While the pecking order of the top 10 firms in our SI 30 ranking, released on Tuesday, has slightly changed since a year ago, its constituents have not. Ardian retained top spot, Strategic Partners moved into second place and Goldman Sachs Asset Management and AlpInvest Partners both moved up three notches.
What’s more notable are changes further down the ranking, with five firms making their debut appearances. The common thread? Specialisation.
The restructurer: Intermediate Capital Group
ICG is hoping to capitalise on an expected uptick in GP-led deals. The firm defied concerns from market sources that a restructurings-focused fund would be difficult to raise, taking just over a year to amass more than $1 billion for its second vehicle. And it’s clear ICG is continuing to prove doubters wrong – the firm, led by former Palamon Capital Partners and Vision Capital executive Andrew Hawkins, came in at 25th in our ranking and had invested 40 percent of its fund as of July. Notable deals this year included a $170 million transaction in which it purchased a portfolio of private equity and debt investments from a liquidated debt fund. The firm closed a deal involving Boston-headquartered Monitor Clipper Partners’ 2004-vintage fund in August, marking its fifth deal from its latest vehicle, a source familiar with the transaction tells Secondaries Investor.
Secondaries in a secondary: Montauk TriGuard
The Irvine, California-based firm describes its strategy as “multi-niche” and has raised $1.2 billion over the last five years, coming in at 26th. Its $660 million Fund VII closed in July last year after just four months on the road and acquires LP stakes in secondaries funds themselves. Founded by two former executives from insurer Pacific Life, Montauk’s strategy also includes carve-outs and clean-ups of secondaries funds.
The early bird: Aberdeen Asset Management
Aberdeen may be a household name, but details of its secondaries strategy are less well known. The firm, renamed Aberdeen Standard Investments after its merger with Standard Life this year, has become the UK’s biggest asset manager with $871 billion under administration. It is shifting to “seasoned primaries” – acquiring stakes in vehicles that have already held a first close and by final close hold several portfolio companies, where it feels it can get a better deal than a conventional secondaries transaction.
El Capitan: Altamar Private Equity
Spanish firms involved in secondaries are few and far between – just Altamar and fellow Madrileño Arcano Asset Management occupy the space. Altamar invests in secondaries through dedicated funds, its funds of funds and its VC-focused Galdana Ventures unit, which allows Spanish investors, such as family offices that may have difficulty accessing Silicon Valley, to gain exposure to the sector.
Altamar sailed into the ranking at 29th and becomes one of the eight Europe-headquartered managers to make the list. It is around halfway toward the €500 million target for its Global Secondaries IX.
Real contenders: Stafford Capital Partners
Market sources often say you can count the number of infrastructure secondaries buyers on one hand. London-headquartered Stafford is one of those buyers: in 2014 it acquired Macquarie’s infrastructure secondaries business in a $700 million deal and manages two funds and an SMA focusing on the strategy.
The firm is a pioneer of timberland secondaries – it began investing in the sector in 2003 and is now seeking $500 million for its eighth vehicle – as well as agriculture, of which it plans to allocate about 40 percent of its programme to secondaries.
Click here to view our SI 30 ranking.
P.S. Speaking of exclusive rankings, look out for our Young Guns Class of 2017 next week featuring a fresh list of 20 of the most impressive young professionals in the industry.