At 18 years of age Jeremy Norton left his private school rugby mates and went to London. In 1998 he picked up his swag again and went to New York to trade U.S. Treasuries for Fuji Bank.
But this year Norton returned home as the managing principal of a company eager to be the “toll booth,” in his words, between hedge funds, private equity funds and other alternate investments and private bankers and advisers.
Capital Integration Systems LLC was formed in 2009 in New York by Norton, Matt Brown and Rafay Farooqui.
“It was a good time to build a business,” says Norton. “We just put our heads down.”
In 2010 several wealthy families became investors in CAIS’s company. The founders still retain collectively a majority stake.
CAIS trumpets itself as the only global independent platform that serves private banks and wealth advisers who don’t have their own platforms for alternative investments.
Mercer Investor Consulting does the due diligence of funds that wish to be on the CAIS platform.
“If Mercer doesn’t like a fund we remove it,” says Norton, who dresses in mauve shirts, cuff links and figure hugging dark blue suits.
State Street Corp. is the administrator and custodian of all funds. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. acts as auditor and Sidley Austin LLP are legal counsel.
“We try and be conflict free,” says Norton.
He won’t disclose the amount of money on CAIS’s platform or the fees it charges, though they are some basis points of assets under management.
CAIS is the alternative investment platform for U.S. brokers Jeffries, Dominck & Dominick, Australian firms Evans and Partners and BBY.
Norton says CAIS has a web-based portal that is used more than 1,000 advisers who can download prospectus, attend manager road shows, listen to manager calls and read Mercer reports.
“There is a growing universe of boutique and independent wealth advisers as well as Asian banks starting to compete with the global private banks,” says Norton.