Growing infra appetite brings Threadmark to US

Having built a track record in Europe and the Middle East, the London-based placement agent has opened a New York outpost to take on North America.

After being in operation for six years and raising $4 billion on behalf of its clients, Threadmark, a private fund placement agent headquartered in London, is aiming to expand its business into the North American market with the opening of a new office in New York.

“The North American investor base is the most sophisticated – bar none – in the alternative space and it’s huge compared to other markets,” Threadmark co-founder and partner Bruce Chapman said in a phone interview with Infrastructure Investor. “So it’s always been a market that we’ve seen as particularly attractive and one we’ve wanted to be active in for quite some time on a more consistent basis.”

Threadmark is now able to do so, Chapman said, having hired Andrew Harris as senior vice president and received the necessary regulatory approvals to operate as a broker-dealer in the US.

“Andrew spent all of his working career in New York. In hiring [him] and building out our US team, we’ve been very focused on hiring senior professionals who have deep local relationships rather than trying to parachute in Europeans who know fund placement very well but don’t necessarily know the [local] investor base very well.”

Harris brings more than 10 years of fundraising and investor relations experience to his new role, having previously worked for Forum Capital Partners and Broadgate Consultants in New York. He has also been exposed to infrastructure and infrastructure investors, having raised two infrastructure funds out of the North American market. “That’s been one of the attractions in Andrew’s experience and background in bringing him on board,” Chapman remarked.

Infrastructure and real estate are the two asset classes Chapman and Anne Gales, Threadmark’s second co-founder and partner, focused on when establishing the firm in 2009. Over the past several years, however, the firm has expanded into the credit space and has been opportunistically active in private equity.

While the firm expects to be active across the same asset classes in North America as it does in Europe, infrastructure will be “at the heart” of what Threadmark does, at least initially.

“One of the key opportunities for us is to use the growth of appetite among institutional investors in North America for infrastructure and also the growth of managers in the infrastructure space as the springboard to really launch and develop our business,” Chapman commented.

Even though Threadmark started out as a Europe and Middle East-focused firm, it has been able to tap into North American appetite over the past several years, primarily through consultants, according to Chapman. “It’s been clear that the appetite has been developing quite significantly,” he said.

Asked how quickly he expects the firm to grow in terms of staff – Harris is the only US employee at the moment – Chapman said Threadmark hopes to have a team of five to six people over the next 12 months. That includes himself and Gales, who are qualified to sell in the US. “We really view it as a team of three salespeople right now,” he said.
Threadmark recently won its first mandate for North America. “It was signed literally within days, if not hours, of receiving our regulatory approval, so we’re off to a flying start,” Chapman said.

Due to regulatory constraints, he could not provide further details other than to say: “It’s a high-quality brand name that we’re delighted to be working with and it’s a full mandate.”