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Wealth & Investing

Advice type


Venture capital

Asset class

Alternative assets

Client types

Private equity

Sector focus

Investments and Asset Management


Stephen Ford

‘We source, vet and invest in private equity opportunities alongside a large network of family offices and UHNWs,’ explains Stephen Ford, one of Chrystal Capital’s three partners (alongside James Innes and Kinglsey Wilson).

‘Our HNW network comprises several hundred single family offices on a global basis. While the spectrum is wide, typically it’s first or second generation wealth created by an entrepreneur who has sold out and is now investing full time.’

‘At the end of the day, whether it’s a family or a fund, they are looking for good returns. That’s what make them tick – albeit the desire to deploy capital in an impactful way is getting stronger particularly amongst the families.’

Chrystal Capital started 10 years ago to cater for the desire of family offices to increase their direct private equity investing. Post-GFC, it was common for single family offices to want to retain more discretion over investments; allocations to funds reduced while internal resource was hired to manage investments in a more direct, hands-on manner. Chrystal Capital became a trusted adviser enabling family offices to better deploy capital into growth and development capital opportunities that suited their objectives.

In terms of this year’s trends, Ford says that the macro-trend that continues to drive Chrystal’s business over the long term is the desire of family offices to directly access high quality private equity opportunities. ‘Over the last 12 months, our co-investment business, alongside PE funds, has seen exceptional growth,’ Ford tells Spear’s. ‘From a sector perspective, technology and consumer remain significant but we also like to focus on emerging trends and have been active in medical cannabis, on the back of changing legislation and we are currently looking at plant-based protein in some detail,’ he says.

Ford’s focus is overseeing the co-investment side of the business. He works closely with both private equity and venture capital houses that are looking for additional capital for their deals.

‘We carry out our own diligence,’ he adds, ‘before taking the best of the opportunities to our investor network, usually after committing some of our own capital to the deal.’

The Mayfair-based firm celebrated its 10th anniversary in summer 2019. In the preceding decade, the firm moved from being a pure advisory business to a corporate finance and investment house, and now works with over 400 single family offices.

Rank: Top Recommended

Top Recommended 2020, Wealth & Investing

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