Ex-Barclays CEO Bob Diamond’s Atlas Targets $1 Billion Private Equity Fund

Diamond, along with J.C. Flowers alum David Schamis, co-founded Atlas in 2014 to invest in financial services.

Bob Diamond, CEO of Atlas Merchant Capital. (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Bob Diamond, CEO of Atlas Merchant Capital.

(Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Atlas Merchant Capital, co-founded by former Barclays chief executive officer Bob Diamond, is planning to raise a $1 billion private equity fund to invest in financial services firms, according to a person with knowledge of the effort.

The firm aims to hold a first close this summer and complete fundraising about 12 months from that point, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the fundraising is private. The investment pool will be the second for New York-based Atlas since it was founded in 2014.

A spokesperson for Atlas declined to comment regarding the firm’s plans for a new fund.

Led by CEO Diamond and chief investment officer David Schamis, Atlas is targeting banks, insurers, broker-dealers, non-bank financing firms, and asset managers, according to the person. Atlas closed its first private equity fund at $700 million, the person said.

While the firm typically has bought minority stakes in businesses, it has acquired a controlling interest in a couple of deals, according to the person.


This year, Altas invested in Ascensus, the largest independent investment administrator of retirement, education, and employee health-care plans in the U.S., according to the private equity firm’s website. Last year’s deals include Italy’s illimity Bank, European broker-dealer Kepler Cheuvreux, and Talcott Resolution, a U.S. life insurance and annuity business.

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Atlas chief Diamond was CEO of British bank Barclays until 2012, while co-founder Schamis previously worked for private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co. from 2000 to 2014, according to Atlas’s website. J.C. Flowers, led by J. Christopher Flowers, also targets financial services firms.

Atlas has announced two hires in the past few months.

In April, Atlas said that Tom King, formerly CEO of investment banking at Barclays, joined the firm as an operating partner. The previous month Atlas announced it had hired Brian Saunders from Cerberus Capital Management to serve as its head of the U.K. and Europe.