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FUNDAMENTALS

Life in the Fast Lane Richard Hawken has launched a fund that allows investors to put their money into classic cars, a move driven by his own passion for motors. SIMON BROOKE meets a man who’s mixing business with pleasure

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HEDGE

marques and years as well as the right colours and wheels choices.” Hawken left the City in 2015 with the aim of moving into investor relations for a big car manufacturer but his love of cars took him in a different direction and instead, he set up Elite Motor Management (EMM) a company that looked after the cars of high net worth individuals (HNWIs). He naturally approached his old friend and colleague Dalman with a view to selling his services. “Almost as soon as I walked in he said ‘Do you remember that idea we had about a car investment fund?’ I discreetly put my EMM presentation to one side and we started talking about it.” Dalman pointed out that with the fund, Hawken could utilise his 20 years of experience in the City and his knowledge of cars. “He said ‘This role was made for you.’ I realised that it combined my passion and my career.” Both men were well aware, though, that in order to convince investors and to be taken seriously, the WMG Collectable Car Fund, which operates under Mayfairbased alternative investment manager WMG LLP, had to comply with all FCA rules and the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), which regulates financial regulation of hedge funds and private equity. “We needed to be able to prove to

We needed to prove that it wasn’t just another car club. We knew if we couldn’t show that we were regulated then the right people wouldn’t open their doors

people that it wasn’t just another car club,” he explains. “We knew that even though we could point out that we had impressive investment backgrounds and automotive experience, if we couldn’t show that we were regulated then the right people wouldn’t open their doors to us.” The first stage was to get in front of investors to raise funds. The targets were HNWIs, family offices, wealth managers and latterly private banks. Those they approached were interested but understandably sceptical, especially since many had already been presented with other opportunities to invest in luxury and performance cars. They naturally wanted to see proof of concept. Hawken won’t publicly reveal how much they’ve raised since the fund was launched earlier this year, but the target is £50m. The relatively weak pound has added to the appeal among overseas investors. Investors are HNWIs in their mid thirties to mid sixties, often with an interest in exotic cars. The list includes business leaders, investors, racing drivers and celebrities, many of whom already have their own car collections. With capital raising well underway the project has entered the phase that Hawken and Dalman clearly relish. “We’re looking at buying cars now and that’s very exciting,” says Hawken. Multi-million pound Ferraris are high on the shopping list and the price range for investment-grade models in general is £250,000 to £2.5m. Cars that appear on the immediate radar screen include the Bugatti EB110 SS, the Jaguar XJ220, the Ferrari F40 and F50, the Aston Martin Vanquish S, sensibly priced 288 GTOs (if you can find them), Porsche 959S, the last of the Italian Lambos such as the Countach and Diablo, and even some ‘wacky oddballs’ such as the Lancia Stratos. But when it comes to identifying other possibilities Hawken is applying a bit of ▶

PHOTOGRAPHS by Ciaran McCrickard

WHAT DO FAST cars and finance have in common? “The element of risk is there in both,” says Richard Hawken, smiling. “Plus the long days and sleepless nights.” It’s a comparison that Hawken who, with his straw-blond hair looks like a racing driver created by Jilly Cooper, is particularly aware of. He’s recently launched a fully regulated and compliant fund that allows investors to put their money into classic cars – an asset class, that, according to Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index has increased in value by 362% over the last ten years. Hawken’s first experience of being in the driving seat was on a go-karting circuit which culminated in his winning the South of England ZIP PRO 250 Championship in his mid-teens. “That really catalysed my obsession – and that’s absolutely what it is,” he says. “I then moved into cars, winning my first race in 1991 at Castle Combe in Wiltshire. You get hooked, you just want to keep on winning.” Hawken studied business and economics with a view to getting a job in the City alongside his racing career. He still has an international-level racing licence and plans to compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup in 2018 in the brand new 991.2 GT3. It was while working in pan-European equity sales at Commerzbank that he met Mehmet Dalman. Alongside their professional relationship they shared a love of cars. “Mehmet would walk around the trading floor asking other traders about the price of stocks and then he’d ask me about the value of a Ferrari 355.” One day Dalman asked Hawken to buy a car for him. “I’d bought several cars for myself, perhaps a BMW or something but suddenly I found myself talking to the senior management of Ferrari. We went on to buy loads of cars together, many of which he still owns today. He was a very shrewd collector. He knew the right

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Hedge 48 - The Mayfair Issue  

Hedge Magazine - Issue 48 - The Mayfair Issue

Hedge 48 - The Mayfair Issue  

Hedge Magazine - Issue 48 - The Mayfair Issue