Former Northern Trust Asset Management President and CEO Shundrawn Thomas has launched his own private investment firm, The Copia Group, with an eye on lower middle-market opportunities that drive scalability and social impact.
He is joined by another industry veteran Anthony Hoye, the former director and senior credit officer in the Global Corporate & Investment Banking group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The Copia Group is based in Chicago and is set to offer a combination of growth capital and the support and resources needed to develop scalable, sustainable business models that generate both equity and impact.
“There is a growing array of untapped opportunities in the private markets,” said Thomas, who is the founder and managing partner of The Copia Group. “This is particularly true of the lower middle-market segment where we are focused. We believe that scalable businesses, managed in a socially responsible way, have the potential to deliver superior results. We add value by increasing access to expertise and resources that accelerate growth and drive impact at scale.”
Thomas left his role as president of $1.5 trillion Northern Trust Asset Management earlier this year. At Northern Trust, he served as a member of the executive management group and collaborated with the CEO, board and executive team to develop and refine corporate strategy, business strategy and governance.
Thomas has remained committed to building diverse teams throughout his career. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago to a working-class family, he attended Florida A&M University, an HBCU, and went on to earn his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Hoye also earned his MBA from the University of Chicago and brings mor than 30 years of financial services experience across credit risk, banking and investment management. Specifically he has spent two decades providing credit solutions to middle-market companies.
“We see a need in the market for more bespoke financing services tailored to the needs of private companies,” said Hoye, who serves as partner and managing director of private credit. “There is also both a need and opportunity to provide greater access to capital for women and ethnically diverse business operators, which is core to our mission. We believe that full inclusion provides the greatest long-term value for investors, portfolio companies and the communities we serve.”
Thomas and Hoye plan on capitalizing on the growth of diverse and women-owned businesses while also taking meaningful steps to close the wealth gap.
The firm has partnered with Morningstar Sustainalytics to develop a proprietary social-impact framework. Copia’s focus on lower middle-market companies means it will be providing credit and other financial solutions that limit the dilution of existing equity owners.