Ex-Prop Trader Starts Investing Club for Wealthy Families

(Bloomberg) -- A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. proprietary trader co-founded a private club for ultra-rich families to bolster their dealmaking opportunities.

Lex van Dam, who now works for single family office Rinkelberg Capital, set up London-based SFO Alliance with Vesper Investments founder Anthony Rosenthal. Keith Johnston, a former director of policy and communications at the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners, will be chief executive officer.

“Single family offices are a unique set of long-term, often even multigenerational investors,” Johnston said in an email. “SFO Alliance offers them a forum to discuss common problems and find investment solutions to match their idiosyncrasies.”

Family offices are loosely regulated, privately owned entities that manage money for the wealthy. Single family offices, which have just one client, had average assets of $1.3 billion last year, according to research by Campden Wealth and UBS Group AG. The investing operations of billionaires like Alphabet Inc.’s Eric Schmidt, Italy’s Ferrero clan and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing are increasingly as sophisticated as those of institutional investors.

SFO Alliance will host private events -- at the moment virtually -- where family offices can discuss everything from private equity to real estate to direct investments in businesses.

Family offices are also increasingly interested in private debt. The number of family offices active in the asset class has more than doubled since 2015, according to research firm Preqin, and many wealthy clans with money to spend have taken advantage of cheaper valuations during the pandemic.

Van Dam, 51, joined Goldman Sachs in 1992 and ran one of the bank’s proprietary-trading desks before working for Rinkelberg, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“I have worked for a family office for over 15 years now,” Van Dam said in a statement on SFO Alliance’s website. “Most of us come across the same companies and funds and we could save ourselves a lot of time, effort and money if we had our own informal curated network of high quality single family offices where we share our experiences.”

Van Dam and Rosenthal didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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