Welcome to the OSPAR Consulting Ltd. "no-frames" website.

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        Contact OSPAR
        Disclaimer and Copyright

        Operational Consulting, summary
        Policies & Procedures
        Project Management
        Risk Management

        Strategic Consulting, summary
        Business Plans
        Project Development
        Market Research: Real Estate Forecasts


OSPAR Consulting Ltd. provides service on many more issues than are addressed on our website. Is there another topic that is not listed here about which you would like more information?

If you have a question that you would like to discuss, please contact us...

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Company Profile...

The name OSPAR is an acronym for "Operational Strategic Planning and Research". Consulting is a process of discovery, research, analysis, synthesis, discussion, and reporting.

The consulting process is straightforward, and the process is transferable to locations, industries, and assignments. OSPAR's clients often have the knowledge to handle the assignments themselves, but do not have the time or manpower. OSPAR is the vehicle that solves the problem of a company's limited resources.

OSPAR Consulting is managed with a strong belief in fiduciary responsibility to clients and their investments with a team-oriented, mentor management style.

Its principal, Ian R. Marcil, has a proven record of accurate forecasts, pro-active market calls, and reduced risk based on an empirical, analytical, innovative approach.

With twenty nine years of broad in-the-field, consulting, and management background across Canada and the United States, OSPAR has the knowledge, program, and contacts to provide effective, practical, and coherent deliverables that fulfill clients' requirements.

Experience & Accomplishments...

Consulting experience includes business plans, project management, strategic & operational research & planning, computer models, project development, commercial and residential construction, residential subdivision, and resort development.

Management experience includes portfolio management, portfolio valuation, client communications, regulatory compliance, risk reduction techniques, applied research.

Major accomplishments include:

Business Plans
Client Communications
Commercial Construction
Commercial Development
Financial Analysis
Governmental Authorities
Investment and Financial Consulting
Market Research
Mortgage Administration
Mortgage Origination
Mortgage Underwriting
Policy and Procedures
Project Management
Property Management
Real Estate Appraisal
Real Estate Brokerage
Real Estate Portfolio Valuations
Regulatory Compliance
Residential Construction
Residential Development
Resort Development
Site Selection & Acquisition
Strategic & Operational Planning
Strategic & Operational Research

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Ian R. Marcil...

is a Business Administration graduate of Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Canada, with further business studies at Université de Laval, Quebec City, and McGill University, Montreal. With twenty-nine years of individual, corporate, and institutional experience across the United States and Canada, Mr. Marcil provides information, innovation and insight in many aspects of consulting to public and private clients through his consulting firm, OSPAR Consulting.
Mr. Marcil has been active on industry committees for the Appraisal Institute of Canada, and the Institute of Canadian Real Estate Investment Managers. He can be contacted by e-mail at ian@marcil.net.

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Contact OSPAR

Toronto OSPAR Consulting,
Citibank Place, Suite 901,
123 Front Street West,
Toronto, Ontario,
M5J 2M2

Tel: 416.360.0122 ext.310

E-mail: ian.marcil@OSPARltd.com

Winnipeg Ian Marcil
119 Chataway Blvd.,
Winnipeg, Manitoba,
R3P 0A2

Tel: 204.488.3722

E-mail: ian.marcil@OSPARltd.com

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Disclaimer and Copyright...

Visitors to this website are advised that although efforts have been made to offer useful information, inadvertent errors can occur, and applicable laws, rules, and regulations often change.
The thoughts and information in this website are intended to raise interest and discussion and are not intended to serve as advice of any kind, including legal, investment, and valuation. If visitors to this website have questions or thoughts regarding the material in this website, they are encouraged to contact the author. The author disclaims any responsibility to visitors to this website relating to the material in this website. If visitors are seeking advice or require consulting services, they should contact OSPAR Consulting Ltd.
© 2001 OSPAR Consulting Ltd.. All rights reserved. No part of the text or graphics on this site may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from OSPAR Consulting Ltd.

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Operational Consulting, summary...

Owners, Directors, Trustees and Fiduciaries must ensure an "infrastructure" is in place which will secure and preserve their company and its investments, both for themselves as well as for the company's shareholders and clients.
The benefit of establishing such an "infrastructure" can not be over estimated. It provides clear direction, plans of action, and guidelines which will aid and guide staff at all levels.
"Infrastructure" is not only the roadmap that shows the way to attaining company objectives but also is the vehicle for the journey. At the same time, "infrastructure" steers the company around potentially damaging, if not crippling, situations that will inevitably arise along the journey.
A prime example is the real estate crash of the late eighties in which losses to owners, investors and pensioners was in the billions of dollars. The cost of developing and implementing "infrastructure" which prevents or mitigates damaging situations is less than the amount of the dollar rounding on most financial statements. Investing in "infrastructure" a fraction of the amount that is spent creating or acquiring value would secure and preserve those values, those assets, and the company itself.

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Policies & Procedures...

Running a successful business is difficult. Running a successful business without any guidelines is next to impossible. The best formula for ensuring their business and assets are skilfully acquired (or developed), managed, (and sold) is for Owners, Directors, Trustees and Fiduciaries to establish policies and procedures appropriate to their specific circumstances.
Policies and procedures should derive naturally from strategic and operational planning. Once the "mission" has been articulated, the policies and procedures must support and further the strategic plan. A set of clearly defined policies and procedures becomes the "Handbook" for operations.
The Handbook of Policies and Procedures would include such topics as:
The policies and procedures are intended to guide the day-to-day actions of staff who do not have constant contact/supervision, or who encounter unusual situations. To be useful, effective, and fair these guides must include (a) the policy statement, (b) the purpose for the policy, (c) the persons who are involved in the policy, (d) their duties, authorities and responsibilities, and (e) the procedures to be followed.
For example, a company that invests in real estate for its own account or on behalf of investors should have APPRAISAL policy & procedures that would include at least the following topics:

Policy Statement
" Every reasonable effort must be made to provide clients and investors accurate valuation information on each real estate holding. Part of this effort may include appraisals commissioned, performed, and booked according to a policy on appraisals."
The purpose of the appraisal policy is to:
  1. aid in determining the value of the interest(s) in properties;
  2. aid in operational and strategic planning for the individual properties;
  3. aid in strategic planning for the entire portfolio;
Valuation Officer
It is the duty of the valuation officer to ensure that:
  1. each employee is made aware of these policies, procedures and reporting requirements;
  2. the appraisal policy is implemented by the employees;
  3. a valuation file is maintained for each property;
The policy and procedures include explanations and examples on topics such as:
  • Intended Use and Purpose of the Appraisal
  • Internal versus External Appraisals
  • Appraisal Engagements
  • Appraisal Frequency
  • Approved Appraisers
  • Appraisal Diversification
  • Appraisal Rotation
  • Appraisal Standards
  • Disclosure of Property Conditions
  • Appraisal Adjustments
  • Approval of Appraised Values

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Project Management...

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Risk Management...

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Strategic Consulting, summary...

Why Strategic Consulting? Operational "infrastructure" assures that the company has clear direction, plans of action, and guidelines, but only Strategic Research and Planning will provide Owners, Directors, and Fiduciaries with a credible method for determining the direction and identifying the tools.
Strategic thinking is concerned with investigating the " big picture ", and uses empirical evidence and analytical investigation to determine why the company should be in business - what is the background, present, and future condition of the industry? - in what segment of the industry can the company play a role? - does the company have the requisite tools (capital, personnel, and other assets)? - what outcome can the company expect?
Using the previous example, while Operational research and planning would have helped owners, investors and pensioners grapple with the real-estate-related issues during the real estate crash of the late eighties, Strategic research and planning would have caused them to, first, ask questions about whether they should have been in the market at that time and with the type, quality, and amount of exposure to which they were exposed, and second, to develop plans for their assets, portfolios, and companies.
A company that invests in Strategic research and planning will have a clear vision, establish indispensable goals, and be capable of measuring performance.

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Business Plans...

Business Plans come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the need, preparing a Business Plan can take as little as a day or up to several months.
Business Plans are important for all companies, no matter their size, as even the act of preparing the Plan focuses the minds of owners and management on what they wish to accomplish, their state of readiness, their strengths/weaknesses and chances for success, and potential hazards.
A Business Plan is not only a vital management tool, but also an essential investment document. Typically, before investors (both debt and equity) commit funds to a project, they will want to see a formal Business Plan in order to ensure the company has a valid understanding of the industry, the market, and the niche in which it will be operating.
A Business Plan is considered so critical to a company's chance of success that Canadian Provincial and Federal governments may not only require that one be completed before they will support a project, but may also underwrite the cost of having one prepared.
There are many sources of good information on Business Plans. Excellent books and on-line assistance are available that explain the content and style of different types of Plans. The outline below is an example of a typical Plan.

Xxxx Inc. Business Plan

Xxxx is a medical research and testing firm specializing in "In Vitro" Diagnostics for infectious agents.


Table Of Contents

Executive Summary

I. Industry Analysis
A. Industry Size
B. Industry Growth
C. Standard Profit Margins
D. Major Players
E. Stand Channels of Distribution
F. Market Share
G. Trends and Forecasts
H. What Changes are Creating New Opportunities

II. Business Overview
A. Product/Services
B. Company History
C. Legal Structure
D. Owners
E. Short and Long Term Goals

III. Xxxx Inc. Service/Product Description
A. Who We Are
B. What We Do
C. Why What We Do is Special

IV. Management & Staff
A. Management Expertise and Background
B. Key Roles Crucial for Success
C. Other Roles and Responsibilities

V. Marketing Plan
A. Attributes that will "sell" the Product
B. How the Product will be Positioned
C. Distribution Channels

VI. Operations Plan
A. Company Structure
B. Company Operations, Present
C. Company Operations, Expansion Plans

VII. Financial Plan
A. Cash Flow Statement, Three Year Forecast
B. Income Statement
C. Balance Sheet

VIII. Appendix
A. Recent Contracts
B. Articles on the Industry & Xxxx Inc.

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Project Development...

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OSPAR provides research services for clients across North America. The nature of requests varies greatly. Sometimes an assignment is a simple question which requires a short data search. Many consulting assignments require interviews with "players" in the industry and research in cities halfway across the continent.

When faced with consulting questions which require computer models, the ability to answer such questions necessitates not only (1) an understanding of the industry, but also (2) access to the requisite data, and (3) an ability to "picture how things work".

Once we understand the relationship between variables, then it is a matter of designing a model to mimic those inter-relationships. The model is then back-tested with historical data to determine how good a "fit" the model is to the real world. If the model produces statistically valid results on tests with historical variables, then current and forecast variables are input into the model to produce the forecast.

Strategic planning, risk management, goal setting, performance measurement, and adjunct matters are greatly enhanced with research. With appropriate research, both systematic and non-systematic risk are greatly reduced. Research has provided important management tools such as diversification models, market studies, portfolio risk rating, loan loss forecasts, etc..

An example of such research is the office market absorption forecast described below.

Market Research: Real Estate Forecasts

The Dynamics of Real Estate

OSPAR Consulting

The continuing cycle of crashes and recoveries of Canadian real estate markets demonstrates that the benefits of analytical research far outweigh the cost of those services. OSPAR Consulting's office market forecast warned of the impending correction to the Toronto real estate market. At time when the office vacancy was still 8% and money was still pouring into real estate related investments, this market forecast showed that office vacancy would hit 18%! This forecast was based on an empirically tested absorption model which has been proven accurate in multiple North American markets. This risk management tool has forecast both upward and downward market corrections. With such predictability, investments provide greater returns with less risk, and the entire efficient frontier of the portfolio is shifted. Change becomes an opportunity rather than a portfolio-threatening event.
The above "office market forecast" link is to an article by Ian Marcil, President of OSPAR Consulting Ltd., which explains how the absorption model forewarns investors of market corrections.
The cost/benefit of research provides very high returns. The real estate related losses of the late eighties are in the billions of dollars. The cost of research services which would prevent or mitigate those losses is less than the amount of the dollar rounding on financial statements. It would be extremely beneficial to invest a fraction of the amount that is spent to create value on research which will secure and preserve that value.

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