Published: 8 Jul 2021, 13:45
London-headquartered investment fund GLIL Infrastructure has invested £150 million (US$206.48 million) into Flexion Energy, a “modern utility company and energy storage infrastructure specialist” which is aiming to build 1GW of energy storage in the UK over five years.
Formed by Dan Taylor and Hassen Bali as a joint venture (JV) with ion Ventures, a renewables and cleantech development and advisory company of which the pair are co-founders, Flexion is intending to develop, build, own and manage UK energy storage systems, with this new investment to enable it to construct and make operational an initial established pipeline of 300MW of grid-connected battery storage systems within the next 24 months.
Its focus will be on large-scale batteries connected to and serving the electricity grid for the entire 1GW, with Flexion being technology agnostic. It is therefore to take advantage of the continuing development of battery technology and innovation, according to Taylor and Bali, who have both been in the clean energy financing space for more than 10 years each. Between them their track record includes the development of over 200MW of energy storage assets, including the first Tesla grid-scale storage system in Europe.
Ion Ventures will provide development, operational and asset management services to Flexion as it develops this pipeline. Describing Flexion as bridging the gap between the development and financing of energy storage sites, Taylor and Bali said: “Public markets are already playing a big role in funding energy storage infrastructure, but the sector remains underserved and Flexion is seeking to address this.
Meanwhile, the investment from GLIL is the eleventh the £2.5 billion infrastructure fund has made. Most recently, it acquired UK energy infrastructure provider Smart Meter Assets. Its other investments include equity stakes in Anglian Water, Clyde Windfarm, Forth Ports and two fleets of trains with Rock Rail among others.
The fund is backed by Local Pensions Partnership and Northern LGPS, and in April it was appointed as an infrastructure investment partner for government-established workplace pension provider Nest.
This story first appeared on Current±.
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Guardian Capital picks 60% stake in Rae & Lipskie Investment Counsel – Private Banker International
Guardian Capital Group has signed a deal to acquire a 60% majority interest in the Ontario-based private wealth manager Rae & Lipskie Investment Counsel (The RaeLipskie Partnership).
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.
Current employees of The RaeLipskie Partnership will retain the remaining 40% ownership interest in the firm. It has assets under management (AuM) of over C$1.1 bn.
Guardian president and CEO George Mavroudis said: “We’re delighted to partner with such a well-respected firm and management team as we continue to grow our presence in the private client wealth space.
“This transaction will add over $1bn in assets under management to our Private Wealth segment and further extend our regional coverage in key markets.”
The RaeLipskie Partnership president and COO Brian Lipskie added: “Like Guardian, we have always believed in serving our clients with a customer-first and community-based approach to everything we do. We look forward to continuing to do so, but with the added strength and stability that comes from partnering with Guardian.”
Founded in 1962, Toronto-based Guardian specialises in wealth and investment management.
The firm provides a range of investment management solutions to institutional and private wealth clients through its subsidiaries and offers wealth management services to financial advisors in its national mutual fund dealer, securities dealer and insurance distribution network.
As of 31 March 2022, the firm had C$53.1bn of assets under management and C$30.5bn of assets under administration. It also managed a proprietary investment portfolio with a fair market value of C$741m at end of this March.
Last year, Guardian concluded its previously announced takeover of BNY Mellon’s wealth management and advisory services unit in Canada.
Toronto investment bank Origin Merchant Partners to acquire Chicago advisory firm – The Globe and Mail
Toronto-based investment bank Origin Merchant Partners is expanding into the U.S. market by acquiring Chicago-based InterOcean Advisors, creating a firm with more than 40 bankers in five cities.
Origin and InterOcean advise mid-sized public and private companies on mergers, acquisitions and raising capital, and are among a number of boutique investment dealers created in recent years by veterans of larger banks or professional services firms. The two employee-owned firms worked together on a number of cross-border transactions prior to merging.
“We are excited to join forces with InterOcean,” Jim Meloche, Origin’s managing partner, said in a press release. “With its deal and sector expertise, coupled with an extensive network of industry and capital provider relationships, the InterOcean team will enable us to better serve our US and Canadian clients across a range of sectors.”
Two former leaders of Ernst & Young’s corporate finance team for automotive, building products and other industrial clients – Bill Doepke and Bob Wujtowicz – founded InterOcean in 2006. They named the firm after a Chicago business newspaper launched in the 1800s with a “pro-American industry stance” that became a touchstone publication for readers across the U.S. Midwest. Both founders are joining the merged firm.
Going forward, the company will be known as Origin, with offices in Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Atlanta and Denver. The two investment banks did not release financial terms of the transaction.
Last year, Origin welcomed veteran investment banker Darren Williams as a principal in its Toronto office. He also began his career at E&Y, then went on to become an adviser to industrial companies and leader of the team that covers the sector for Origin. Mr. Williams said: “The combination of our capabilities will expand on the benefits we bring to our industrials clients, deepening our talent pool and growing our network of key relationships in the sector.”
Over the past two years – during the COVID-19 pandemic – Origin and InterOcean have completed more than 25 transactions, advising entrepreneurs and companies on divestitures, acquisitions and capital raising.
Boutique advisory firms such as Origin have successfully pitched their services as conflict-free alternative to bank-owned investment dealers, which earn fees from lending and underwriting equity offerings along with providing advice on transactions. A number of Origin’s founders started their careers at the investment banking arm of CIBC, then moved to independent dealers.
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Investment platform Qooore rebrands as Qure.Finance – Private Banker International
Investment platform Qooore, which touts itself as a social investment platform for Gen Z, has rebranded as Qure.Finance.
Subsequently, the firm also launched paper trading in its iOS app to allow users to carry out risk-free trades based on insights from “finfluencers”.
Qure.Finance will also allow users to practice trading approximately 10,000 securities, including US stocks and ETFs, as well as more than 20 cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The firm will provide each user with $100,000 in virtual money that they can be used to make simulated trades on its app based on real-life market quotes.
The move is expected to help users enhance their trading skills without risking their money or paying fees.
Qure.Finance CEO Igor Sheremet said that paper trading will help to enhance both the financial literacy and trading skills of the community.
Sheremet said: “Today marks a new chapter in our company’s development, as we launch paper trading under our new brand name.
“Thanks to paper trading, our users will not only be able to receive trading insights from leading content creators, but also test them out in real life, free of charge, with no financial risks attached – all within a sleek and user-friendly interface.
“We are making investing solutions more accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of skills or financial resources.”
The company plans to paper trading functionality for Android users in the coming months.
The San Francisco-based firm was founded in 2020 to provide social-media style trading insights from global financial influencers to young investors.
This April, women-focused robo advisory platform Ellevest secured an investment of $53m in a Series B funding round to expand its offerings and product solutions.
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