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BGF welcomes two non-executive directors to its board as part of an ongoing scale up

BGF News 12.10.2020
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BGF announces that Jim Strang, MD & EMEA Chairman of Hamilton Lane, and Kris Isherwood, CFO of Eight Roads, will be appointed as independent non-executive directors to its Board, effective 1st January 2021. The appointments bring a wealth of experience in the global investment management and alternatives industry at a time when there is increasing focus on the growing equity needs of the UK economy, in particular for high-growth private companies and emerging industries.

Jim Strang is Chairman of Hamilton Lane’s business in EMEA and a long-standing member of a number of the firm’s investment committees. Hamilton Lane is an acknowledged global leader in providing alternative investment management advice and services to major investors around the world, with approximately $547bn in discretionary and advisory assets as of 30th September 2020. Before joining Hamilton Lane, Strang was a Director at the UK mid-market PE firm Dunedin LLP and also served as a founding team member and head of European buyouts at Gartmore Private Equity (now Hermes GPE). He is a non-executive director and Chairman of the Board at Hg Capital Trust plc, a senior adviser to the private equity group at Bain & Co and a teaching Fellow at London Business School.

Kris Isherwood is the  CFO for Eights Roads, the global proprietary investment firm backed by Fidelity International. Eight Roads is primarily focused on venture capital, particularly in healthcare and technology sectors with invested assets of c$3bn. Prior to this, Kris was the Group CFO for Fidelity International for almost a decade. Fidelity International is a leading global investment firm managing total assets of $600bn. Before entering the asset management industry, Kris held leadership roles as CFO of a UK-based life insurer and was a Director at KMPG.

BGF, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary next year, has invested £2.5bn in growth businesses across the UK & Ireland through a combination of its evergreen balance sheet and third party funds, as well as its network of 16 offices. It is now the most active growth investor globally by number of transactions, and helped to establish BGF Canada in 2018 and BGF Australia in 2020.

Earlier this year, BGF and Coutts announced the fundraising launch for the UK Enterprise Fund to co-invest alongside BGF as well as promote greater management diversity and female entrepreneurship. This is BGF’s second external fundraise following the launch of BGF in Ireland and forms part of the ongoing moves to  meet the growing equity investment needs in the UK, as recently outlined in BGF’s Growth Economy Report with Sir Anthony Seldon, The CityUK Taskforce and the Scale Up Finance Review. In 2020, BGF also became a signatory of the UN Principles of Responsible Investing reflecting its developing exposure to clean growth, the Women in Investing Code, and a member of The Diversity Project, all of which demonstrate the increasing prominence of ESG as a major driver of BGF’s growth.

Jim Strang commented: “Stephen and the team have created something very distinct in the investment industry. The pandemic has created serious challenges for many entrepreneurial businesses, but you only have to look at some of the significant success stories and exits within the BGF portfolio this year to understand that there is a clear role for patient, minority investing in the UK. I am delighted to be joining the Board alongside Kris during the next phase of BGF’s own growth.”

Kris Isherwood said: “BGF has a very strong sense of purpose in how it approaches its investment strategy, portfolio and people. Not only is it the most active equity investor in the UK but it is also focused on delivering growth and returns across its portfolio in a sustainable way. I look forward to working with the Board and the wider team at BGF as it continues to build on important areas of its investment strategy, including clean growth, ESG and diversity.”    

Stephen Welton, Executive Chairman, BGF said: “I am delighted to welcome Jim and Kris to the Board of BGF. The past 12 months have served to reinforce the value, impact and necessity of well-run and well-capitalised growth economy businesses in the UK. They have also highlighted the strength of our regional investment platform to deliver capital to all parts of the UK and to build strong and vibrant investment communities across key sectors, which is so essential to our long term success as a country. In addition to maintaining our investment run rate throughout the pandemic, we have continued with our broader advocacy and efforts to improve capital availability to these businesses. Jim and Kris understand our culture and our mission, and we are very much looking forward to their counsel, guidance and support.”