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RLPE expands to market new fund

Royal London Private Equity (RLPE) has hired three former Royal Bank Private Equity professionals to start marketing its first private equity offering. John Dillon has been appointed as managing director of RLPE, with Richard Caston and Duncan Johnson joining as directors, based in London. The team will join chief executive and former managing director of Murray Johnstone, David MacLellan and director Peter Linthwaith. The five directors at RLPE have an average of over 11 years’ private equity experience. Based in London and Glasgow, the group plans to expand the team further over the next few months.

Royal London Asset Management set up RLPE in October last year, when Christopher Phillips, who heads the group, recruited chief executive David MacLellan, the former managing director of Murray Johnstone, to launch the fund -see evcj November 2001, page 4.

The team recently obtained FSA authorisation and is now in a position to start marketing the new fund, which is planning to raise up to GBP200 million for investment in companies with enterprise values of between GBP25 million and GBP75 million. The fund will have a predominantly UK focus. Royal London Mutual Insurance Society has committed up to GBP50 million as a cornerstone investor and the fund has already started sourcing deals.

David MacLellan said: “There is currently a tremendous opportunity in the mid-market sector. As a lot of focus is presently on larger funds and therefore the middle market is, we believe, more interesting and less competitive.”

MacLellan has 17 years of private equity experience. He joined Murray Johnstone’s private equity team in Glasgow in 1984 where he was head of private equity until 1997 when he was appointed deputy managing director and subsequently managing director. He joined the board of Aberdeen Asset Management when it later bought Murray Johnstone, but stepped down in May last year.