A duo from challenger bank Shawbrook have embarked on setting up a new investment firm, focused on companies in the speciality finance sector.
Marc Sefton and Kieran McSweeney have founded Aquilam Capital, which will focus on investing and lending to businesses in the consumer and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) finance niches and in the leasing and mortgage markets.
The wider team will include Jamie Constable and Steve Curtis, founder and operating partner respectively at turnaround private equity firm Rcapital. Constable has put a significant amount of money behind the business, City A.M. understands.
“We recognised the need for an investment firm which can provide exciting, entrepreneurial businesses with the right type of funding, but one which will also be a business partner – providing hands-on help, challenge and support where it is of greatest value,” said Sefton.
Aquilam hopes to complete six to eight transactions per year when it is fully operational, and has already completed its first. It will target deals of up to £25m, but with a more typical range of £2m to £10m.
The firm will not raise money from institutional funds just yet, Sefton and McSweeney explained, due to the returns expectations which many will have. But once the firm has a few deals under its belt and can prove its purpose, this could be an option.
Who are Sefton and McSweeney?
The two business partners are old acquaintances, having worked together at Barclays before setting up the structured finance division at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Both eventually ended up at Shawbrook, with whom they still have a “great relationship", but wanted to start on their own venture.
At Shawbrook, they jointly headed up a new division delivering asset-backed finance solutions to consumer and SME finance businesses, combining their technical expertise to build the business.