Investments  

Firing line: David Hitchcock

David Hitchcock did not take the most conventional route into the world of finance.

Just under 30years ago, Mr Hitchcock, executive chairman of Cyrus Investment Management, was embedded in Ireland during the IRA unrest in 1986 and 1987 to combat the terrorist threat, and later served as a captain in the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Prior to this, he obtained a history degree at Cambridge University and joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

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His experience in the armed forces has helped him in his current role, he said, adding: “The army teaches you how to be very organised and honest. It has also taught me how to get on with people.”

Months after leaving the army in 1992, for family reasons, Mr Hitchcock embarked on a career in finance spanning more than two decades, first in equity sales at Goldman Sachs, then at JP Morgan where he was managing director for 17 years.

He has since been appointed executive chairman of UK banking at Grant Thornton and has become non-executive chairman from January 2015.

Since leaving JP Morgan, Mr Hitchcock has become an investor and director of British precision engineering companies, acquiring stakes in the Cyrus-RW Group and Bradford Cylinders and has been actively involved in the refinancing and management of both companies.

Now, Mr Hitchcock is directing his attention on his first major fund, called the Cyrus Secured Loans Precision Engineering EIS Fund – which has been approved by HMRC.

It will be managed by himself, Peter Schwabach and Ian Watkins who are managing partner and chief investment officer at the firm respectively.

The fund aims to take advantage of the manufacturing industry in the UK, which is the 11th largest in the world, employing more than 2m people and contributing £140bn to the UK economy, according to Mr Hitchcock.

He hopes to secure between £20m and £40m worth of investment before the fund closes on 3 April this year, to invest in British precision engineering businesses and build manufacturing plants in deprived locations across the UK, including south Wales – which makes the firm eligible for EU grants.

He said: “Most of the businesses we buy out are third or fourth generation family-run companies. They want to sell it to us because they know that we will take care of their businesses and we genuinely want to help build them up even further.”

All businesses acquired by the fund will operate under a uniform managing structure in which synergies across companies in the fund will be prevalent, Mr Hitchcock said.

Mr Hitchcock is no stranger at acquiring new businesses. In 2009, the Cyrus-RW Group, bought out Taylor & Sons from administration.

A blunder over a single letter by Companies House resulted in the demise of the Welsh engineering firm, which had been operating for more than 120 years.