Looking back: Top stories of 2015

The best of 2015 compiles the five most-read stories of the year.

It was another strong year for the secondaries market, with transaction volume roughly in line with last year, new firms being formed and existing ones being purchased.

Here are 2015’s five most popular articles on Secondaries Investor:

  • The second most-read story focused on Yann Robard leaving Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in July after 14 years heading secondaries there. The article also announced that Michael Woolhouse would be replacing him. Three months later, we reported that Robard was launching his own firm, Whitehorse Liquidity Partners, to focus on providing preferred equity in secondaries, and that he’s raising a new fund, although the target is still unknown. It’s highly likely you’ll read more about Robard in 2016 on this site.
  • Chatter around the fate of Paris-based Fondinvest had been going on for a long while, but after months of investigation, the Secondaries Investor team was able to reveal in September that two US individual investors purchased Fondinvest earlier in the year, establishing a succession plan for founder Charles Soulignac. The firm also returned to the fundraising trail with a target of €500 million. The two investors, Hugh Dunkerley and Daniel McClory, came from US financial services firm Burnham Securities.
  • Coverage of secondaries funds’ terms were popular this year, but none was more popular than our article on Pantheon’s fifth global secondaries fund, Pantheon Global Secondary Fund V. The fund, which is targeting $2.5 billion, held a first close on about half that amount in January. Around the same time, law firm Foley & Lardner prepared a summary memorandum for the Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Association, which detailed several terms of the fund including the keyman provision.
  • Ardian is often seen as a tight-lipped firm so when Secondaries Investor disclosed how the global secondaries firm uses leverage in secondaries transactions, it piqued readers’ interest. Mark Benedetti, managing director at Ardian, was speaking at a conference in Chicago over the summer, explaining that out of about 10 transactions completed in 2014, four had third-party leverage, five used deferred payments and one transaction was straight cash. “There’s a role for leverage, but you have to do it very carefully,” he said.