LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, is a leading mid-market private equity investor who has been partnering with businesses for almost 40 years. Since their inception, they have worked with over 600 management teams across the UK to help them realise their business goals.
LDC provide flexible capital to businesses, as either minority or majority shareholders, as well as providing guidance to management teams. Based over 12 key locations throughout the UK, LDC’s current portfolio comprises 90 companies from every sector of the UK economy.
We have worked successfully with LDC over many years and on numerous deals and are proud to call them a long-standing client. Highlights this year include advising LDC and the Babble management team on several corporate deals, advising LDC on its investments into digital transformation firms Aker Systems and Foundation SP and advising LDC on the sale of a stake in education and corporate software specialist, Texthelp.
What did the deal involve?
In November 2020 independent professional trustee and pensions support services business, Ross Trustees secured investment from LDC. Founded in 2010 by Steven Ross, Ross Trustees provides professional trustee and pensions support services, as well as pensions manager and secretariat services through its Ross Corporate Services division.
Over the past decade, Ross Trustees has grown to support more than 100 pension schemes, with asset values from £1m to £6bn. The business employs a team of 45 professionals, with pensions expertise from legal, actuarial, consultancy, investment, project management, administrative and business backgrounds. For the financial year that ended March 2020, Ross Trustees recorded revenues in excess of £8m.
The management buy-out was led by the existing management team, who will continue to lead the company supported by LDC and a new non-executive chairman, Martin Smith. LDC’s investment provides a financial platform for the group’s future growth; it will support the management team in developing the group’s service offering for clients and enable it to expand its workforce. The changing regulatory landscape in the pensions sector, as well as increased corporate activity and business restructuring, is driving demand for professional trustee services. Ross Trustees are now poised to capitalise on the opportunities presented by these trends.
How did we help?
The Gateley team worked hard in 2020’s unusual conditions to deliver a smooth legal service to LDC and the newly created investment vehicle. Our transactional services team delivered full legal due diligence and pensions partner Michael Collins was able to add significant value by providing a bespoke regulatory insight report which involved advising LDC on the evolving governance regime for UK pension schemes and its implications for the independent trustee market. Andrew Cowan and Beth Mather led the acquisition and equity workstreams with support from their wider teams completing the deal on LDC’s timetable using, for what at that time was new to the firm, Docusign to enable remote completion.
Phil Hinson, Investment Director at LDC, said: “Ross Trustees works with an impressive roster of pension schemes and has established a reputation for the depth and technical expertise of its team and its diverse, modern culture. We have been impressed by the vision that has been set out by Nigel and the management team and look forward to supporting their ambition.”
Corporate partner Beth Mather said: “It was fantastic to work with Phil, Matt, Josh and whole the LDC team on their investment in Ross Trustees. This investment will allow the strong management team to enhance what is already a successful and dynamic people business. I wish them all the very best for the future and hope we very much hope we will be able to assist them further with their growth plans.”