Essling picks up Amundi FoF team ahead of fundraise

The French spinout is planning to launch a fund of funds vehicle with secondaries and co-investment pockets by the end of the year.

Essling Capital, a French private equity firm, has hired Amundi Private Equity’s entire fund of funds team, as it prepares to launch its debut vehicle dedicated to the strategy.

The team is led by Jean-Yves Lagache, who takes the title of managing director, and includes Nizar Chayeb as investment director and Cédric Cabarrus and Sandra Saad as senior investment managers.

As part of the move, the Amundi team is bringing its institutional investor base to complement Essling’s, which comprises private investors and family offices.

“After spending more than 10 years in a large organisation, we wanted to be part of an entrepreneurial adventure, allowing us to be closer to our clients and more flexible to their needs,” said Lagache in a statement.

Essling plans to launch its first fund of funds vehicle by the end of the year, chief executive Michele Mezzarobba told Secondaries Investor. The vehicle will have secondaries and co-investment pockets, the sizes of which has not yet been decided.

The fund will have a similar structure to the firm’s co-investment fund, which it started raising in April with an undisclosed target, Mezzarobba added.

That fund is designed to be flexible and provide more liquidity to investors than the typical private equity fund. It has an investment period of 12 months and if any capital is not invested, it will be returned to the investor. Investors only pay fees on invested capital.

All of Essling’s funds have a hurdle rate of 7 percent, sister publication Private Equity International reported in April.

“The problem for us is that we need to raise money on a yearly basis and not every five years,” Mezzarobba said. “But we are taking on this challenge because we think we have something to offer in this space.”

Essling expects to raise between €500 million and €1 billion for its fund of funds vehicles over the next 3-4 years.

Essling spun off from Paris-based investment manager Massena Partners in April. It brought with it €1 billion in private assets under management, with the aim of doubling that within three years.