Evercore springs into secondaries

With the ‘surprising’ hiring of former UBS secondaries executives Nigel Dawn and Nicolas Lanel, Evercore has almost overnight become a major player in the secondaries world.

Evercore Partners has vaulted into the secondary advisory business, bringing on long-time UBS secondaries veteran Nigel Dawn and former UBS senior secondaries executive Nicolas Lanel to run its newly launched secondary business.

UBS announced Dawn’s departure from the bank in late June, characterising it as a “retirement”, and said its secondary advisory business, one of the most well-known in the industry, would be co-led by Philip Tsai and Lanel. It’s unclear what changed from the time UBS made its announcement.

UBS confirmed Lanel’s departure, but declined to comment further. However, sources with knowledge of the situation said Dawn’s and Lanel’s emergence at Evercore was ‘surprising’.

At Evercore, Dawn will run the overall “Private Capital Business”, while Lanel will head up the European operations, the firm said in a statement. The business will be owned by Evercore, though key principals like Dawn and Lanel will take minority stakes, the firm said. The business is expected to launch in the second half of the year following the recruiting of additional personnel in North America and Europe, Evercore said.

“We believe this business leverages the relationship network and market presence of our firm,” Ralph Schlosstein, president and chief executive officer of Evercore, said in the statement. In other words, the secondary advisory business is a strong complement to the firm’s private placement business.

UBS has long been a major player helping sellers on the secondary market get their deals done. Some of its more recent successes have included helping guide the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation through its first-ever secondary sale, and assisting the New York City Retirement System in selling an about $1 billion chunk of its private equity portfolio.

The bank’s secondary advisory business has competed with Cogent Partners for some of the biggest mandates in the market, but other players have sprung up, including Campbell Lutyens, which helped sell one of the largest secondary offerings in Europe when a collection of Swedish insurers known as the Länsförsäkringar Alliance sold off a €1.5 billion chunk of its private equity portfolio; Park Hill Group, which has been expanding its secondary advisory team, Greenhill & Company and Houlihan Lokey.

With the hiring of strong talent from UBS, Evercore has almost instantly put itself on the map in terms of secondary advisory work, several secondary sources told Private Equity International Wednesday.