Adrian John Smith, Finance Expert in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Adrian John Smith

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Toptal Member Since
August 22, 2017

Adrian has over 12 years of private equity and M&A experience, mainly at Standard Chartered Private Equity, where he led several transactions with a total value of over $500 million. As a freelancer, he enjoys working with multiple clients, leveraging his strong financial and operational background to build budgets, execute complex equity and debt raises, and conduct due diligence and valuations, particularly in turnaround situations.

Career Highlights

Founder | Partner
Arkana Partners
Executive Director
Standard Chartered Private Equity
Standard Bank

Education Highlights

Chartered Accountant (South Africa)
South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
Master's Degree
University of Johannesburg

Case Studies

Work Experience

Founder | Partner

2016 - PRESENT
Arkana Partners
  • Built a Sub-Saharan private equity firm in partnership with the ex-heads of Carlyle and KKR Africa (with access to over $300 million of funding).
  • Led all the transaction execution activities for the firm, including investment appraisal, financial modeling, legal agreements, and due diligence.
  • Raised $25 million for a Southern African retail business.
  • Originated and executed a $20 million investment in an industrial platform holding company.
  • Enhanced financial and management reporting for $100 million turnover grocery retailer.
  • Advised a manufacturing business on its M&A strategy, including assessing the $50 million acquisition of a competitor.
Focus areas: Valuation, Three-statement Modeling, Fundraising, Financial Reporting, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Private Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Forecasting, Business Plan Consulting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Cash Flow Modeling, Business Models, Financial Statements

Executive Director

2008 - 2016
Standard Chartered Private Equity
  • Executed 12 transactions, totaling over $500 million.
  • Led the operational turnaround, financial restructuring, and eventual sale of a $55 million agriculture investment.
  • Raised over $200 million for an investment in the largest packaging business in Nigeria. Awarded the "Private Equity Africa Deal of the Year" in 2013.
  • Actively managed five investments across the FMCG, oil & gas, agriculture, packaging, telecom, and retail sectors.
  • Established a greenfield packaging plant on behalf of a portfolio company; negotiated the joint venture agreement, identified the location of the factory, appointed the local management team, and built the financial plan and model.
  • Conducted due diligence investigations and developed financial models/plans for over 50 different companies in various sectors.
  • Performed the duty of the chief financial officer of the division (part-time). Responsible for strategic, operational, and investment planning; forecasting; insightful analyses; and timely reporting.
Focus areas: Capital Investment Appraisals, Financial Reporting, Fundraising, Three-statement Modeling, Budgeting, Private Equity, Financial Restructuring, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Business Plan Consulting, Industrial & Manufacturing, Business Models, Financial Statements, Taxation, Virtual CFO


2002 - 2008
Standard Bank
  • Executed investments totaling $50+ million in numerous businesses; conducted financial modeling, legal, and due diligence.
  • Conducted due diligence on an industrial engineering company for a potential acquisition; included market and competitive analyses as well as business model development.
  • Developed a market-risk-reporting framework for the bank's largest commodity clients.
Focus areas: Financial System Implementation, Budgeting, Valuation, Private Equity, Three-statement Modeling, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Integrated Financial Statements, Internal Audits, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Financial Statements
1998 - 2004

Chartered Accountant (South Africa) in Accounting

South African Institute of Chartered Accountants - Johannesburg, South Africa

2001 - 2001

Master's Degree in Accounting

University of Johannesburg - Johannesburg, South Africa

1998 - 2000

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

University of Johannesburg - Johannesburg, South Africa


Budgeting, Financial Modeling, Due Diligence, Fundraising, Valuation, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Three-statement Modeling, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Private Equity, CFO, Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Cash Flow Modeling, Taxation, Financial Reporting, Financial Restructuring, Capital Investment Appraisals, Internal Audits, Integrated Financial Statements, Financial System Implementation, Capital Raising

Output Software

Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel

Data & Analysis Software

Bloomberg, Capital IQ

Industry Expertise

Telecommunications, Industrial & Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Paper & Packaging, Retail & Wholesale, Agriculture, Financial Services, Mining, Insurance

Geographic Expertise

Singapore, Kenya, Australia, United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa


Turnaround Management, Business Planning, Feasibility Studies, Business Plan Consulting, SaaS, Cash Flow Management, Business Models, Financial Statements, Virtual CFO, Fintech, Investment Cases, Legal Documentation, Post-merger Integration, Microsoft 365

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