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25/05/2012

The 1st Group has sights set on expansion thanks to a substantial six- figure equity investment from FW Capital

Newcastle-based asset manager, the 1st Group has revealed plans to expand its range of services and enter new markets following a substantial six-figure equity investment from FW Capital, the company which manages the North East Growth Plus Fund.

Co-founded by experienced property directors, Graham McIntosh and Chris Finney in 2009, the 1st Group has quickly established itself in the highly-competitive UK property portfolio management sector.  Its specialist independent service has won the company a growing client list which includes leading high street banks, building societies and lenders as well as major property investors.

“Our management team has over 80 years’ combined experience in property and financial services and our practical approach has helped us win new business and build our reputation.  We’re always looking for new ways to minimise costs and maximise value for our clients and we’ve spotted an opportunity to capitalise on our market insight,” explained the 1st Group’s Chief Executive, Graham McIntosh. 

Changing lifestyles and economic drivers are opening up new opportunities in the crowded UK property portfolio management market and the 1st Group is successfully carving its own niche by targeting the management of property portfolios that include part-exchange for new-builds as well as probate sales and sales to fund long-term care.

The company has also launched its own market intelligence software to ensure it achieves the best deals for its clients.

“We set our sights on becoming a key player in the UK but we knew we could only achieve this with a USP and the backing of a strong investor.  FW Capital understands our business model and has structured an investment that will let us put our business on a firm footing and broaden our client base,” McIntosh continued.

FW Capital made the investment from the £20 million North East Growth Plus Fund which can provide single-round investments of between £350,000 and £1.25 million. 
 
Rob Jones of FW Capital, who led the deal, said: “We’re pleased to back the 1st Group with this investment.  They’ve spotted an opportunity and created a strong market offering by drawing upon their combined knowledge and technical expertise.  We’ve been extremely impressed by their commitment to providing their clients with the highest quality of service.”

The 1st Group is the most recent investment by FW Capital since it arrived in the North East in 2010 and Jones is upbeat about the investment opportunities the fund manager is seeing:

“There are some excellent businesses in the North East who require investment to fund growth aspirations.  Despite the current economic climate, many are still focused on growing their businesses and see investment as imperative to unlocking this growth.”

North East Growth Plus Fund