London investment manager Sackville Capital has pivoted away from public markets and traditional investments in favour of private markets, with the high-profile hiring of a private equity stalwart to lead a highly-focused PE investing strategy.
Sackville, which is based on Mayfair’s Sackville Street, was founded by ex-Goldman banker Nasir Alsharif, last year tapped Benson Li to lead its strategy, which will see the firm ‘make targeted investments in lower and mid-market private equity via direct and indirect strategies, backing exceptional teams across high-conviction sectors’.
Li, who previously worked as a private equity partner at Clifford Street Advisors and has 20 years of experience in the field, has reportedly replaced Vasileios Kocheilas, who left the firm last year along with another of its portfolio managers.
Sackville’s new approach, enacted last year with Li’s hiring, replaced a multipronged strategy across public markets, private investments and real estate. It has been ‘driven by a conviction that this was where the firm could create the most significant long-term value’, Sackville says.
‘This includes a core lower mid-market private equity programme, and a continued focus on platform investments.’
As well as making investments in the lower and mid-market end of the private equity market, Sackville Capital says it works with ‘entrepreneurial investors’ to provide capital and expertise, ‘partnering with them to support the launch of their own investment firms with targeted private markets strategies’. According to Bloomberg, the firm has connections with at least one billionaire family in the Middle East, for which it manages its long-term investments strategy.
The strategy by Sackville provides yet more evidence that the world of private wealth is chasing private equity investments like never before. Last week, seasoned M&A specialist Jim Keeling told Spear’s there was ‘plenty of activity’ from UHNW investors looking to buy stakes in private businesses.
Keeling, whose firm facilitates the sale of family businesses worth between £10 million and £200 million, says strength at the lower end of private equity markets makes it ‘perfectly possible’ his firm Corbet Keeling will have its best-ever year in 2024.
‘[Our] end of the market is not hit as much as the headlines that one reads about. The much, much bigger deals have been slowing up a bit, but I don’t think it really impacts on the buyers at our end of the market.’
While Sackville Capital is devoting its investment operations towards hunting for deals in private markets, its geographical footprint has broadened. The firm has launched an office in Riyadh – a city which has seen rapid investment in its tourist economy recently. Alsharif, who serves as the firm’s executive chairman, was a founding member of Goldman Sachs’s business operations in Dubai, and also served as its head of investment management in Riyadh.
Sackville says it will look for ‘recession resilient businesses demonstrating a strong growth trajectory’, while its ‘target sectors’ for investment include healthcare, technology and financial services, with opportunities to be found across North America, Asia and the Middle East.