Fairstone chief executive Lee Hartley has seen his company grow into a leading financial management company since securing a six-figure investment from a regional growth fund.
Hartley, who recently oversaw a £25m investment from Synova Capital, described the early stage investment he received from the JEREMIE funds as ‘a strategic building block’ which enabled the company’s steep growth curve.
Fairstone received a £1.5m investment between 2013 and 2015 from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund, managed by Northstar Ventures.
The company is now the largest chartered financial planning company in the UK, with over £6bn in client assets under management.
Hartley said: “The impact regional investment can have should not be underestimated – particularly in light of the current discussions surrounding Brexit and the Northern Powerhouse.
“With the investment and support we received from Northstar Ventures, Fairstone was able to increase its annual revenues from £15m at the inception of the relationship to its current run-rate of £36m.
“In addition, Northstar’s involvement and guidance was pivotal in enabling us to transition away from a shareholder base comprising mainly of high-net-worth individuals through to professional Private Equity shareholders – a changeover which was crystallised in the new £25m equity investment in April this year.”
Despite operating nationally, encompassing over 260 IFAs throughout the UK (12 of which are in the North East), Fairstone remains a proudly Northern business with its headquarters remaining in Boldon.
Alasdair Greig, director at Northstar Ventures, said: “In the last few years we’ve seen the local business community thrive, with startups across the region including Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle attracting talent and finance from other areas of the UK and beyond. Without access to regional investment, these companies may have been forced to relocate in order to compete for funding.
“We’ve also seen increasing interest from other VCs and private investors to invest outside of London, and particularly in Northern entrepreneurs. The investments we’ve made from the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept and Accelerator funds alone have leveraged £168m additional investment into North East companies since 2010.
“Companies like Fairstone are a huge asset to the North East economy and are evidence of how successful regional investment strategies have been in recent years.”
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