A London-based investment company with more $1 billion in assets under management has opened its first U.S. office with the goal of bringing its actively managed growth funds to North America.

J. Stern & Co. said it opened an office at One Rockefeller Plaza in New York City that it will use to offer its European-based fund vehicles to investors in the U.S. and Canada.

The firm specializes in deep, fundamental in-house research and active engagement with a focus on sustainable investing with ESG integrated into its investment strategies, according to statements by the firm. Its main objective is to produce above-average, long-term investment returns.

Its primary fund is the World Star Global Equity fund strategy, which launched in 2012. It offers active management with a concentrated portfolio. It invests in less than 30 companies, according to Christian Picot, a principal at the firm and the man tapped to head the New York office. He said that advisors will benefit from the firm’s long-term strategy.

“When you are an allocator and you look at active managers, you really want to find the guys that produce sustainable alpha, who are going to stay on target, [and] not go with what the industry calls their style drift,” he said.

J. Stern & Co. will provide access to the World Star Global Equity strategy to American investors through segregated accounts and a limited partnership (LP) that will mirror its fund in Europe. Since only accredited investors and qualified purchasers can invest in an LP, J. Stern’s priority will be to launch it for single family offices, multiple family offices, and outsource chief investment officers’ channel, Picot said.

The firm is looking into also offering American versions of its Emerging Market Debt strategy as well as a European Stars Global Equity strategy, Picot said. 

J. Stern also wants to break into the retail market and is eyeing opening a distribution channel for TAMPS in 2024. Beyond that, the firm will also open channels for the consultant market and institutional market, Picot said. 

There are no definitive timelines for the latter two channels, he said. The firm will hire distribution teams and a specialist for each. These will be either direct hires or third-party marketing arrangements, according to Picot. The channels will launch when the firm brings in the right people to run it, he added.

The firm hired Picot as part of the launch into North America, along with Ronald Dooley, a principal at the firm. Dooley will focus on the Canadian side of the business while Picot will work in the states, he said.

Both men come from Stewart Asset Management, a concentrated long-only growth equity investment manager based in New York. Prior to that, Picot served as a portfolio manager with alternative fund managers. He also held key global management positions in the investment banking divisions of both Credit Lyonnais and Paribas.

J. Stern has an ambitious growth plan for the next few years as it is striving to gain $5 billion in assets under management by 2025 and the expansion into North America is a part of that plan, Picot said. 

The plan will also include growth opportunities. For the short-term the firm is content to remain the size it is, but Picot said the firm’s intermediate and long-term goals are to expand through logical acquisitions.

“If we do find attractive targets in the U.S. that complement what J. Stern & Co. does, then we want to look at it,” he said. “The company has the wherewithal and the financial ability to look at opportunities.”