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Ex-Siguler Guff secondaries head seeks $350m for new fund – exclusive

Tony Cusano has founded Banner Ridge Partners and hired a principal from his former firm as a partner.

The former secondaries head at Siguler Guff has launched his own firm and will begin fundraising this summer, Secondaries Investor has learned.

Tony Cusano has founded Banner Ridge Partners, according to a source familiar with the matter. His LinkedIn profile shows he is a managing partner.

The New York-based firm will seek $350 million for Banner Ridge Secondary Fund III as early as July, according to the source. It is understood Banner Ridge has already received inbound demand from potential investors and that the firm is eyeing a first close on target as early as October.

CJ Driessen, a principal at Siguler Guff, has joined Cusano at Banner Ridge as a partner, the source added.

Banner Ridge mainly focuses on buying fund stakes managed by general partners where their primary investment mandate is characterised by distressed, special situations and credit, according to job advertisements for the firm on LinkedIn.

The firm will seek to hire as many as five additional staff this year. These include the three positions of investment analyst, a principal of operations and chief compliance officer, and an office manager and investor relations professional, according to the job adverts.

Secondaries Investor reported in March that Cusano had left Siguler Guff. He ranked fourth in the 2017 Young Guns of Secondaries list of the most impressive industry professionals under 36. Prior to joining the firm in 2010 he worked on distressed research at StepStone, where he analysed global distressed debt and special situations opportunities, according to his LinkedIn profile.

LPs in Siguler Guff Secondary Opportunities Fund, the firm’s 2016-vintage $336.7 million latest secondaries vehicle, include Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association and New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, according to Secondaries Investor data.

Cusano declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Siguler did not return requests for comment regarding Driessen’s departure.