Manulife sets target for secondaries fund

The fund will be seeded by a portfolio of 12 GP-led investments made using the Canadian insurer's general account, Secondaries Investor has learned.

Manulife Investment Management is set to come to market with its debut secondaries fund.

The investment unit of Canada’s largest insurer is targeting $750 million for the vehicle, with Manulife committing up to $200 million, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. Manulife Strategic Secondaries Fund will begin marketing in the coming months.

The secondaries investment team has made 12 GP-led investments off Manulife’s general account since it was formed in the second half of 2019, according to an investor presentation. These assets will be used to seed the new fund and could account for up to 50 percent of its initial size, Secondaries Investor understands.

Manulife declined to comment on fundraising.

Secondaries Investor reported in October 2019 that Manulife had hired former Houlihan Lokey executives Jeff Hammer and Paul Sanabria to build out a secondaries team. The following August it added director Jeffrey Jack from Coller Capital and associate director Peter O’Hanlon, who spent three years at HarbourVest Partners.

In a Q&A with Secondaries Investor in November 2019, Hammer, Sanabria and global head of private markets Stephen Blewitt said the unit would focus on mid-market private equity and private credit deals on a global basis, as well as participating in larger transactions as a syndicate member.

These may ultimately raise funds dedicated to GP-led deals in other asset classes, such as private equity, private credit, real estate and other real assets, Hammer said.

GP-led transactions accounted for 60 percent of secondaries market volumes in the first half, a full 10 percentage points higher than in full-year 2020, according to Evercore’s half-year report.