Icelandic financial services firm Audur Capital is embarking on a hiring spree as it gears up for the launch of its new private equity venture, called the Bjork Fund.
The fund, which was created in a partnership with the Icelandic singer Bjork, aims to help smaller and unlisted Icelandic companies who are struggling through the financial crisis.
Its investments will provide domestic companies with much-needed capital.
Arna Hardardottir, head of private equity at the firm, explained that the fund would be a standard 10-year venture fund and more staff would be needed to manage it.
She says: “We are recruiting, and we could be the only company in Iceland doing that at the moment. We’ve added four new people since January and will be adding more.”
Audur has so far committed ISK100m (€70m) of its own assets to the fund, and expects to raise another ISK1.4bn over the next few months.
Its main targets for investors will be domestic high-net-worth individuals and pension funds, but it hopes to attract European investors as well.
One of the biggest obstacles could be the currency restrictions now in place in Iceland. After the financial collapse, the government passed a law that temporarily banned Icelandic investors from making any new foreign investments, due to fears that the domestic currency would fall even further.
Thoranna Jonsdottir, head of business development at the firm, says: “We have our legal department working on it, because there are currency restrictions and that is going to be a bit of a hurdle. Most likely we’ll be able to, but it has to be looked at case by case. There’s a lot of legal paperwork that needs to be done.”
Audur, which also specialises in wealth management and corporate financial advisory, has a second private equity fund called Audur 1.
Hardardottir says that they could be hiring for this fund as well, and that it was entirely possible that a third fund would be launched in the near future.