HarbourVest asserts allegiance to London

After the UK's vote to leave the EU, the fund of funds manager said it planned to keep its EMEA hub in the city.

HarbourVest Partners will not move its Europe, Middle East and Africa hub from London in the wake of the UK’s decision last week to leave the EU.

In a statement released on Friday, the firm said that its London office is its largest outside of Boston, with more than 40 staff members, including 23 investment professionals focusing on primary, secondaries, and direct co-investments.

“We expect London to remain HarbourVest’s regional hub for our activities in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa,” the statement read. “HarbourVest moved into new premises on Jermyn Street and signed a long-term lease in 2015 with the full knowledge that a referendum on the UK in the EU was likely to occur during the 2016-17 period.”

The firm said that in situations such as this, it is “worth looking at events through a longer-term, historical perspective”.

“HarbourVest established an office in London in 1990, two years before the Maastricht treaty was signed and three years before it became effective and the EU – including the Parliament – were formed,” it said.

The firm added that it had adapted to many changes in European regulation, including the recent introduction of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, and that it is confident it has “the necessary in-house experience to handle a transition to new rules”.

HarbourVest said it would work closely with regulators around the world to ensure a “seamless transition” and that it did not expect any impact on its AIFMD-compliant funds currently offered to European investors.

“We expect that all these funds will have completed their fundraising and be in their investment periods prior to any new regulations taking effect.”

HarbourVest said it anticipates “short-term valuation pressures” within current portfolio companies held directly or through fund commitments, but believes the operating fundamentals of its UK and European portfolio companies are strong.

“We also believe that our long-standing, pre-eminent market position will ensure continued access to high quality managers and deal flow across the UK and Europe.”

Shares in HarbourVest Global Private Equity, a London-listed company which invests in HarbourVest Partners funds, took a modest hit of 3.4 percent, falling from 917 pence ($12.24; €11.06) per share on Thursday to 885.5 as of end of trading on Tuesday.