Andrew Williams co-founded LJ Partnership in 2009, acting as CEO since the firm’s inception and more recently Executive Chairman. He focuses primarily on growing the business, as well as looking after its real estate investment strategies and overseeing real estate investments, an area he has been involved with for over 25 years: prior to LJP, Williams served as MD of Cushman & Wakefield Residential and Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield Hospitality for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, having transacted on over £8 billion of acquisitions.
LJ Partnership is a privately-owned investment firm and merchant banking partnership, advising institutional and private clients. While its core disciplines are in financial and real estate assets, LJP is increasingly expanding its offering to include new sectors and strategies such as M&A, private equity, technology and advisory, explains Williams.
Clients and shareholders comprise a select group of families, foundations and high net worth individuals from Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. ‘This reflects our heritage as a business “built by families for families” but we are actively expanding this base to include corporates, institutions and sovereign wealth funds,’ he says. Clients expect transparency, control and the opportunity to partner and coinvest across a broad range of sectors. ‘So, we invest in partnership with them by selecting assets with strong underlying fundamentals and niche managers with proven track records of delivering private equity returns from property,’ adds Williams.
In lieu of the changes in the industry since the 2008 financial crisis, resulting in the formation of multi-family offices as well as independent wealth managers serving the needs of HNWs. It was amid these trends that LJP was formed, with the stated aim of creating ‘a better way to manage our own money and LJP is very much a collaboration of several hundred families and entrepreneurs from across a range of industries, countries and cultures who have sought to take control of their wealth.’
LJ Partnership currently supervises over US$15bn / £11bn of wealth under management and has to date invested over US$3bn / £2.2bn of equity, primarily in real estate. The Group employs 200 staff across 8 (soon to be 11) offices, located across Europe, US and Asia.
In terms of Real Estate, LJ Partnership offers its clients access to a substantial and diversified real estate investment platform, explains Williams. ‘We identify attractive investment themes by sector and geography and then select and partner with best-in-class specialists in order to deliver our chosen strategies.’ Currently LJP advises a property portfolio of approximately $6.5 billion.
Things have been busy in 2018. More capital is being driven into real assets due to macro events, and the firm has seen ‘considerable growth’ in client allocation. Williams is keenly aware of the challenges ahead for the industry. ‘Geopolitical volatility presents an obvious challenge to investment. So, we focus on assets with strong underlying fundamentals and niche managers with proven track records of delivering private equity returns from property in order to navigate the volatility generated by short term fiscal or geopolitical shocks,’ he says. ‘But it is also important to recognise that this backdrop enables attractive arbitrage opportunities to be created.’
Williams is bullish when it comes to the prospects of the UK industry: ‘In the UK, our industry is mature, well understood and well regulated – the market benefits from broad availability of high level skills. and as result it is growing in a controlled manner,’ he says. ‘I would say that this is less the case internationally. Greater coordination and independence is needed in our sector in order that clients’ interests can be well looked after on an international basis.’
LJ Partnership will rebrand to Alvarium Investments in 2019.