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Rupert Edis: Family business investment founded on trust and fueled by performance

Rupert Edis, Chief Executive of JPS Finance, Chairman of ELV Associates and Director of Landon Capital Partners
The Chief Executive of JPS Finance, Chairman of ELV Associates and Director of Landon Capital Partners talks about co-investing with family offices and the importance of maintaining both reputation and value proposition.
By Glen Ferris

As the Chief Executive Officer of JPS Finance (the Landon family office), Chairman of ELV Associates and Director of Landon Capital Partners (the direct US real estate and US private equity investment groups of the Landon Trust), Rupert Edis’s roles include overseeing the deal-by-deal investments of 19 European and two Middle Eastern family offices through an innovative co-investment club structure.

A knowledgeable adviser with extensive real-world experience and investment acumen, it’s little wonder that Rupert is held in esteem by some of the world’s most established families of wealth.

It is, he says, a position based on trust but reliant on results. “We’re highly respectful of the fact that the fortunes of our co-investors have been built over generations, it means a lot to them as families and continued success is vital. This is why the deal-by-deal approach we take works so well. We don’t feel it is appropriate to lock our co-investors into multi-year commitments. We show them the deal in which we will be investing shoulder to shoulder with them, and they decide if they want to get involved.

“Our teams understand very clearly the duty of care owed to the families, with whom we have strong relationships. Having to be continuously successful is good for driving performance at the investment team level, but it’s also a function of the respect we give to these families.” 

Rupert Edis
Rupert Edis and colleagues breaking ground at various real estate projects in the United States

Rupert’s approach to working with ultra-high-net-worth families is based on transparency, clear communication and shared values, as well as maintaining on-the-ground investment oversight and personal relationships. As with any multi-generational unit, his view is on the long-term horizon – “One of our co-investing families says that quarterly reporting for them means every 25 years rather than every three months, as in the corporate world… because they have been living on the same land for centuries” – and Rupert has made his reputation understanding this.

“Because of my father’s (British diplomat Richard Edis) work, I was fortunate to grow up living in Portugal, the US, Northern Ireland, Switzerland and Mozambique,” says Rupert, recounting his early days. “I went through the English boarding school system before going to Cambridge and doing two years of post-graduate legal studies in London. Then I spent nine years working with Linklaters as a lawyer, principally in London in ship and aircraft asset finance, which is how I encountered the Landon family office.”

Headed by Brigadier Timothy Landon, KCVO, who was instrumental in the development and modernisation of the Sultanate of Oman, the Landon family showed great faith in Rupert from the start.

“In 2004, John Summers (after whom JPS Finance is named) was gearing up for retirement, so I threw my hat in the ring as it looked like a fascinating and varied job working for a wonderful family,” says Rupert. “I was perhaps a little young at the age of 33 taking over from a 69 year old with decades of experience, but my late boss (Tim Landon passed away in 2007) didn’t have a problem with people’s ages – he had done extraordinary things by his mid-twenties. I have never looked back, the Landon family have been absolutely fantastic to work for and I have loved every day in the job, for almost 19 years.”

As CEO of JPS Finance, Rupert’s personable approach, coupled with a steely business-focused resolve, saw him grow the family’s US real estate business and co-found the US private equity platform in 2015. 


A key reason why it can do well in good times is leverage, which is the same reason it can suffer in bad times. 


“The benefits of investing in the United States are clear,” says Rupert. “It has political stability and the rule of law. It is a vast, varied and dynamic economy with a single currency and ease of communication in English. The energy, work ethic and innovation are palpable every time I go there, which is often. The US economy has been the global success story of the past decade and I expect that to continue – it is no surprise that the so-called ‘Magnificent Seven’ US tech-focused stocks have a market cap greater than the combined value of the entire British, French, Japanese and Chinese stock markets.”

“However, real estate is not always a safe bet,” warns Rupert. “A key reason why it can do well in good times is leverage, which is the same reason it can suffer in bad times. This is why we’re principally involved with real estate development rather than acquisition – there is a greater cushion against bad times since it generally costs less to build than to acquire. We also focus on the growing economies of the South-Eastern and Sunbelt States where the fundamentals are strong.”

Rupert Edis
Rupert Edis visiting ELV Associates real estate projects with colleagues

ELV Associates is clearly working to the positive, with a $3.6 billion acquisition and development value since it was founded in 1990, $547 million in current invested equity, a 17.3% annualised return on sold properties since inception and a 22% annualised return over the past five-year period. 

Its typical transaction size is $100 million-300 million and its largest current project under construction is a 49-floor apartment tower in central Austin, Texas. ELV has offices in Boston, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, while Landon Capital Partners is headquartered in Boston.

“What makes the US market interesting is that you can’t generalise about what works and what doesn’t. It depends on the State, the region, the city and the asset class. That’s why you need US-based investment professionals to, as the Americans say, skate to where the puck is going…not where it has been.”

The same idiom can very much be applied to Rupert’s own outlook on life. While he has very much been shaped by his experiences and influences, he always looks ahead, and advises families to do the same. 

“I’ve been very fortunate with my life and career and have learned something from every job I have had since the age of 16,” says Rupert, “when I started working in restaurants and bars, went on to be a tour guide for US High School students in Europe, a teacher in Colombia, then started to develop London properties while I was a lawyer. I served part time in the British Army Reserve (Rupert continues to pay respect to the Armed Forces, as a civilian trustee of a military charity for the past 15 years), I’ve done a bit of journalism and a bunch of other jobs. I think if you’re running a family office, it helps to have experience across all kinds of areas. Studying History at university helped too, as it encompasses all human experience. And mentors, especially when young – I have had a brilliant one for over 25 years, my great friend the economist Dr. Woody Brock who will be familiar to some of your readership.”


It’s a complex challenge to own and control different businesses which are often growing rapidly in all sorts of different sectors.


Clearly one to follow his own advice, Rupert continues to broaden his own horizons, not least by sitting on the board of directors for many investments. It is, he says, an opportunity to learn and exert some level of control.

“First of all, it’s a stimulating challenge… as the old Wall Street adage goes, ‘you can eat well or sleep well’…which means I often lie awake thinking things over in the middle of the night,” says Rupert of his reasons for taking multiple board appointments. “It’s a complex challenge to own and control different businesses which are often growing rapidly in all sorts of different sectors, from digital marketing to aluminum trailers to office furniture to solar panel installation. We are ultimately responsible for the employment of around 7,500 people in the United States, so there’s a big responsibility to get things right, not only for our investors but also our employees. 

“On an asset level, if you’re investing in a private company and you have control of it, you have insight through sitting on the board, liaising with management, taking regular monthly update calls and ad hoc visits, this can be crucial when looking to time additional investment and exits. You do not have anything like that level of insight when investing in public equities.”

Rupert Edis
Rupert Edis and colleagues on a board visit to an electric vehicle investment in Florida, USA

Landon Capital Partners is younger than ELV, but is currently invested in 15 portfolio companies and it has an aggregate track record of a 3.5x net return to investors, following four exits to date.

“I think in a job like this, you need to be as well informed as possible in all sorts of areas, the variety of different companies, management teams, locations in the US, and the challenges of dealing with those as well as the responsibilities of a single family office are perennially fascinating.”

This all-in approach has served Rupert well, helping him to work with his colleagues to build both an enviable portfolio and a reputation for doing right by those who put their trust in him. 

“I like to see us as a value investor,” he says. “We care deeply about our people and the families we work with. Reputation is key to what we do and the word-of-mouth between family members, sibling-to-sibling, cousin-to-cousin and friend-to-friend has seen us grow and become a continued value-add to our co-investing families, many of which have worked with us for a long time. 

“We know them well and really care about their success. It’s a virtuous circle of great relationships, good communications, shared values and strong performance which binds us together.” 

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