Scepter: money managers to the ultra-wealthy
A significant sovereign investment entity, which represents core stakeholders with a combined net worth of more than $100 billion, has strengthened its ties with Bermuda.
The presence and activities of Scepter Partners are expected to put Bermuda “further on the map of sovereign investment capital flows”, according to the asset management firm.
In coming months, Scepter intends to announce a series of offshore vehicles for direct investment into off-market transactions in the natural resources and hospitality industries.
The direct investment and merchant banking specialist for sovereign wealth represents more than $14 billion of discretionary assets. It is led by the former Blackstone Advisory Partners Asia team, and its core stakeholders include senior members of Asian and Gulf-based high net worth families.
The firm has offices in New York, London and Beijing. It is strengthening its links with Bermuda, having committed to running its global management business from the Island. Founded in 2014, Scepter has its headquarters in Century House, on Par-la-Ville Road.
A number of its executives have longstanding ties with Bermuda, including chairman and chief executive officer Rayo Withanage, who attended Saltus Grammar School after his family moved to the Island in 1980.
Commenting on the commitment to Bermuda, Mr Withanage said: “As Bermuda continues to develop its activities and effectively compete with other offshore financial centres, we hope that the presence of our activities can substantially enhance Bermuda’s role in the deployment of capital by significant sovereign investors and family offices.”
When Mr Withanage left Bermuda he moved to New Zealand, where he attended law school. He then relocated to Brunei and founded a commercial multi-family office with senior members of the nation’s royal family.
Euromoney magazine has previously named Mr Withanage as one of the most influential financiers in the Middle East and Asia.
Other Scepter personnel with links to Bermuda include the group’s head of operations, Daniel Fenster. He lived in Bermuda during the late 1990s when he worked for Alpha Fund Management.
And the group’s general counsel is Stefan Nadarajah, the only son of Bala Nadarajah. The late Mr Nadarajah was a prominent insurance sector lawyer and is credited with laying the groundwork for Bermuda’s rise as a leading global reinsurance centre. He died in 2013, but for 30 years was involved in all legislation and regulation that shaped the insurance and reinsurance sector in Bermuda.
Two members of Brunei’s ruling family, Prince Abdul Ali Yil Kabier and Prince Bahar Bolkiah, are directors of Scepter.
The other directors are Sir John Bond, the former HSBC Group chief executive and chairman, Patrick Theros, the former US ambassador to Qatar, and Sheikh Juma al Maktoum, a prominent businessman from the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier this year Bermuda-headquartered BMB, an entity that provides capital and advice to Forbes 500 families, spun out its family office assets into Scepter. According to the firm this was “driven by the interests of investors to convert from a family office mandate to a merchant bank and direct investment syndicate”.
BMB has been described as the first commercial multi-family office of ruling families to unify investors from the Middle East and Asia who traditionally had been competitors. It was originally founded in 2004 by Prince Abdul Ali Yil Kabier and Mr Withanage.
Scepter presents itself as “a standing capital syndicate of ultra-high net worth individuals and sovereign investors who have combined to invest in off-market large cap transactions globally”.
At its core is a merchant banking business run by the former Blackstone Advisory Partners Asia team that executed more than $500 billion in transactions, focused on mining, natural resources and infrastructure.
Some of the transactions executed by the team now at Scepter have included the $20 billion restructuring of Seoul Bank, the $8 billion PetroChina West-East Pipeline Project, and the $14.1 billion acquisition of 12 per cent of Rio Tinto by Chinalco.
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