Client profile - Salamanca Group

 

Lubbock Fine client, Salamanca Group, is a privately held, dynamic merchant banking
business based on traditional merchant banking practices and values – with a twist.

It builds highly valued, long-term relationshipswith individuals, corporates, institutions and governments, offering strategic advice and specialist know-how across a broad spectrum of areas. Salamanca Group always puts the client at the centre, ensuring a collaborative approach in order to enable businesses to protect their assets and grow their capital.

Background

The business was co-founded in 2002 by Martin Bellamy, then as Salamanca Capital. Initially focused on structured investments in the UK real estate market, it rapidly expanded into international markets with diversification soon providing other tangible asset investment opportunities such as metals and mining, industrials and infrastructure. Over time, the early incarnation evolved into the current day Salamanca Group, a diverse business offering a range of investment, corporate advisory, real estate and private client services.

Bringing us on board

We now act as accountants, tax advisors and auditors for the Group. Salamanca’s Group Finance Director is Lee Camp, an alumnus of Lubbock Fine, having spent nine years training, qualifying as a chartered accountant and working with us before eventually leaving to join one of our clients.

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Lee Camp

"In my opinion,” says Lee, “my Lubbock Fine training was world class providing a solid
foundation for me to build and develop my career. When seeking training contracts, many graduates won't realise that it's not all about an international firm’s name on the CV. The old adage of "who you know" may get you in the door but it’s "what you know" that keeps you there. Working at Lubbock Fine gave me exposure to all areas of finance including accounting, audit, tax and corporate finance; the essential ingredients to understand how business 'ticks' and more importantly, what drives business performance.

Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday 18 July 2018 - a long walk to freedom

Salamanca Group is mandated as the advisor to Mandela Concerts. To celebrate Nelson
Mandela’s 100th birthday, Mandela Concerts will host several worldwide charitable music
concerts on the 18th July 2018. It will be a commemoration of Nelson Mandela's achievements and provide a platform to promote his legacy internationally – liberating children from poverty through improved literacy and numeracy skills.

As the advisor, the Group is developing a detailed financial model sourcing investment
to provide financing for the venture and is providing a range of other operational support.
In addition, the Group is a shareholder in Centenary Concerts, the operational company
behind Mandela Concerts, and two members of the Salamanca Group board sit on the board of Mandela Concerts (UK) Ltd. Salamanca Group’s London office will be used as a base for the company outside of South Africa. Lubbock Fine and our various associated Russell Bedford firms will be acting internationally for Salamanca through this project.

Mandela Concerts aims to raise millions from the centenary event to go towards the Nelson Mandela Literacy Project and funds will also be used to build learning centres in each host city.

Already recognised by the UN as Nelson Mandela International Day or ‘Mandela Day’, the 18th July recognises the 67 years Mandela gave to the world in his fight for social justice and equality.

Over the next 10 years, Mandela Concerts will continue fundraising initiatives to improve child literacy and numeracy rates locally, nationally and internationally through centres of learning and digital platforms.

Moving forward

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Martin Bellamy

“Salamanca Group has used Lubbock Fine for a number of years as the Group’s accountants and tax advisors and more recently, as auditors too. As an entrepreneurial merchant bank, Lubbock Fine has been our ideal accounting partner, catering to our diverse and challenging requests. Our relationship with Lubbock Fine has grown from strength to strength and we very much value their dedication and friendly business nature.” Martin Bellamy, Salamanca Group Chairman and CEO.

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Jeff Gitter

“Salamanca Group is a great client and perfect match for us,” explained Lubbock Fine senior partner, Jeff Gitter. “As their confidence in our service and expertise has grown, they have sent more and more of their business our way. We’re very much on the same page in our approach to business with both organisations believing in the value of a truly responsive service and putting the client first – to ensure a jointly beneficial approach. As a result, along with moving more of their own business over to us, they’ve also directed several of their clients our way. I really couldn’t be more delighted with the way this relationship has developed and we all look forward to a long and mutually profitable association going forward.

Salamanca’s scope of business

The Group has diverse interests from financial advisory on emerging technologies, advising on high end real estate acquisitions through to direct investments within the luxury marine space. It acquired OneOcean Port Vell Barcelona in 2010 as part of a continuing focus to secure asset backed opportunities with strong value enhancement and growth potential. In 2017, after a successful transformation, the Group sold the marina as a pre-eminent superyacht marina in the Mediterranean. It is continually seeking further opportunities in the luxury marine space under OneOcean Ventures, which delivers superior services and facilities dedicated to superyacht owners and their crew.

The Group’s Corporate Advisory service provides hands-on, trusted strategic and financial advice to corporates and owners looking to grow and crystallise value. They work with private business owners, public companies, financial sponsors and high net worth professional clients. Drawing on a broad international network, sectoral expertise
and cross border experience, they have over 100 years combined transaction experience acting on deals in excess of $50 billion. As advisors to businesses through the life cycle, from startups to sales, the group has more recently seen a steady rise and growing trend in requests to act as advisors to financial technology (Fintech) businesses. This summer, the Group completed a series A funding round for Proplend, the online marketplace for secured commercial mortgages, and has commenced a second fund raise. Proplend (one of the few Fintech peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders approved by HMRC to take in tax efficient ISA money) has access to facilitate loans on an estimated £270 billion of such funds. It is the first platform allowing individuals and institutions direct access to UK commercial real estate opportunities with investments starting at £1,000.

The Group has continued strengths in Real Estate and has in-house experts in Commercial and Residential Real Estate with a focus on London. The majority of transactions are off-market sales and acquisitions, and the team will follow up
with asset and property management.

It also has a buoyant private client team offering personal assistance to clients. That team specialises in value added services for those moving to, living in or relocating to London and the surrounding areas. The in-house team has unrivalled expertise in relocation and facilitation, off-market residential real estate acquisitions and education advisory to address childrens’ ever evolving educational needs and supports its clients lifestyle needs.

As a bolt on, to support all cross-border transactions, the Group also offers foreign
exchange services. They partner an understanding of the clients’ requirements and their currency exposure with monitoring currency markets in real-time in order to provide a range of solutions which offer the best transaction approach to mitigate against market volatility.

Global opportunities in an unstable world

Despite the somewhat unstable global economy resulting from, for example, Brexit, Trump’s surprise election victory and other populist movements, Salamanca has some exciting opportunities in the pipeline. As an example, Lord David Triesman, Salamanca’s Group Director, is responsible for developing new business opportunities, specifically in Cuba, which is now opening its doors to foreign investment. With over 40 years’ experience working with Cuban leaders and their Ambassadors in London, he was responsible for Anglo-Cuban relations as a Foreign Office Minister in the mid 2000’s. Exploring this deep connection has allowed Salamanca to be part of the opening of Cuba to foreign investment. Led by Lord Triesman, this initiative is creating a new financial hub in the form of the first foreign owned investment bank in Cuba as a joint venture between Salamanca Group and Havin Bank.

"Now, as a client, I have worked with a number of accountancy firms and have learned first hand that an expensive Big 4 price ticket isn't always a sign of quality! My view is that Lubbock Fine provides a first rate service and impeccable technical advice delivered in a no jargon, easy to understand format at a sensible price." Lee Camp Financial director.

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