Family office Sandaire looks closer to home for deals

The multi-family office, which launched its dedicated private equity unit last year, is putting greater emphases on UK and European GPs and deals as result of covid-19.

Multi-family office Sandaire is seeking investments closer to home as the covid-19 crisis makes travel and conducting due diligence more challenging.

The London-headquartered investor expects to focus more on European managers and direct investments instead of looking further afield, Michael Mowlem, Sandaire’s managing director for private equity, told Private Equity International.

“We have slightly adjusted our focus areas and we are looking closer to home and putting greater emphasis on managers we know and who we can access more easily and in markets we better understand,” Mowlem said.

Sandaire, which manages approximately £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion; €2.6 billion) in client assets, has been expanding since the beginning of last year. It launched a dedicated private equity unit in March last year and hired Mowlem, the former head of Legal & General’s private equity arm LGV Capital, to lead the team. It has also set up a real estate advisory business and a corporate finance team.

Mowlem said that in the past year, the PE team was focused on devoting more resources to investors interested in PE opportunities, including sourcing deals and building its client base.

“This year was really the year I was expecting we would make a bigger splash and lead investments, as well as do our own smaller buyouts, alongside the fund investments we have traditionally done,” he said.

Since the pandemic took hold and with transactions moving more slowly in lockdown, Mowlem’s team has had to re-adjust and review its portfolio and the value of its assets.

“We’ve been speaking to managers and owners of businesses in how they are dealing – from portfolio liquidity to accessing government-backed schemes,” Mowlem said.

He added that Sandaire is looking at credit and special situations. He also expects more secondaries opportunities to emerge as pricing is better understood.

Mowlem noted that sustainability was a key investment theme even prior to the health crisis.

“What we are looking for are assets that future generations of our family clients would be excited about holding.”

Sandaire’s financial services roots dates to 1903 when founder James Scott established The Provincial Insurance Company in Manchester. The firm invests in both public and private markets on behalf of 20 families. It expanded in Asia in 2012 with the opening of its Singapore office.

Less than 10 percent of Sandaire’s funds under management are in private equity.