ADIA continues to grow secondaries team

The Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund has hired a former member of UBS's secondaries advisory group.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is continuing to recruit secondaries-trained specialists and has just poached UBS vice president Omar Akbar, two sources said.

Akbar, who was with UBS for nearly five years, joined the UAE sovereign wealth fund in the last fortnight.

UBS declined to comment, and ADIA could not be reached for comment at press time.

Last month Secondaries Investor reported that ADIA had been adding to its private equity investment team over the past year or so in order to target more co-investments and secondaries deals. The sovereign fund’s ambition is to develop a capability to sponsor fund restructurings or spin-outs, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.

Professionals that have joined ADIA recently include Pascal Heberling, hired in February this year from Cinven as a senior portfolio manager for ADIA’s principal investments.

ADIA also made a spate of high-level hires in 2012, when it brought on Craig Nickels, former head of private markets at the Washington University Investment Management Company, as head of US fund investments in its Private Equities department.

Other additions to the team made in that period include former AXA Private Equity chief operating officer Christophe Florin as head of emerging markets fund investments and Colm Lanigan, whose resume includes stints with CSFB, Caxton Iseman Capital and the IFC, as co-head of PE principal investments.

The $627 billion sovereign wealth fund is said to be positioning itself as a formidable secondaries buyer and backer of synthetic spin-outs and fund restructurings.

It is aiming to play a role similar to that of other large institutional investors like the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which has been putting roughly $2 billion to work annually on the secondaries market often via complex restructurings that blend primary and secondary investment components.

On Tuesday Secondaries Investor reported that UBS executive director Jarrett Vitulli had left the bank’s secondaries advisory arm to move to Landmark Partners‘ secondaries real estate business.