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Revealed: Family offices main shareholders in UK’s first clearing bank for more than 250 years

Canadian and Czech billionaires through their investment offices are big investors in the UK’s first clearing bank for more than 250 years, which through its latest funding has reached unicorn status.  

Called ClearBank, billionaires John Risley and the investment office of the recently deceased Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, have built up significant stakes in the Bristol-based bank. Last week, Canadian Risley through one of his investment groups, CFFI Ventures, and the Kellner family’s investment and holding group, PPF Group, bought a further stake in ClearBank. 

Risley through CFFI and another investment group Northern Private Capital has backed ClearBank since its launch in 2015. PPF has also been a cornerstone investor in the bank since the beginning. Funding for the bank has now tipped over $600 million, taking it well into unicorn valuation territory.

Risley, who lives in Novia Scotia, made his fortune in the fisheries industry, co-founding Clearwater Seafoods, the biggest producer of shellfish in North America. He has since gone on to be a successful investor. 

Petr Kellner took advantage of the denationalization of many Czech companies during the so-called Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s early 1990s to make a fortune through PPF (První Privatizační Fond – First Privatization Fund), which he set up in 1991. He tragically died in a helicopter crash in 2021.  

Launched by serial entrepreneur Nick Ogden, ClearBank gained a UK banking licence in 2016 and through its fintech offering is designed to speed up financial transactions for its customers. 

 

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