fields and not have to, you do not have those issues. So, you can, it is a little bit like Asset Management on the money side, right? You can, you can manage a lot of stuff with the same as you can a small amount of assets. And so, I think invariably, there will be some consolidation. But as you know, anytime you have these mergers and consolidations within the sector, there's also stuff that just gets shook loose. And that's the role of the juniors right, to kind of feast on the crumbs that are kind of knocked off the table and find value where other folks simply just don't have the time or the inclination to try and create it because it's just too small for them to kind of marshal the resources to focus on it. So that is how this industry works. I just think we are going through the cycle quite honestly, where I am in some ways if the capital gains of it is off the table, what are you left with? It motivates you to put money to work in the field and that is really yield. And so that's sometimes kind of myself and my contemporaries are across the sector kind of muse on, you know, Friday over a glass of ranch water in terms of kind of, where are we and what does this feel like? And it kind of feels like the 80s. And you are getting back to a market where cash yield is going to be the catalyst for attracting capital. And I think a lot of activities are going to be more project oriented and focused on here is my dollar, what are you going to do with my dollar? How do I get this dollar back? And what is the effective cash yield on doing so, and not focusing on these serendipitous, you know, M&A events to monetize your investment and get a premium based on potential for future drilling.
TP: Do you think the scale of dollars raised particularly in private equity is going to remain or do you think that dials back, because if you look at a lot of private equity funds that emerged in the 90s and into the 2000s, they were not of the scale they are today in the multi billions, right. And the commitments to companies were much smaller sub hundred million dollars. Today it is not that outrageous to see 100/ 250/ $500 million commitment to a single management team, because it is more asset by asset project specific. Do you think we go back, like you said, there's no new ideas that we go back to the smaller, more development type capital versus these larger commitments, putting these big stories together, because we kind of know where the good stories are, and it's just getting rifle shot on them, from a development standpoint?
BT: It feels like there is that trend, and I do not want to speak in absolutes. There are some equity funds that have managed to distinguish themselves through the carnage. But, you know, it is, it is getting to the point where I think it is hard to be big and also find attractive investments. And so we could see kind of a balkanization of private equity market where you get these, these groups that kind of fractionate like a rock band and those that have basically spin off and formed a smaller fund that allows them to focus on kind of a target investment range that's probably a little bit easier, not as competitive, you know, off the radar for corporate investors and/or other equity funds. And, you know, I think you will see that trend emerge. I do not want to say that's the trend, because I think that's an oversimplification of what's going on. I think a lot of the equity funds are scratching their heads trying to figure this out as well. You know, some of it is thoughts that they're having some of it quite honestly, is feedback that they're just getting from the institutional market that they raise capital from in terms of, you know, how do they respond to that market, and how do they, you know, pivot to attract capital because at the end of the day, in some ways, they're simply going to respond to whatever it takes to attract the capital needed to invest in a sector.
TP: And here is an idea, just food for thought… As you have private equity sponsors building their portfolios, let us just say, right now they have a handful of Permian folks, a hand handful in the Eagle Ford, they have positioned their pieces on the chessboard. And now you've kind of transitioned to a “Smash Co” type model where you have one Permian platform, one Eagle Ford, one Midcon, etc. And then you expand upon that and you say, ‘’Okay, I'm going to have a midstream piece in each of those basins, I'm going to have a minerals piece in each of those basins, a service piece’’, does it get to the point where you get because there's, it's very difficult to exit, you almost get lean enough to where the private equity portfolio itself could almost be a company. And then you start looking at an exit of the entire portfolio. And there is the economies of scale from that. And do they go public or are they able to compete now with some of these larger IOCs and Majors who have this immense advantage on this on the economies of scale, but, do you think that could ever get to that point, or is it just too complicated with all the moving parts internally?
BT: Well, I think you could do it and probably make money. I mean, the question you said could they go public, maybe. I mean, one thing public likes a scale. But what the other thing the public market likes is just simplicity. And so, you know, having a portfolio of assets that looks a bit like a dog’s breakfast is not going to kind of sell well in the public domain. But that is based on conditions as they exist today, right? I mean, if we get to the point where, you know, oil recovers, which we fully expect, well, it's just a function of when, not necessarily if, to a level that merits, you know, reinvestment, whether that's in the in the mid-50s, or something in that target range where the public might come back, maybe…. But, you know, again, I do not focus on that, because if that is your exit strategy, that's kind of a loser strategy. I think some of it will just come as a function of, you know, what you do to survive and what you do to be able to attract capital to help you develop the resources that currently aren't producing. Right. And then you get back to you get scale, you get economics, you able to attract capital to develop and produce, and then maybe you just get back to a dividend model. And yeah, it is it does not get you that one-time M&A event that allows you to kind of exit and go to the bank and deposit your check. But it's more like what we saw during the 80s and early 90s, where some of these companies are just like, ‘’Yeah, you know what, here it is, we're going to develop, we're going to produce, we're going to de lever and we're going to distribute’’. That is, I think, a model that you may see more of right now than not, not because it’s what people want to have happen. But it may be the only way people are able to begin to repatriate capital that they put to through the drill bit.
TP: What about, you touched on it briefly in the beginning of the conversation, the different players in the capital stack, having more of a voice at the table, especially in a time like this. It is already started to happen, creditors converting their debt into equity. They realize companies must be de levered to survive this. And just the behavior has been quite different, particularly on the bondholder side in restructuring bankruptcy processes then it was just recently in the years 2014-2016. Do they see the writing on the wall? Or is it just, “Hey what we did in 2014-2016 did not work, we just kicked the can down the road, nothing was really solved. We got to do something different”. Just kind of that behavioral shift.
BT: Yeah, I mean, I think this cycle is going to be deeper, and perhaps even a bit longer. I mean, lets set aside what we are experiencing at this very moment in time, which is kind of like, once in a lifetime, you know, demand destruction. In recall, a demand shock is always worse than a supply shock, right? Because a supply shock you can, with the short amount of time always find some more to kind of fill the void but a demand shock. You cannot just open your desk drawer and find 15 million of hidden demand. It is just something that the sector is going to have to adjust to. And for a lot of these companies, what is going to put them under is just an absence of liquidity. The reserves still have intrinsic value, but we have reached a price point where many of them are not worth extracting from the ground and selling, let alone pursuing in terms of developing. And so that's going to be that the issue I think, is the catalyst for more conversions, is just an absence of liquidity that bridges these companies to whatever the 12 month or 18 month cycle point is where underlying commodity prices recover to a point where the company can might actually contemplate drilling and maintaining its asset base. And so, if you're a debt investor in some of those instances, and you see that as your, your issue, you can try and hang on like we did in 2015 and 2016, on some of these deals, but you may just be depleting capital and watching it go out the door for interest expense and other things that aren't positioning the company for an ultimate recovery. And I think, perhaps, maybe in some of these instances, to the extent that these debt holders are, our feeling at least, is that the market price is so contango, that the value of the option of converting to equity and the prospective recovery, you know, 24/36 months forward is, is that much greater. I think it also is kind of a catalyst for that decision being made earlier versus later.
TP: Another question, and this kind of comes from, you can read various reports about this from a lot of the data houses out there, analytical houses, also just I know, internally, because we are stationed all over the world. We are starting to see interest from North American investors to look outside of North America, which was unfathomable in the last five years. It's like, you know, we'll do an event in Latin America or Asia or Africa, and you have these seasoned management teams are always coming up with these ideas based on their track record in these various regions and countries and, ‘’Hey, Tim, or Oil Council, do you know of any private equity investors looking at North Africa or Colombia’’, and the overwhelmingly regular response from investors in North America was, ‘’Why in the hell would I take on the above ground risks of international when I can eliminate those risks and invest in the Permian or other basins in the US and get such great returns?’’ Now that attitudes starting to change a bit, you know, it is probably the assets and the risk allocation being reset internationally to make it attractive enough to maybe take on those above ground risks. But have you seen any of that from your seat? I know you guys have primarily been US, Canada, you have done some stuff on the energy side in Mexico. I mean, have you thought about international or is it just maybe some competition’s leaving, and you have always had that long-sighted view to look into the headwinds and maybe you see past this, you know, like, this is a great time for us to maybe get some better value and we have less people to fight against.
BT: Our vantage point is, because when I hear that mindset from an investor, ‘’Well, we have always been North America focused because the above ground risk by political, regulatory, etc. is lower than International but now that that political and regulatory risk above ground is greater in the US, you know, international does not look so bad anymore”. Well, it does not mean the international come down, it just means that you are probably closer to risk parity. And I do not think that is a good compelling reason to suddenly go international. Right? If anything, it is just an argument for pulling back all together. We think that there's plenty of opportunities still in North America to focus on but we've always focused on being close to areas where we deploy capital, because we believe local familiarity with the resources and the management teams and the markets is central to our ability to thoughtfully deploy capital on a risk adjusted basis. So again, it is one of the reasons why even though Canada sent some challenges, some of them are the same as lower 48. Some of them are unique to Canada. Quite honestly self-inflicted by some of the activities we have seen in the Canadian markets, whether it is government or private sector, but it is still a market we know very, very well. And so I don't see us changing our bias, if anything, we are active internationally, but most of it is on infrastructure, midstream pipelines, LNG facilities, things that, you know, we can diligence and quite honestly, the economics are supported by commercial contract and not by you know, commodity markets and probably less prone to the challenges associated with expropriation or, or other things that you find were such in Mexico where the challenges of PEMEX have had been largely because while it's a corporate entity, it's largely viewed as an extension of government, and the resources it produces are largely viewed as owned by the people. So it makes it very challenging for third parties to come in there and feel confident that, you know, if they deploy capital, they'll be able to reap the full benefits of the rewards associated with the risk. Some of the challenges we found in working in international markets is your distribution of risk has two negative tails on it. You could lose money the old-fashioned way by just doing a bad deal or you could also lose money by doing too good of a deal and then all the local powers that be, decide that they did not cut a good enough deal. And so, they change the strike zone on you midway through your investment cycle. So, we are not Exxon, we are not a major that has some degree of sway in some of those, you know, governmental dialogues, we are just a role player. And so, we will focus on those areas that I think we feel like we have a better command of the risks, and some greater degree of control of those risks.
TP: You know, you look at storage being full or near capacity in North America right now. I know that is a function of COVID-19 just sucking demand out of the supply / demand curve globally. Do you think it is too much of a knee jerk reaction to say, let us invest in infrastructure, let’s invest in storage projects or do you think there is an appetite and a need for that in the next five years to where an institutional investor can it is a good investment decision.
BT: It is hard. I think certainly what it does is it, it is suddenly in the in the, in the eyes of the market, it restores the value proposition of access to storage. You know, the challenges is how do you deploy 30-year capital for a 12-month need? And so, I think there will be probably no shortage of people to think, ‘’Hey, this is great. Let us rush in’’. But you know, the song before the solution is built by simply just market forces. And so, you know, in the absence of additional storage, people are creating one wellbore at a time while they shut in production, clumsy, potentially damaging to a reservoir, but at least it's something that an operator can control. But you know, so what are people going to do when they want to build infrastructure, they are going to want contracts. No one's going to build large scale storage facilities on spec for the most part. So, who's going to be there to basically commit to the 7- or 10-year contract that's needed to motivate people to basically attract and deploy capital to build these assets. And I have no doubt there will be projects that are built on the margin. But that's the challenge that’s interesting, quite honestly, in any industry has when you're trying to basically solve, you know, an acute near term problem with, you know, an infrastructure investment that quite honestly requires 30 to 40 years to get your money back.
TP: Okay, no, fair… but I think you are correct. There will not be a shortage of people who show up, but do they end up jumping on the next shiny object and end up regretting it?
BT: Well, that's why people go into floating storage, right, you can lease a, you know, charter tanker for you know, 12 or 24 months, make money, release it to market again, and, you know, my swimming pool has 35,000 gallons. If I could, I'd probably empty it and use it for storage too, but I can't. So…
TP: Do you have any closing nuggets of wisdom that you want to bestow upon us lucky listeners?
BT: No, but honestly, I mean, it is this industry goes through cycles. I mean, this is certainly no exception. But it is not the same cycle as the last one. So, I think people looking to draw analogies sometimes are looking in the wrong direction. The practical reality though is an industry that is populated by optimists and entrepreneurs and clever people. And, you know, the invisible hand in the market usually finds a way to correct these things. It is not going to be a near term fix. And quite honestly, though, as I've talked with folks, as painful as it is, it could prove to be the very thing that helps this industry kind of fix itself in the next decade or two, as we bring supply and demand balances, you know, more closely aligned, and the business fundamentals basically move back to a better balance. The money will follow profits. It is not there today. But you know, quite honestly, again, if you look at the demographics for energy consumption, globally, for the next 30 years, it is difficult to imagine a world it does not involve this sector, in some level. So, the key is just kind of endeavor to persevere.
TP: Awesome. Brian, thanks again for everything. You know, my best regards to you and Callie and the rest of the PRU team stay safe and healthy. And I look forward to seeing you again. hopefully sometime soon. I know, I know, we struck out the last time we tried to get together up in Calgary. It was right when everything started to unfold with dinners and receptions getting canceled. But nonetheless, keep in touch and we will talk soon.
BT: You know, we appreciate the relationship we have with you and Alexandra and the balance of your team. It has been a good collaborative working relationship. I think you guys play an important role in the marketplace in terms of kind of, I always like to say, playing a little yenta, getting folks together and keeping the dialogue going and happy to help out as we can.
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