08 February 2021
In conversation with Silverfleet’s junior investment team: Kelsey Bayley
In the first of a three-part series of conversations with junior members of Silverfleet’s investment team, Kelsey discusses her background, including her time spent as a youth Olympic showjumper, her role and responsibilities at the firm and thoughts on the wider private equity landscape. Kelsey joined as an Associate in Silverfleet’s London office in 2019.
You are originally from Barbados; what is your background and what brought you to the London Silverfleet office?
I am “Bajan”. It was a wonderful privilege to grow up in Barbados, as I’m often reminded when asked why I decided to move to grey and rainy London. As it turned out, I was not built for the slower pace of life in paradise and quickly found my way to the high risk, high reward world of Private Equity and have not looked back. Being part of the Commonwealth, the UK was a natural alternative and London, of course, full of opportunities. I encountered Silverfleet when searching for a Pan-European firm with a strong track record where I might build a long-lasting career.
What does your day-to-day involve in the Investment Team? How do you support the wider investment team with the current portfolio?
In my role on the Investment Team, I mainly analyse and assess new investment opportunities across our target sectors and geographies, often working with colleagues across our European offices. If we decide to proceed, I then get involved in due diligence and deal execution. Outside of this, I have the pleasure of working with the management teams of CARE Fertility, a leading chain of fertility clinics in the UK, and Sigma, a component manufacturer for the defence and aerospace industries, as part of my portfolio management responsibilities. I also engage with our Origination team in sourcing new opportunities across our key sectors.
You previously competed in the Youth Olympic Games as a show jumper; did you ever consider a career in sport? If so, what swayed you towards the financial services sector?
Indeed, little did I know then that the pressures of carrying a nation’s hopes on your shoulders would be excellent preparation for Investment Committees! For as long as I can remember I always had two core ambitions, to stand on an Olympic podium and to have a thriving business career. There was a point when I seriously considered a full-time career in sport, but I would have had to give up one of the dreams. In pursuing a private equity career I can show jump as a hobby and, to a degree, have both. Also, one of the terrific things about show jumping is that your expiry date as an athlete is extended. British show jumping legend Nick Skelton won the gold medal at age fifty-eight!
Despite the increasing push on diversity, the private equity industry remains heavily male-dominated; do you have any advice for women interested in private equity or STEM more broadly?
That’s true and I think to change that, it’s crucial that we as an industry reach young women early to let them know that there is opportunity for them to build rewarding careers and that they are wanted. To women interested in private equity or STEM, I would say be relentless in the pursuit of your goals and do not let the fact that these industries are male dominated today get in the way of your career planning. Speak to men and women who already work in your industry of choice, understand what it takes to make it to where you want to be, build a plan and work towards it. I would also pass on the following wise words once shared with me when I began working, “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!”.
You joined Silverfleet in 2019; what do you think sets the firm apart?
I think Silverfleet is unique in its Pan-European coverage of the mid-market and an ideal partner to support companies valued between €25m and €300m to expand across Europe. Moreover, Private Equity is a people business – the people are everything. As a management team, you want to choose who you’re sitting across the board table from very carefully and as a PE executive, you probably want to work with people you respect and admire. Personally, I chose Silverfleet because of the people. One would be hard pressed to find a team with greater integrity and humility in our industry, in my experience.
The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the TMT and Healthcare sectors; where do you see the opportunities lying within these?
Technology and Healthcare have always been attractive investment sectors, in part, because of their tremendous long-term potential and resilience to macroeconomic shocks. The pandemic has certainly proven this thesis. There are myriad opportunities within numerous verticals in these broad sectors. In Technology, I see lots of opportunities where software can help businesses to be more efficient in an increasingly online and social-distanced environment and in Healthcare, those businesses which can facilitate the transition to at home and on demand care are poised to do well.