New private investment office launches in heart of North West

From left: David Moore, Simon Lord, Mike Fletcher, Ben Hatton, Matt Cheetham
X The Business Desk

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A new multi-family investment office, Arete, has launched today (December 3) in the North West.

The business, which will provide transformational private capital to a range of some of the region’s most ambitious entrepreneurs and companies, has been formed by five well known figures from the region’s business world.

Arete’s founding partners are Mike Fletcher, Simon Lord, Ben Hatton, Matt Cheetham and David Moore.

The investment office will work exclusively with sophisticated investors, high net worth investors and family offices and will provide a focused, structured and disciplined approach to private company investment.

Its mission is to go ‘beyond capital’ by influencing and steering businesses and their management teams in the post-investment phase towards growth and future capital events, as well as providing investors with much closer engagement with their investment manager.

Having already successfully raised initial capital from investors, Arete has assembled an initial team of 12 and will initially be based in Liverpool and Manchester, with a presence in Yorkshire expected to follow later in 2021 during which time Arete expects its team to grow to between 20-25 employees.

The two offices are situated on Castle Street, in Liverpool, and The Union Building, Albert Square, Manchester.

The business is already actively working on a number of deals in the region that it expects to complete and announce in the next few months.

Mike Fletcher, joint Managing partner, said: “In founding Arete we’ve created and assembled a partnership that brings together five friends who have a unique combination of business skills and a genuine interest in building great companies.

“Each of Arete’s founding partners has an incredible depth of experience and knowledge in their field to support a variety of businesses through the challenges they face to enable them to flourish.

“There is substantial private capital available and investors remain keen to deploy it in interesting opportunities, but there can be a reticence to do so in many cases due to poor past experiences when making direct, but largely unmanaged, positions in private companies.

“This is typified by poor information and a lack of influence to sort problems early enough, which puts these investments at risk.”

He added: “Put simply, investors are keen to undertake risk-based investing but are seeking a more structured way to do this, through a partner that has a proven track record to manage investments and with whom they have a much more personal connection, which is exactly where Arete comes in.”

Joint managing partner, Simon Lord, said: “I’m genuinely excited about taking Arete to market at this time because agility, together with direct access to private investment and growth expertise, have never been more important or sought after.

“Through using our wide range of relationships with principals and investors, we are focused on creating and providing access to proprietary deal flow – that’s our core DNA and that’s the opportunity we’re seizing with Arete.

“It’s our collective vision to create a leading private capital business with true alignment with our backers and entrepreneurs which, by doing so, will create a pipeline of future private capital opportunities.”

The five founding partners:

Mike Fletcher is a successful investor, business leader and entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience in the financial sector. He was the co-founder and former CEO of Praetura Group, which launched in 2011. His early career was spent with PwC as a chartered accountant before joining GCA Altium, where he was a managing director for 10 years. Alongside his role at Arete, Mike is a trusted advisor and non-executive chairman to five businesses, including Sorted Group and Inspired Energy, and a board member at several others, including Peak AI and SysGroup plc.

Simon Lord is an award-winning financial advisor and a former managing director of GCA Altium, where he spent 16 years before co-founding Arete. He is a former recipient of Rainmaker of the Year award, while teams he has built and led have twice earned recognition as Corporate Team of the Year. Simon has an excellent track record of acting for, and building, trusted relationships with ambitious entrepreneurs and has played key roles in multiple high profile deals for the same companies at different stages of their growth journey.

Ben Hatton is an award-winning technology entrepreneur who founded and built one of the UK’s leading digital agencies before selling to the country’s largest publisher at the time, Trinity Mirror. He went on to become managing director of the group’s digital marketing division, where he led the acquisition and integration of growing tech-based companies. Since 2016, Ben has been working with ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses as an investor and board member offering strategic, operational and transformational support to help them to scale.

Matt Cheetham is a former director from Deloitte’s M&A team, where he spent 10 years advising UK corporates and shareholders across a range of sectors. During that time, he supported national and regional businesses with sales, acquisitions and fundraising before taking that experience into Praetura Group, where he headed up corporate finance and supported clients with MBOs, private equity transactions and venture capital and start-up funding. Matt’s focus is on deal origination and execution, identifying entrepreneurs and businesses with the potential for success.

David Moore is an experienced entrepreneur and investor with more than 25 years in finance recruitment. He is the executive chairman and co-founder of Axon Moore Group, an award-winning recruitment business. He has been investing in businesses for more than two decades and was a founding investor in The Hut Group, which recently completed a £4.5bn IPO. He is also chairman of Tactus Group, which sources, retails and brands cutting-edge consumer technology, and sits on the board of Manchester-based charity The Messaging Trust.