Sarasin acquires ex-Abrdn duo’s boutique in private markets push

Alex Barr and James Witter’s PE business absorbed less than a year after launching

Sarasin & Partners has acquired Bread Street Capital, the private equity boutique launched by ex-Abrdn duo Alex Barr and James Witter.

Barr (pictured right) set up the venture with Witter (pictured left) only last June with the aim of broadening investor access to global private markets, such as private equity, infrastructure, private debt and real assets. At the time, the pair had said a London-listed private markets fund was already in the pipeline.

Barr and Witter will continue to lead the business, which will rebrand to Sarasin Bread Street. They will also become partners in Sarasin.

Bread Street head of strategic partnerships Alexander Henderson and senior adviser Guy Eastman will also transfer to the new business.

The deal sees £21bn investment manager Sarasin secure a toehold in the private markets space. Chief executive Guy Matthews said the group has been “steadily increasing” client exposure to unlisted assets.

“This deal is a natural evolution of our strategy and will allow us to access a wider and more differentiated range of private markets opportunities,” Matthews said.

“Alex and James’ focus on long-term, responsible investing, combined with their expertise and commitment to clients, is completely aligned with our core values, and underpins their desire to work with a company with a heritage of ESG and stewardship.”

Barr added that Sarasin Bread Street would be an “innovative, competitive force” in the private markets space and is “well positioned to capitalise on our already advanced development of specialist products for the institutional, endowment and private wealth client segments”.

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