Etienne Boillot of Shepherd Capital is one of the most knowledgeable and influential investors within the marketplace lending space. He has quietly built equity positions in many of the leading platforms around the world, including Lending Club, and the family office he manages is one of the leading lenders on many of the most prominent platforms in Europe and the US.
Who is Shepherd Capital?
Shepherd Capital is a Luxembourg-based family office that was founded in 2010 to manage the liquid assets of Pierre Bergé, the former owner and co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion empire. In addition to investing in traditional “alternative investment managers,” Shepherd Capital has actively invested in the US and European P2P lending market since 2010 both as a lender and as an equity investor.
They created the first offshore fund providing access to Lending Club’s LC Advisor funds. They have also spent significant time, money, and brainpower figuring out how to cut through the web of UK and European regulatory and tax issues in order to allocate capital in local markets. They have also structured their funds to accept offshore capital seeking to access US, UK, and European lending platforms.
Partnership with Eiffel Investment Group
Eiffel Investment Group is an alternative asset manager based in Paris with a deep knowledge of European credit markets. They have €500 million under management specializing in corporate debt. They have historically focused on the debt of mid-to-large European companies but have been watching the marketplace lending space for some time.
This week Eiffel and Shepherd Capital will officially announce their partnership at an event in Paris but they were happy for me to share this news in advance with Lend Academy readers. I spoke recently with Etienne and Fabrice Dumonteil, the founder and CEO of Eiffel Investment Group, to discuss this new asset manager..
Eiffel chose to partner with Shepherd Capital because of their deep experience and long track record of successfully investing in the marketplace lending industry. From Shepherd’s perspective Eiffel brings a deep knowledge of European credit markets as well as significant institutional relationships. Together they will be a formidable team in the online lending market.
Eiffel eCapital will invest in the UK, US and Europe
The new partnership will be called Eiffel eCapital (EeC) and will be seeded with €50 million of proprietary capital. EeC will leverage Shepherd’s existing investment vehicles as well as create new ones to address the different markets. They will focus on loans issued by established platforms – they like at least a 4-year track record before considering an investment. They will target 7% net returns to investors after a management fee of 100-125 basis points, less than 1% volatility, and will offer quarterly liquidity. Unlike many in the market they do not charge performance fees.
In the US, EeC will invest through the LCA Funds where they are already a top 5 investor as well as a number of other consumer and small business platforms. In the UK they will focus on the small business lending market where they are already actively working with Funding Circle and MarketInvoice, among others. In Europe they will have already been deploying in France with Pret d’Union and Finexkap and will shortly allocate capital to other countries.
With Shepherd Capital’s long history of investing they already have an allocation at most major platforms, something that many new funds struggle with. Like most other fund managers, they spend a lot of time stress testing their portfolios and they believe that the single most important thing that a platform does is price correctly.
Their investor base is European – providing access to this asset class for large institutional investors and significant family offices. With their three-pronged approach they certainly have a unique offering for these investors.
[Full disclosure: Etienne Boillot is an equity investor in the Cardinal Rose Group LLC, the holding company that owns Lend Academy.]