Ex-Cofunds boss joins private equity start-up

Brett Williams, former CEO of Cofunds and Skandia UK, will be one of four founding partners at Lime Tree Investment Partners, an offshoot of Future Capital Partners.

Lime Tree Investment Partners, a private equity firm launched by the team behind Future Capital Partners, has brought in Brett Williams as a founding partner as it looks to identify investment opportunities in the financial services, clean technology, real estate, biotechnology and entertainment sectors.

Williams, who will focus on financial services opportunities, made his name by founding investment platform Selestia in 2001. He went on to run the UK business of fund manager Skandia, and most recently was chief executive of Cofunds, another investment platform, before leaving in 2010. 

Lime Tree will look to make equity investments of between £100,000 and £1 million in fast-growing businesses. The firm describes itself as an entrepreneurial hub – so portfolio companies will not only receive access to capital but also “robust support”, “regulatory infrastructure”, and “advice and guidance from a network of professional advisors”. “I’m excited by the possibilities at Lime Tree,” Williams said. “It’s vibrant and new and not constrained by the legacy that so many financial services companies are battling with.”

The firm is an offshoot of Future Capital Partners, a specialist investment provider that has completed over £6 billion worth of transactions since its foundation in 2000. FCP founder Tim Levy is also one of the founding partners at Lime Tree, as are his fellow FCP directors Tim West and Neil Lewis, who were both previously with defunct Australian investment bank Babcock & Brown (as EMEA COO and General Counsel respectively). 

All three will continue to work for both firms – while in addition to his duties at Lime Tree, Williams will also be responsible for driving FCP's distribution strategy. The firm designs and promotes alternative investment products, some of which are specifically intended to take advantages of Government tax breaks like venture capital trusts and capital allowances. 

Levy said Williams' track record in “delivering exceptional new ideas, challenging the established status quo and bringing together top quality teams” meant he was “perfectly suited to produce new solutions for the financial services industry”. 

Although Lime Tree does not have a specific fund from which to invest at this stage, it will work closely with FCP, which may finance early deals and co-invest on future deals as and when Lime Tree raises its maiden fund.