Westbrooke’s private debt product: Now retail investors can earn 9% in Sterling; 14% in Rands.

Westbrooke, an SA/UK financial services company part-owned by the Enthoven family (of Nando’s and Hollard fame), is extending its high-yield, low-risk private debt offering into the retail market. In this interview, Westbrooke’s UK MD Richard Asherson and SA-based Jonti Osher explain how the product works – and how it delivers a consistent 9% in Sterling for UK investors; and 14% for those investing in Rand. They spoke to Alec Hogg of BizNews.

Please see timestamped topics below.

00:00 Introduction

01:40 Richard Asherson on joining Westbrooke

02:49 Jonti Osher on doing his CA articles through FirstRand Bank

03:56 The background of Westbrooke

06:20 About the fund and how it was started

09:33 Westbrooke’s track record

10:20 Bad debts

10:55 What gives Westbrooke its exceptional record

13:21 The Westbrooke Income Plus Fund on the SA market

16:37 Rule number one: Don’t lose money

17:16 Whether banks lending less in both the UK and SA has played to Westbrooke’s advantage

19:37 Westbrooke being solutions-driven

20:30 Who can invest with the South African Westbrooke Income Plus Fund and UK Yield Plus fund

21:55 Whether there’s any urgency to invest

Jonti Osher on who can invest

I think Westbrooke as a house is looking to make private market assets accessible to the more high net worth, ultra-high net worth investor base – where it has traditionally been more for an institutional type investor base. So, we’ve definitely structured our products in a way that we believe is the most accessible we can, within the realms of the regulations we’re playing in, and the markets we’re playing in. From a South African perspective, there’s a million rand minimum that would be required to access our Private Data Fund, and that is purely led by the regulations of a sophisticated investor. But as our journey continues, we’ll look to make it more accessible to a wider investor base as time goes by. 

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Richard Asherson on who can invest

From a UK perspective, very similar. It is what we call a sophisticated investor base that is eligible to invest. That’s typically either $100,000 or the currency equivalent. However, if you come through a wealth manager and are advised, those limits can be lowered as you’re deemed to be a professional investor. So the best thing to do is, if you are interested, to reach out to our team or find us on our website or LinkedIn, etc., and we can then take you through the accessibility options. 

Asherson on the background to Westbrooke

We’re fundamentally private equity; we come from a private equity background, and since inception, the main focus has been investing our own capital as Westbrooke, into mid-market private equity opportunities and being operationally and strategically involved in those businesses. So when Jonti talks about our risk framework and risk philosophy – we look at risk very differently. We look at it almost as an operator first, an investor second, and then a lender third. It’s a very different approach. 

Ultimately, you get to a similar conclusion in terms of the capital loss risk that we take. But as Jonti says, we carry different types of risk: illiquidity risk and others in what we do. But it’s a fantastic way to look at what we call credit in our business. 

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