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Founder of $90 billion investment business backed by one of the world’s richest individuals sets up his own boutique

Jon Little, who developed a $90 billion global investment firm backed by billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, has launched Alderwood Capital which plans to buy minority stakes in boutique asset managers.

For its acquisition spree, Alderwood is likely to need firepower of between $1 billion and $2 billion. Similar businesses have achieved returns for their investors which can exceed 12%. Family offices are likely to be approached to fund the Alderwood initiative along with institutions. 

For the first time, Little will be in control of his own business. His key lieutenants include partner Chris Berryman, founder of Just Retirement, who has been involved in acquisitions.  The family interests of his former colleague, Ron O’Hanley, now chairman of US bank State Street, has invested in Little’s company along with US manager Victory Capital which owns 15%.  

Prior to Alderwood, Little built Northill Capital for Bertarelli from scratch in 2010 by buying majority stakes in investment managers which took Northill’s assets to $90 billion when Little left ten years later.  

Little has confirmed the hire of three former Northill executives including Rebecca Noyes, who becomes Alderwood’s chief financial controller.  Prior to Northill, Little built up a global asset management business for BNY Mellon. 

Cyrus Jilla took over the management of Northill in 2020 after leaving Fidelity, where he handled deals for its owners, the Johnson family. 

Bertarelli has given Jilla a big role at Waypoint Capital, his family enterprise, whose other interests include real estate and the Gurnet Point life science fund. 

The Bertarelli family sold its pharmaceutical business Serono to Merck for $13 billion in 2007. Ernesto Bertarelli has also enjoyed success in sailing with Team Allingi, which has won the America’s Cup twice. 

Little has no plans to invest in private equity or hedge fund traders.  But he could take a view on specific investments as sizeable as $200 million in equities, credit, real estate and infrastructure.

Typically, Alderwood would buy into general partnerships in charge of managing their firms.  As well as offering finance and credibility, Alderwood could offer advice in a range of areas such as distribution, client management and client management. 

Asset management operating margins rose to 35% during 2020 according to Casey Quirk, but success is increasingly concentrated on a smaller number of managers and winning clients has become a protracted business. Client retention has never been more important.

 

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