Mark McDonald on why he joined Deutsche

How many hires? What targets? Why the buyside? Deutsche Asset Management's new head of secondaries speaks to Secondaries Investor.

Mark McDonald, Deutsche Asset Management’s newly appointed secondaries head, joined the investment bank in November to rebuild its team following the unit’s spin-out that formed Glendower Capital. He tells Secondaries Investor about his plans.

Mark McDonald

What sized team are you planning to build and which part of the secondaries market will you focus on?

We have a team of 10 and will build on this in the new year. The plan is to leverage the multi-disciplinary skillsets and relationships of the team in direct, fund and secondaries private equity investing as well as legal, advisory, investor relations and operations. Our thesis is to access attractive assets in unique ways; being more of a partner in providing solutions versus a more “traditional” secondaries investor.

Do you have plans to raise a fund or invest deal by deal? If raising a fund, do you have a target in mind?

While we cannot comment on future fundraising, it is our mandate to serve the private equity needs of our investors in a fiduciary manner. We are considering various options and formats to fulfill this mandate.

What was attractive about the Deutsche platform that enticed you to join and rebuild its private equity secondaries team?

I saw a global platform which was reshaping its private equity offering to be aligned with the growth and innovation in alternatives. It’s rare to get the opportunity to build a business from the ground up, which marries the entrepreneurial, insightful and strategic – but is also robustly institutional and with an experienced team in place. As I look at how the market is developing – and will continue to develop over the coming years – I believe this is a powerful combination to do something that can deliver strong returns through a truly differentiated strategy.

Your title is global head of secondaries. From which other global offices will your team operate from and what are your plans for staffing up those offices?

The core of our team is in London, but with Deutsche Asset Management’s global presence, we’ll look to access opportunities through various channels and relationships and develop our teams in the US and Asia-Pacific depending on the opportunity set.

How do you see your recent experience on the advisory side playing a role now on the buyside?

I had 14 years of buyside investment experience before the advisory side, which I think was helpful in getting all of our deals over the line, as well as winning awards for some innovative, landmark transactions. Returning now to the buyside, I feel that I gained a unique 360 degree perspective which, combined with our team’s global investment experience, can be used for the benefit of future investment partners.

What is your vision for your new team and how will it be different to the previous team that spun out in August?

We aim to be an entrepreneurial, best-in-class solutions provider versus a more “traditional” secondaries investor. We will continue to partner with the prior team (now Glendower Capital) with whom we have entered into a portfolio management services agreement since August. Deutsche Asset Management remains the regulated manager with ultimate regulatory responsibility for portfolio management, risk management and investor relations for the $2 billion Private Equity Secondary Opportunities Fund “SOF” programme.

Mark McDonald is global head of private equity secondaries at Deutsche Asset Management based in London. Prior to joining, he spent four-and-a-half years at Credit Suisse where he was most recently its global secondaries head, and has experience at Keyhaven Capital Partners and Pomona Capital.