The new head of KKR EMEA brings experience in wealth management, payments, consumer credit and insurance, potentially indicative of more investments to come in these sectors by the New York-based private equity firm.
Daan Knottenbelt joins the buyout house as a member (partner) from London’s Palamon Capital Partners, where he was involved in the acquisition of several UK wealth management and credit businesses. His appointment was announced today, effective from 20 August.
Johannes Huth, head of KKR EMEA, said the firm would benefit from Mr Knottenbelt’s “deep sector knowledge in financial services, and local market experience in the Netherlands and Belgium”.
Private equity firms are becoming increasingly interested in acquiring wealth management firms, and can make attractive backers. For example, Pemira Funds owns Tilney. Traditional lenders sometimes shy away from funding wealth managers, given these businesses are relationship-based and offer little in the way of collateral.
A spokesperson for KKR said investments were considered on a case-by-case basis with “wealth management firms being considered alongside others”.
“The European financial services landscape is subject to a number of fundamental changes that drive investment opportunities,” the spokesperson said.
“For example, changes in regulation, technology innovation, and consumer behaviour are creating opportunities in the payment sector, in consumer and SME finance, in financial technology, in financial intermediation (e.g. insurance broking and wealth management), and in data services.”
KKR already part-owns US wealth manager Focus Financial Partners, which it purchased last year.
KKR employs 60 people in Europe and has been present in the region for 20 years. During that time it has invested about $20 billion in 57 companies.