Jonny Maxwell, the founder of Standard Life Investments (now SL Capital Partners) and former head of Allianz Private Equity Partners, has joined UK-based GMT Communications Partners as a senior advisor, PEI has confirmed.
After informally advising the firm for “quite some time”, “we decided to formalise it”, Maxwell told Private Equity International.
In the part-time role, Maxwell will be “providing experience to the GMT team on a regular basis”, he said. “The idea is to make sure that the way they position themselves with their investors and their investee companies is optimal. The role I agreed to take up is to advise the general partner on issues as they emerge, which can be with both underlying companies or their investor base.”
Maxwell denied he would be helping GMT with fundraising; the firm is understood to be targeting €350 million for its fourth buyout fund. “I have chosen to become involved because I think GMT is truly professional and extremely able, and I like their space,” he said.
GMT declined to comment on fundraising.
Prior to joining GMT, Maxwell spent a year doing consultancy work for Capital Dynamics, as well as few other things “below the radar”, Maxwell said. He recently joined the advisory board of Argentex, a foreign exchange advisory business, and has continued its charity work. In 2003, Maxwell and his wife set up the Muir Maxwell Trust, named after the pair’s son who suffers from epilepsy, to provide support to children with this condition.
The idea is to make sure that the way they position themselves with their investors and their investee companies is optimal. The role I agreed to take up is to advise the general partner on issues as they emerge, which can be with both underlying companies or their investor base
“It’s a very distressing situation to be in for children and their carers. The private equity industry has been very supportive over the years. We have provided a lot of technical equipment and we have raised just under £8 million so far,” he said.
Before that, Maxwell was global head of private equity fund of funds Allianz Private Equity Partners. Prior to that, Maxwell set up Standard Life Investments, which is now known as SL Capital Partners. During his 17 years at SL, he built the private equity business with assets from a single client operation into an international multi-client manager with private equity assets over €5.5 billion. Maxwell began his private equity career at Steward Fund Managers in 1984.
While private equity remains “a fabulous business”, “if you do it well and you do it right you can make some phenomenal returns to investors”, he said – there is going to be a “clear out” of managers. “It’s no bad thing that a number of managers are unlikely to raise capital because they weren’t really doing anything better or worse than the next guy. Having money is no longer differentiating, that’s a commodity. It’s the other expertise that will bring success going forward,” he said.
GMT, which was founded in 1993, invest in European companies in the communications space. The firm’s maiden fund was a €67.5 million vehicle. Its second fund was a €365 million, 2000 vintage fund, while its most recent fund was a €342 million vehicle, which was raised in 2006.
Some investors in this fund include: ACG Private Equity, Apen Private Equity, BVT Unternehmensgruppe, European Investment Fund and Princess Private Equity Holding, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division.