The editorial team has spent the summer digging through 200 nominations to compile this year’s list of the brightest young stars in the secondaries universe. In its fifth year, competition was as fierce as it’s ever been, with many a contentious discussion between the judging panel. It’s also our youngest list to date, with four entrants just 28 years old.
This year we’ve changed the name from Young Guns of Secondaries to Next Gen Leaders. We hope readers find this a more inclusive phrase – without any gender connotations – that better reflects why the young professionals in the list have been selected.
These next generation leaders are already shaping the future through originating and executing some of the most cutting-edge deals, keeping secondaries one of the most creative private markets sectors.
Meet the class of 2020.
Blackstone Strategic Partners
If the secondaries market ever fixes its gender imbalance, Erica Seidel will probably have had something to do with it. Not only does the Harvard graduate sit on the taskforce for the Blackstone Women’s Initiative, spearheading the Blackstone unit’s efforts within that group, she is also an active force in talent recruitment and development, especially among women. Called a “rock star” by peers, Seidel has closed on billions of dollars of deal volume since joining the firm in 2012 – when it was Credit Suisse – and is playing an integral role during the pandemic by hosting virtual workouts to keep the team connected.
Industry insiders can’t sing the praises of Sara Huang highly enough, and it’s no wonder: she’s played a key role in building Ardian’s New York presence, has been central to $1 billion-plus of deals every year since 2016, including the record-breaking $5 billion Norinchukin Bank portfolio in 2019, and helped the secondaries giant close its $19 billion eighth-generation secondaries platform this year. One insider describes Huang as “wielding a differentiated level of EQ to match her intellectual capabilities”, while a well-known advisor describes her as “absolutely in that tier one category”.
Montana Capital Partners
Called a master networker, trusted partner and an all-around team player by his peers, Sol Zein is known for the “extremely innovative” and complex restructuring deals he has done at Montana Capital Partners and before that Pantheon. He knew early on he wanted to get into secondaries; his bachelor’s dissertation was on the secondaries market, we’re told. “If the initial proposal doesn’t work for the seller, he knows how to adjust it creatively to reach the end goal of closing the transaction at an attractive price,” says one professional who has worked with him.
Those who have met Jeremy Klepner might be surprised to learn he is only 28; industry peers call Jasper Ridge’s youngest VP “a leader beyond his years”. Klepner has spent his entire career in secondaries, having previously served as an analyst at Top Tier Capital before joining Jasper Ridge in 2015. This experience has earned him a reputation as the family office’s in-house venture capital expert. Despite his young age, Klepner has been called a “strong negotiator who can win points people do not want to give”.
Principal, portfolio manager (secondaries)
APG Asset Management
This is the second time Abraham Tiamiyu has appeared in one of our rankings, having been listed as a Future 40 Leader in Private Equity International’s list in May. The UBS and Pomona Capital alumnus helps lead the Dutch giant’s secondaries business and is universally liked and respected by everyone we spoke to. His deal sheet at APG alone is jaw-dropping: he’s invested more than €8 billion across 30 private equity funds and represents the institution on a number of advisory boards. If you’re looking for a true Next Gen Leader, it’s hard to look past Tiamiyu.
Though one of the youngest senior members of Pantheon, Stuart Cullen has amassed an impressive track record. The 31-year-old heads Pantheon’s investment structuring team, which last year closed 164 transactions totalling $6.3 billion, including 22 private equity secondaries, nine infrastructure secondaries and eight credit secondaries deals. Cullen is praised for his cool head in complex circumstances and persevering where others might give in. As one legal partner says: “I work with a lot of young, talented professionals at secondaries firms but none I can think of that are more deserving to be on this list than Stuart.”
50 South Capital
In his eight years with 50 South Capital, the alternatives arm of Northern Trust Corporation, Nick Lawler has deployed more than half a billion dollars across LP- and GP-led transactions, preferred equity and credit, and been instrumental in helping the firm raise its first traditional secondaries fund in 2013. A frequent presenter at industry conferences and a famously good networker, one of his advocates says: “When you meet with Nick, you walk away and ask, ‘He isn’t an MD? Wow, he’s impressive.’”
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
“I consider him a star and would not consider a transaction without him as my counsel,” says one advocate for Brian Parness’s inclusion. Parness joined Weil Gotshal & Manges in 2019 after six-and-a-half years with Goldman Sachs Asset Management working on “cutting edge” secondaries, preferred equity and GP stake deals with the Vintage and Petershill teams. Astute and commercial with a broad understanding of legal, tax and regulatory implications, he ensures Weil makes the list for the second year running.
PJT Park Hill
Vice-president, Guggenheim Securities from end-2020
Think of some of the most prominent GP-led deals over the last 12 months and it’s likely Joseph Slevin was behind them. The former Coller Capital investor, who is set to join Guggenheim Securities after a period of gardening leave, was a key team member on the single-asset restructuring for healthcare-focused Revelstoke Capital Partners and a tender offer for real estate and credit manager Pretium. Slevin’s buyside experience has clearly helped him with leading origination efforts on real estate and credit transactions. “I’ve worked with him quite a few times and he’s pretty damn good,” says a niche investor.
Mention the name of Patrick Madaus in conversations with secondaries folk and he’s bound to get people glowing. The Pomona partner has worked on over 80 deals representing around $3 billion for the firm and is known for his street smarts, tenacity and creativity in how he approaches the market. What makes him a Next Gen Leader to us is his efforts helping Pomona source high-net-worth opportunities and executing deals in restrictive, rarely traded mid-market funds. “One of the best dealmakers I know,” says a broker.
Kirkland & Ellis*
The NYU law graduate is one of the few triple-qualified lawyers and the only one in London qualified in England, New York and his home country of Brazil. Társis Gonçalves has made a mark in the secondaries market, having advised clients including Pantheon Ventures, Idinvest Partners and Hayfin Capital on nearly $2 billion-worth of secondaries deals. Infrastructure and energy are particular strengths. In the last five years, he has worked on a number of large portfolio disposals including that of Kodak Pension Fund and Kuwait Investment Office.
*Gonçalves was senior associate at Paul Hastings when nominated.
Described as a “rock star” by one senior figure in the advisory space, Tom Ault has executed on more than $4 billion of transactions since joining Greenhill in 2018. The former Adams Street secondaries professional has been instrumental in building the firm’s GP-led capabilities, played an active role in recruitment and been a presenter on the subject of secondaries at the Institutional Limited Partners Association. “His background as an investor gives him unique perspectives on transactions and helps him bridge the gap between buyers and sellers,” says one supporter.
Kirkland & Ellis
Alex Chauvin regularly represents secondaries mainstays such as Landmark Partners, HarbourVest Partners and Committed Advisors, and has played a key role on several significant transactions. She was the only funds associate to work on Warburg Pincus’s 2017 strip sale, the first major GP-led deal focused on Asia, and did such a good job that Warburg brought her on board for a six-month secondment. Chauvin teamed up with the buyout giant again last year, working on a $1.4 billion single-asset deal centred around Allied Universal. She is also a top athlete, we understand, having been a competitive junior skier.
Evercore topped Secondaries Investor’s latest ranking of the biggest advisory firms, having worked on $18.4 billion of deals last year, and Nicolas Gleize had a hand in much of this. The Warwick Business School graduate, who recently decamped from London to New York, was promoted this year to vice-president and, despite only being 28, is understood to have been a lead deal team member on several high-profile LP and GP transactions. “Extremely charismatic and likeable,” says a sell-side competitor who knows him well.
Tom Kapsimalis has variously been described as “market-savvy”, “well-connected” and “a rising star” in the secondaries industry, having worked on more than C$4 billion ($3 billion; €2.4 billion) of deals since joining CPPIB in 2012. As well as helping originate and execute portfolio sales, GP-led deals and preferred equity transactions across North America, we understand that he recently led a strategic review of how the pension can expand its offerings in two new areas of the market. “He is humble, thoughtful and acts with integrity,” adds one nominator.
Central Park Group
Dean Hoang is considered a rising star by his peers and is seen to have played a key role in shaping Central Park Group’s investment strategy since joining in 2016. He was recently promoted to principal, his rapid career advancement reflecting his ability to source, underwrite and execute unique and complex secondary transactions. Hoang is sharp, always operates with professionalism and precision, and understands how different types of transactions can make outsized returns, so say his peers.
Whitehorse Liquidity Partners
Jamie Tucker has wasted no time in making a big impression. Though he only joined Whitehorse in 2018, the McGill graduate has already closed on 20 transactions and over $2 billion of value, including complex transactions involving several household names. Tucker’s industry peers have called the former Birch Hill Equity Partners associate their “go-to” partner for LPs and GPs seeking creative liquidity processes. Though only 31, Tucker is already helping to shape future generations of secondaries talent, having created the onboarding programme for Whitehorse’s joiners.
Described as one of the most “productive” investors in the secondaries market, Eric Anton is the embodiment of a Next Gen Leader. He’s executed on over $2.7 billion-worth of transactions, including Warburg Pincus’s single-asset restructuring of Allied Universal last year. What makes him a Next Gen Leader? His efforts in helping expand AlpInvest’s offerings across real assets (tick) and we also hear he’s involved in recruiting for the firm with a specific focus on advancing the group’s diversity and inclusion initiatives (double tick).
“Jude is without question the most experienced advisor to GPs at his level in Asia,” says one advocate, and from looking at his CV it’s hard to disagree. Wong has played a part in many of the largest GP-led deals to take place in Asia in recent years, including a single-asset restructuring involving China-focused Capital Today, the $100 million renminbi-to-dollar restructuring of Kinzon Capital’s debut fund and TPG Asia’s $1 billion tender offer and staple led by Lexington Partners. He’s also “a really good guy”, and that’s coming from a rival.
A founding member of MJ Hudson’s secondaries team, we are told that Megan Lau has been promoted five times in her seven-year career at the firm. She has worked on more than $1 billion of secondaries deals, as lead associate on 30 transactions, and is highly regarded for her leadership, diligence, accuracy and personable nature. “Surely a template for what law firms need to do to keep up with the market and their clients,” says one senior buy-side professional.
Described as “a rock star and go-getter” by one industry insider, Christina Marsh took on a lead role in sourcing secondaries financing transactions for Nomura after the departure of 2018 Young Guns wildcard Rich Golaszewski. We hear she’s structured and executed some of the largest and most complex secondaries financings in the world, and is praised for coming up with innovative structures to enable maximum flexibility and creativity. She’s also set up a Women in Secondaries group in New York, which has grown to more than 100 members. In the words of one well-known advisor: “She is really, really, really, really good.”