Two institutional sales veterans have teamed up to launch a third-party marketing, fund placement and institutional capital raising firm for the U.K. institutional marketplace.
Stephen Holt, who was head of institutional sales for the U.K. and Ireland at Principal Global Investors until late last year, and John Owens, most recently a principal at placement agent First Avenue Capital Placement, launched Lang Arm Capital Partners this month. Mr. Holt was replaced by Marilyn Swinney as managing director, head of institutional sales, U.K. and Ireland, a spokeswoman for PGI said.
Lang Arm's focus will be on real assets and private markets, "because that's a very natural area for third-party marketers to get involved," Mr. Holt said in an interview. "But we're not operating exclusively there — there's always demand for fixed-income and equity strategies."
Mr. Holt said that in his experience, there's also "greater appetite now for deals and not just funds," with institutional investors wanting access to originated deals for co-investment, for example.
Lang Arm's potential client base will include not just money management firms looking to outsource their sales units — something that Mr. Holt also thinks will be accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic as companies reconsider whether it's economical to employ a sales team — but also the sales teams within money management firms themselves. "It's not just those looking to (outsource their sales function,) but a sales team without the right specialization and expertise in a product," Mr. Holt said.
The two first considered the idea of launching a third-party sales business two years ago. They're now completing compliance and hope to begin operating initially with five or six clients.
The team spent a long time talking with their network of contacts about what they might want — and not want — from such a business. "We don't just want to be hired to raise money, but as a long-term partner — treat us more like an employee," Mr. Owens said in the same interview.
Another focus will be on protecting their relationships with asset owners, meaning they will carefully consider which strategies and opportunities they take on to present to institutional investors.
Both from Scotland, Messrs. Owens and Holt choose the firm's name, Lang Arm, from the final line in the first verse of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns' "Address to a Haggis." The line reads: "As lang's my arm." In using the quote as inspiration for the business name, Messrs. Owens and Holt said on the firm's website that Lang Arm "has the added bonus of suggesting a business with genuine reach."