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Portfolio > Alternative Investments > Hedge Funds

Robson Rhodes Vets Team with Chiltern for New Venture

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LONDON (–Chiltern, the provider of tax advice and other financial services such as corporate governance and risk management, is joining with three former partners from RSM Robson Rhodes LLP to form a new investment management advisory firm that will focus globally on hedge funds and other alternative investments.

Raymond O’Neill, David Butler and Julian Korek are partnering with Chiltern to launch what they describe as a global boutique that will offer a comprehensive range of services, including advisory, assurance, taxation, corporate finance, business consulting, and corporate recovery and forensics.

Chiltern will hold a 51% stake in the new enterprise, while the trio from Robson Rhodes, along with subsequent senior partners, will sink their own funds into it for the minority share, Mr. Butler said.

The venture will be part of Moores Rowland International, an association of independent accounting and advisory practices with total revenues of US$1.8 billion and representation in 90 countries.

The new firm, which as yet has no name, seeks initially to operate from London, Dublin, the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands, Mr. Butler said, with ambitions to grow to 100 professionals within six months. The partners say they foresee the firm extending its global reach over the longer term, eventually numbering 250 individuals and collecting fee revenue of 25 million pounds (US$46.8 million) within the next three years.

Mr. Butler, who said he had come to Robson Rhodes four years ago with the assignment to develop business in the hedge fund market, said currently there is no such entity as the “global boutique” that he and the other investors envision with their enterprise–one that has expertise in hedge funds and knowledge of auditing, tax advice, forensics and IT support. Some single-site operations might provide such services, “but they can only do that piece of work in that location,” he said. The large accounting firms can provide the full complement but not with an informed emphasis on the needs of alternative investment managers.

He said Chiltern, with its strength and talent in the areas of non-auditing accounting, is ideally suited to make the venture a success. “It’s a structural difference, a company that has a different outlook on life,” Mr. Butler said of the majority partner.

“Setting up this venture with such well-respected industry figures represents a huge opportunity contributing in a major way to the development of the Chiltern group,” said Chiltern Chairman John Willmott, in a statement. “We recognize the potential of the market and, while we already have made some successful inroads into it on our own, this step will accelerate our growth dramatically. Our involvement marks the beginning of a new era in terms of our presence in and commitment to this sector.”

Mr. O’Neill commented: “Chiltern has long been recognized as one of the leading independent professional services firms in the United Kingdom. Whilst a large firm, Chiltern retains a dynamism, sense of ambition and pace of growth not often found within the professional services arena. We are delighted to team up with such a like-minded partner.”

For now, the partners are in the early stages but are planning for fast-track growth. “We have no name, no clients, no office,” Mr. Butler said. “The three of us are focused on getting this running. We’re building a platform as well as opening for business. We’ll be rocking in the next two or three months.”

Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at: [email protected].


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