Credit Suisse to bolster secondaries focus

The bank’s Customized Fund Investment Group wants to hire a senior-level secondary executive in the wake of the bank’s sale of its secondaries platform, Strategic Partners.

Credit Suisse’s Customized Fund Investment Group wants to build up its focus in private equity secondaries, making use of its extensive fund of funds platform to generate opportunities, according to a discussion during a public meeting and a person with knowledge of the bank.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

The bank’s plans were revealed during a public meeting of the Texas Board of Education in April. The board was deciding which firm to award a three-year, $900 million private equity mandate – Credit Suisse or Neuberger Berman — for the Texas Permanent School Fund. The board eventually chose Neuberger Berman.

During the meeting, board members and staff discussed Credit Suisse’s plans to hire a “senior level” secondary executive, to help “round out their secondary capabilities”, said board of education member Thomas Ratliff.

In subsequent interviews, a source in the secondary market confirmed that Credit Suisse is hiring for a senior level secondaries executive.

The move comes shortly after Credit Suisse announced the sale of its private equity secondary platform, known as Strategic Partners, to The Blackstone Group. It’s not clear if the two groups, secondaries and fund of funds, worked together under the Credit Suisse umbrella, but one source said the bank kept the two businesses separate.

Credit Suisse also is selling CFIG, and one source speculated that adding a secondaries practice to the fund of funds team would likely add value to the group ahead of any sale.

Other large fund of funds groups also have secondary teams that generate deal flow from the funds platforms. AXA Private Equity, for example, has a huge fund of funds and a large secondaries practice that uses the knowledge on the funds side to generate opportunities.