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Looking back: Top people stories of 2018

A look back at the biggest moves in secondaries this year including two founders handing over the reins to their firms.

It was another exciting year of poaching, departures, resignations and retirements in the world of secondaries, including at least two new firms tossing their hats into the buyside ring.

Here are the top five most notable people moves this year:

1. BlackRock poaches Goldman Sachs’s Steve Lessar and Konnin Tam

In a move that got the whole market talking, the world’s largest asset manager hired two executives from Goldman’s Vintage funds programme to launch a secondaries business. The pair joined in July and are attempting to build up the team. They have hired Jasper Ridge Partners’ Veena Isaac, who is set to join in early 2019.

2. Lexington Partners’ Brent Nicklas hands over the reins

After founding the firm 25 years ago, Nicklas decided to relinquish day-to-day control of the secondaries powerhouse to Wilson Warren, who became president. Nicklas assumed the role of non-executive chairman.

The news was followed by the September departure of investor relations head and partner Rebecca John, a 17-year veteran of the firm.

3. Strategic Partners’ Stephen Can stands aside

The Blackstone secondaries unit’s co-head and senior managing director told investors in May he was to stand back from the day-to-day running of the business. Can will assume the role of executive chairman in February and is expected to retire from the firm within a few years.

The move was followed in July by the departure of long-standing directors Brian Kolin and Boriana Karastoyanova, who had joined Credit Suisse Strategic Partners before its 2013 acquisition.

4. Ardian’s Dominique Gaillard leaves executive committee

The secondaries giant’s managing partner stepped aside to make way for four fresh faces in January. Gaillard has been with the Paris-headquartered investment firm since 1997 and continues as head of direct funds, remains an executive director and keeps his place on the firm’s investment committee.

5. UBS hires Credit Suisse’s Marc Wursdorfer

After 15 years at the Swiss rival, Wursdorfer joined UBS in January as its first EMEA head within the bank’s private funds group. At Credit Suisse, he had been responsible for primary capital raising in the Nordics and sourcing secondaries deals.

Other notable moves include: