BEP makes it to the FT
Wealthy investors in the Middle and Far East are being sought out by a bunch of altruistic hedge fund managers, not to pour money into their equity long-short strategies this time, but to help out struggling businesses in the UK .The British Enterprise Bank, led by Jono Shorrock, a former Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley senior banker, is to launch early next year and intends to lend to companies that have found traditional banking lenders reluctant to lend following the financial crisis.
The bank's backers, including an as yet un-named string of City heavyweights, are said to be using their hedge fund and private equity contacts to raise a targeted £100m, according to a source close to the plans.
Brett Alegre-Wood, a property entrepreneur and supporter of the venture, is about to set off on a capital-raising tour of the Middle and Far East.
Last week, the Bank of England said bank lending and investing to small and medium-sized companies had fallen for its fifth straight month and small business groups have been crying out for better support for their members.
Always hunting out new opportunities, the hedge funds might be on to something. Since it was heralded this weekend, the British Enterprise Bank has already received a deposit of £1m from one businessman, and its first request for a loan, according to the source.
The British Enterprise Bank declined to comment.