LJ Partnership advises HNW clients on financial asset and real estate allocations in public and private markets. ‘We bring together experienced professional investors from multiple disciplines to serve the interests of our clients and partners, delivering investment and administration services as well as acting as a trusted advisor and principal co-investor,’ explains co-founder and partner Edward Lawson Johnston.
Founded nine years ago, LJP currently supervises £11bn ($15bn) of assets in Europe, Asia and the Americas with a client base comprising family offices, foundations and high net worth individuals from Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Plans are in place to include corporates, institutions and sovereign wealth funds.
Formerly managing partner of Cornhill Fund Management LLP and managing director of Cornhill Property Investments, Lawson Johnston is responsible for overseeing all business development across the group, engaging HNWs on a personal basis. Under his guiding hand, LJP has grown significantly over the years, diversifying across different geographies and service lines, acquiring complementary teams and businesses. Today the team is 200 strong, with eight offices across Europe, US and Asia with three more opening shortly in Singapore, Sydney and Auckland. A significant development has been their recent entry to the US, with the acquisition of a business in New York and various partnerships fomenting along the West Coast, where Lawson Johnston has been spending the bulk of his time lately expanding LJP’s investment strategy to include technology.
Wealth management is changing, notes Lawson Johnson, with the so-called great wealth transfer imminent. ‘This sophisticated generation of investors expect greater transparency, control and the opportunity to partner and co-invest with asset managers across a broad range of sectors, which is in turn re-shaping the wealth management sector,’ he says, adding that the firm is responding to the evolution by working with both younger and older generations build consensus on asset allocation: ‘We are pivoting our core disciplines in financial and real estate assets to encompass new sectors and strategies; expanding our operations in Europe, Asia and the Americas; and securing new partners, shareholders and clients to achieve our growth ambitions.’
A significant development has been the Groups recent entry to the US, with the acquisition of a business in New York, complementing its Miami operations where Lawson Johnston has been instrumental in forming various partnerships throughout the West Coast. In addition he has been focused on expanding LJPs investment strategy to include the technology, media and consumer sectors with the recent announcement of an investment into one of Europe’s leading media merchant banking groups
Partners and shareholders are also clients of the firm because of their co-investment model. ‘The fact that our partners and shareholders directly co-invest alongside our clients is a real point of differentiation in our industry – not many advisory businesses can do that,’ explains Lawson Johnston, pointing to a ‘vast conflict of interest in the industry’, which does not serve the needs of clients. ‘Greater independence is required and at LJP we have set out to redefine the market,’ he says. ‘Selling products should be independent from giving advice. As an independent business that is solutions not product driven and is investing alongside our clients, we offer something that is very different and much needed.’
The firm offers a Real Estate platform, which continues to grow ‘very rapidly’, and has made a number of equity investments, including a portfolio of 25 retail parks next to IKEA stores in eight European countries, acquired from IKEA Centres for €900m. ‘This investment was led by one of our investment partners Pradera, a specialist retail property fund and asset manager, and it is very much illustrative of our strategy of partnering with best in class managers, which in turn delivers excellent investment opportunities, execution and management capability and returns profiles,’ Lawson Johnson recounts.