A $24 billion dynasty’s Swiss firm gives surprise peek at stocks
One of the most sophisticated investment firms for the world’s rich is opening up — just a little bit.
Longbow Finance, a Swiss family office that’s catered to the $24 billion Rausing dynasty for the past six decades, revealed for the first time its ownership of US equities in a recent regulatory filing. The portfolio — 57 stocks valued at $742.4 million — mostly comprised tech, health care and consumer shares at the end of last year, with Microsoft Corp. as its biggest position.
While US equities account for only a fraction of Longbow’s assets — which also include hedge funds, private credit and real estate — the filing nonetheless offers a rare peek into a dynastic fortune built on manufacturing cartons to package milk, cream and juices. The Lutry, Switzerland-based investment firm doesn’t publish consolidated financials or even have an active website.
The disclosure, in a 13F form last month, is a quarterly ritual for money managers overseeing more than $100 million in US stocks, but it’s much rarer among companies that cater to family wealth.
Longbow, which declined to comment on why it made the filing, may have had to reveal its holdings because it hit disclosure thresholds for the size of its investments or due to changes in the people it manages money for, according to Daniel G. Berick, a global corporate practice partner at US law firm Squire Patton Boggs.
Quarterly 13F filings “can be something of a trap” for some family offices, Berick said.
Private investment firms for British hedge fund billionaire Michael Platt and TPG Inc. founder David Bonderman are among those that disclose their US stock holdings. In their cases, it’s because they also manage money for other investors.
Some family offices originally created to invest the fortune of a single person have opened up to the world’s super-rich recently. The firm of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen spun out its investment-management group around early 2022 into a standalone business targeting the wealthy, while that of Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli recently sought to raise more than $1 billion for its private equity and hedge fund division.
Cercano Management, the money manager once part of Allen’s family office, revealed last month it held $2.5 billion in US shares at year-end, including a $408.9 million stake in Microsoft. B-Flexion, the Bertarellis’ investment group, hasn’t made similar disclosures so far.
Longbow’s US stocks holdings as of December aren’t a dramatic departure from the S&P 500 Index. In addition to Microsoft, its top 10 positions included Apple Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. It also held financial companies including Charles Schwab Corp. and Regions Financial Corp., which this month have slumped in the fallout from Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.
The shares Longbow owned last year lost 44% on average — compared with the S&P 500’s 19% drop — as rising interest rates and inflation triggered a market selloff. Still, one of its bets, Exxon Mobil Corp., almost doubled thanks to a surge in energy prices.
Longbow helps manage assets of the Rausings, the family behind Tetra Laval, one of the world’s largest food-packaging businesses. It takes its name and logo from a 1967 book on the bow-and-arrow from Gad Rausing, a second-generation member of the dynasty whose three children — Jorn, 63, Kirsten, 70, and Finn, 67 — control Tetra Laval through a family trust.
Ruben Rausing founded the company that would become Tetra Laval in 1951. Now spanning at least four generations, the family is one of the richest in the world, with a combined fortune of about $24 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Longbow has more than 30 employees, including Eric Verleyen, the former global chief investment officer for Societe Generale SA’s private bank. Under longtime executive Stephan Sommer, who left in 2021, it built up a multibillion-dollar program for alternative investments, including collateralized loans and a fund of hedge funds.
Outside finance, Longbow has bought stakes in Swiss motorsport firm Sauber, Swedish biotech Aqilion and Cox Powertrain, a British maker of marine diesel engines. It’s also invested in funds from European private equity firms and Bancroft and Investindustrial.
“There’s only a few number of families with the level of wealth needed for that range of asset classes,” said Paul Westall, co-founder of family office resourcing firm Agreus Group. “They’re very diversified.”