New private investment firm launches in Liverpool

Based in Liverpool city centre, Arete has been founded by five leading North West investment professionals who say they already have deals in the pipeline. Tony McDonough reports

Arete founders, from left, David Moore, Simon Lord, Mike Fletcher, Ben Hatton and Matt Cheetham


Five experienced investment professionals are forming a new Liverpool-based private capital firm that aims to double its headcount in its first 12 months.

Arete’s initial team of 12 people with be led by founding partners Mike Fletcher, Simon Lord, Ben Hatton, Matt Cheetham and David Moore. Its headquarters will be in Liverpool city centre with a second base in Manchester.

With a number of deals in the pipeline Arete has already raised initial capital from investors. It will aim to provide what it calls “transformational private capital” to entrepreneurs and businesses across the North West.

It says it will work “exclusively with sophisticated investors, high net worth investors and family offices and will provide a focused, structured and disciplined approach to private company investment”.

All five of the founders offer a significant level of experience in the North West investment market:

  • Mike Fletcher, who will be joint managing partner, is an experienced investor, business leader and entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience in the financial sector. He was the co-founder and former chief executive of Praetura Group.
  • Simon Lord, the other joint managing partner, is an award-winning financial advisor and a former managing director of GCA Altium, where he spent 16 years before co-founding Arete.
  • Ben Hatton is an award-winning technology entrepreneur who founded and built one of the UK’s leading digital agencies before selling to the country’s largest publisher at the time, Trinity Mirror. He has been working with entrepreneurs and businesses as an investor and board member.
  • Matt Cheetham a former director from Deloitte’s M&A team, where he spent 10 years advising UK corporates and shareholders across a range of sectors.
  • David Moore is an experienced entrepreneur and investor with more than 25 years in finance recruitment. He is the executive chairman and co-founder of recruitment business Axon Moore Group.

The founders say they aim to establish a presence in Yorkshire by late 2021, by which time they expect Arete to have grown its team to between 20 and 25 people. The business is already actively working on a number of deals in the region that it expects to complete and announce in the next few months.

Mr Fletcher said: “In founding Arete, we’ve created and assembled a partnership that brings together five friends who have a unique combination of business skills and a genuine interest in building great companies.

“Each of Arete’s founding partners has an incredible depth of experience and knowledge in their field to support a variety of businesses through the challenges they face to enable them to flourish.

“There is substantial private capital available and investors remain keen to deploy it in interesting opportunities, but there can be a reticence to do so in many cases due to poor past experiences when making direct but largely unmanaged positions in private companies.

“Investors are keen to undertake risk-based investing but are seeking a more structured way to do this, through a partner that has a proven track record to manage investments and with whom they have a much more personal connection, which is exactly where Arete comes in.”

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