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Campbell Lutyens adds secondaries MD to New York office

Claire Woolston Commons will focus on LP-led deals, which made a comeback in the second half of 2021 as buyer appetite for diversified deals returned.

Campbell Lutyens has made a senior hire on the LP portfolio side of its business.

The London-based placement agent and secondaries adviser has appointed Claire Woolston Commons as a managing director in its New York office, according to a statement. She will focus on the origination and execution of LP-led secondaries transactions.

Woolston Commons was previously chief operating officer and head of strategy at stake-trading platform Palico. Before that, she held positions at firms including Wilshire Associates, New England Pension Consultants and Cambridge Associates over a 20-year-plus career in private equity.

“Claire’s background as an LP and experience as a provider of liquidity solutions at Palico make her uniquely positioned to expand our efforts in providing clients with thoughtful secondary market advice,” said Campbell Lutyens partner Gerald Cooper in the statement.

Campbell Lutyens’ US-based secondaries team advised on over $10 billion of transactions in 2021. Commons joins a group of 12 secondaries-focused managing directors globally.

Among the LP portfolio sales the firm advised on last year was the sale of $1.5 billion-worth of infrastructure stakes by Northwestern Mutual, the largest-ever infrastructure secondaries sale, Secondaries Investor reported.

It also advised Churchill Asset Management on a process which involved $1.5 billion of stakes being moved off affiliate Nuveen‘s balance sheet into third-party commingled funds. Ardian backed both deals.

The LP portfolio market bounced back in the second half of 2021, having been overshadowed by the GP-led market over the previous year due to more concentrated deals being easier to value in a volatile environment, Secondaries Investor reported.

LP-led deals accounted for 48 percent of the $130 billion of volumes recorded in 2021, according to Jefferies.