The number of new financial services firms being launched in the UK is dwindling. In September, there were 18,408 firms authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a decline of over 350 since the beginning of this year, according to analysis by corporate finance firm IMAS.
Nonetheless, financial services professionals with a background in investment banking or trading are going it alone, starting hedge funds or advisory boutiques in London. Most of these operations remain small, but it’s worth noting their existence as a potential source of job opportunities in the future. Here are the more interesting firms to gain FCA approval during August and September.
Set up at the end of last year by Michael Monnelly, formerly of GMO, Christopher Thear, who was most recently partner and COO at Viognier Capital and Carl-David Bonnier, this hedge fund received regulatory approval last month.
A boutique operation that was granted FCA approval in September, Colville is an independent advisory firm set up by Mathieu Philippe, who has a background in Merrill Lynch’s private equity division but who has been working for hedge fund Audley Capital for the past six years, and Nicholas Philippe. It advises on real estate investment as well as convertible bonds and arbitrage funds.
Set up by Dimitrios Stratikopoulos, the former head of M&A for central and eastern Europe at Deutsche Bank and Altay Israfil, an ex-UBS investment banker who has been running his Turkey-focused investment firm Prospera Real Estate since 2007, Domius Capital Advisers is still very much in its infancy and gained regulatory approval in August. As Financial News noted, there’s little information on its investment strategy, but considering the background of its founders, expect it to be focused on CEE investment opportunities.
Greensledge’s London arm was launched last September, but has just been given regulatory approval by the FCA. It has an impressive list of senior investment bankers on its books – John Convery, a former head of global CDO at Deutsche Bank is head of investment banking, while Paul Levy, the ex-co head of EMEA FICC structuring at UBS, is also a managing director. Mark Crawley, another MD at the firm, was previously co-head of the solutions and financing group at UBS in the UK, and Nikunj Gupta is a vice president who also joined from the Swiss bank. At the time of the firm’s launch in London, Brian Zeitlin, managing director of Greensledge in New York, said that Europe was a “priority for continued growth”.
Very much a boutique operation, started earlier this year by Andrew Coull, an ex-Morgan Stanley executive director and investment director at Standard Life Investments, and James Rowe, who was most recently global head of structured finance at National Australia Bank, Lonburgh Capital received FCA approval in August. It’s a corporate finance operation focused on real estate, renewable energy and infrastructure.
Piquant is a quantitative hedge fund start up led by Toby Williams, a former director at UBS, Merrill Lynch and AIG Financial Products, but latterly a hedge fund manager and financial adviser. James Holloway is the chief investment officer, while the technological development comes from Iain Buchanan, who worked with Williams at Aspect Capital, where he was latterly a senior developer. He joins as a partner at the firm, which was authorised in August, according to the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive – the first hedge fund to do so.