Atlas Merchant Capital LLC (“Atlas”) was founded in 2013 by Bob Diamond, who has more than 30 years of experience in global financial services, including senior executive positions at major global financial institutions. It was founded to participate in the compelling opportunities available to those nimble institutions able to navigate today’s complex regulatory environment and changing global patterns of wealth.
Atlas takes a merchant banking approach to global financial services investments with a particular focus on Africa and Investment Management. The investments are long-term and in partnership with management, leveraging the experience and operating expertise of the Atlas team to create value for businesses, employees, shareholders and local communities.
Africa, and in particular sub-Saharan Africa (“SSA”), has demonstrated sustained strong growth since the mid-1990s (source: IMF Banking in SSA 2013), which has been driven by several fundamental factors including improved macroeconomic policies, trade and regulatory reforms, favorable commodity price trends, new resource discoveries, relatively strong fiscal position and improved political stability. According to the IMF, this strong growth will continue, with Real GDP growth of more than 5% annually through 2018, outpacing global growth of 2-4% annually (source: IMF World Economic Outlook 2013).
Over the past decade, the services sector has contributed over 50% of Africa’s GDP growth(source: Citi 2012)
Bigger than India's; 50% of Africa will have discretionary spending power by 2020(source: AfDB 2011)
52 cities with populations of 1 million or more, comparable to Western Europe(source: Harvard Business Review 2013)
60% of the world's uncultivated arable land(source: Harvard Business Review 2013)
Proportion of people living in cities is higher than in India and will be 50% by 2030(source: Harvard Business Review 2013)
Intra-African trade represents only c.11% of total African trade, with significant room for growth(source: Harvard Business Review 2013)
The perspective we bring is unique in the private capital landscape today. We will invest, guide, and drive businesses that can benefit from sharper and more focused vision, getting the right talent in the right places, supported by the right technology and enhanced execution. We bring global clout, experience, access to capital, a commitment to good governance, and operational excellence to our partnerships.
Bob Diamond is Founder and CEO of Atlas Merchant Capital and a Director of Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Ltd. Bob was previously Chief Executive of Barclays PLC, and prior to that CEO of Barclays Capital, where he built the investment bank, and Barclays Global Investors, the asset management division of Barclays PLC. Bob also oversaw the integration of Barclays and ABSA’s African business across nine countries in Africa under one brand, and launched the pan-African corporate and investment bank, ABSA Capital. In 2009 ABSA Bank was recognized as the most innovative bank in Africa. Prior to that he worked at Morgan Stanley for over ten years.
Bob is currently involved in several non-profit initiatives. He is Co-Chairman globally and President of the New York Chapter of Invest Africa. He is working with the Atlantic Council and Council on Foreign Relations on instituting an annual lecture on Africa with The Diamond Family Foundation (‘‘DFF’’), where he is a board member. The DFF received the Princeton in Africa award in November of 2013.
Bob graduated from Colby College with a B.A. in Economics and from the University of Connecticut with an MBA. He is Chairman of Board of Trustees of Colby College.
David Schamis is a Founding Partner at Atlas Merchant Capital. Prior to joining Atlas in January 2014, Mr. Schamis was a Managing Director, and member of the Management Committee and Operating Committees, of J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC, a private equity firm that invests solely in the financial services sector. Mr. Schamis joined J.C. Flowers in 2000. Prior to J.C. Flowers, Mr. Schamis was in the financial institutions investment banking group at Salomon Smith Barney (Citigroup), from 1995 to 2000.
Mr. Schamis is a member of the board of directors of Affirmative Insurance Holdings, Inc. Mr. Schamis was previously Chairman of the board of directors of Fox-Pitt Kelton and Ascensus Retirement Services (formerly Crump Group, Inc.). He also served on the board of directors for Symetra Financial Corporation and MF Global Ltd.
In 2007 and 2008, Investment Dealers’ Digest magazine named Mr. Schamis to its “40 Under 40” list. Mr. Schamis graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics and served as co-Chairman of the Reunion Gift Committees in 2005 and 2010.
Will McDonough is a Founding Partner of Atlas Merchant Capital. Prior to forming Atlas, Mr. McDonough was at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Management Division where he and his team of professionals managed the private capital of the current and retired partnership of the firm, across all sectors.
Before Goldman Sachs, Mr. McDonough founded a hedge fund of funds at Avenue Capital Group called Avenue Strategic Partners (“ASP”). ASP invested in distressed debt and credit opportunities throughout the last economic downturn, in all stages of the capital structure. Previously, Mr. McDonough was an Executive overseeing partnerships and revenue for the Kraft group.
Mr. McDonough is also active with various charities, serving as Chairman of the Board for Word Above the Street’s “The Water Tank Project,” and on the board of the Massachusetts Boys State Foundation. He is an advisor to Los Angeles' OHWOW Gallery. Mr. McDonough also headed entrepreneurship and innovation for "Project Patriot," an initiative of Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign. Mr. McDonough graduated from Boston College with a degree in Marketing and Pre-Law.
The Diamond Family Foundation (“DFF”) is a not-for-profit organization that is privately funded by Bob Diamond and his family; the foundation is led by his wife, Jennifer Diamond, who is President of DFF. DFF’s principal purpose is to make grants to organizations that provide access to outstanding educational opportunities for those who lack access in the US, UK, and Sub-Saharan Africa. DFF has a special focus on Africa, and supports organizations that span multiple countries on the continent. DFF supports these organizations because of their efforts in working to end the cycles of illiteracy, poverty, hunger, disease, and child labor that plague some in Africa. Additionally, DFF supports organizations whose missions are to strengthen African governments’ capacity to deliver effective programs to the people through public services, infrastructure development, and job creation, and to promote strong political leadership.