Two former Goldman Sachs partners have united to form a new private investment vehicle that will deploy money from one of Greece’s wealthiest shipping families.
Sky News has learnt that Matthew Westerman and Julian Metherell, who both spent lengthy careers based at the Wall Street’s European headquarters in London, have joined forces with Peter Livanos to launch MW&L Capital Partners.
The new firm will initially focus on investing money with Mr Livanos, a member of one of Europe’s oldest shipping dynasties.
It will target the deployment of long-term capital across the capital structure of companies, initially in sectors that its three partners are experienced in: energy, financial services and shipping.
Mr Livanos, who is chairman of the international shipping group Ceres Shipping, has a portfolio of interests which also include the US-listed company Gaslog.
One source close to the trio’s plans said they would seek to open MW&L up to third-party capital “over time”, creating a potentially sizeable new vehicle to invest in complex corporate situations.
The launch marks an intriguing return to finance for Mr Westerman, who left his most recent role as the co-head of HSBC’s global banking division last November.
He had been brought in by Stuart Gulliver, the British-based lender’s then chief executive, 18 months earlier to shake up the performance of a business regarded as excessively cautious and staid in an era of swashbuckling rivals.
Mr Westerman’s no-nonsense style led to him culling scores of HSBC’s investment bankers and taking a tougher approach to performance-related bonus decisions.
Prior to his stint there, he held a string of senior roles at Goldman, including running the equity capital markets business that raises money for corporate clients, chairing its European investment banking division and running a chunk of its Asian operations.
He worked closely with Mr Metherell, who left his role running Goldman’s UK business in 2011, to help establish an investment vehicle with Tony Hayward, the former BP chief executive, and Nat Rothschild, the billionaire financier.
That vehicle eventually acquired Genel, an energy group with operations in Kurdistan, but endured a bumpy ride as a listed company during a period of declining oil prices and instability in Iraq and surrounding parts of the region.
The prominence of its founders means MW&L is likely to be one of the most closely watched launches in the City this year.
The new firm will have “a desire for influence if not control” of the companies it invests in, according to an email sent by Mr Westerman to contacts on Friday.
“We think our backgrounds as owners, operators, advisers and investors provides a good perspective with which to engage with investment opportunities and put capital to work.”
A copy of his email was passed to Sky News.
Sources said that Mr Westerman and his partners believed there was a significant opportunity to identify deals smaller than those at the top end of the market.
They are said to feel that their approach will make the provision of flexible and private long-term capital attractive.
One insider added that MW&L’s positioning as an alternative to conventional private equity was likely to interest prospective investee companies.
The MW&L co-founders are not initially planning to raise a dedicated fund, and are likely to invest on what is known as a deal-by-deal basis.
None of the MW&L partners could be reached for comment on Friday.