Meet the judges for 2021’s Next Gen Leaders

This year, for the first time, we enlisted the help of three external judges to choose the top 20 most influential people in secondaries.

Every year since 2016, the Private Equity International and Secondaries Investor editorial staff have had the honour of reading through submissions for some of the most impressive people in the secondaries industry.

We received more than 250 nominations for our sixth ranking of the brightest young talents in secondaries, and this year, for the first time, we enlisted the help of three experienced external judges.

Each judge was prevented from evaluating candidates in their own field of specialty: legal side, buyside, and advisory work.

Here are their profiles:

Katherine Ashton

Katherine Ashton, partner, Debevoise & Plimpton

Dual-qualified in England and the US, Ashton is a leader of the Debevoise & Plimpton’s Alternative Assets Transactions and Liquidity Solutions Group. She regularly counsels investors on private fund restructurings, recapitalisations and tender offers; listed fund transactions; purchases and sales of portfolios of LP interests; and domestic and cross-border co-investment transactions.

Beyond fund-related transactional experience, Ashton’s practice includes corporate finance, debt and equity offerings and financial restructurings. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and from Harvard Law School and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and of the American Trust for the British Library and is active in a number of other cultural and pro bono organisations.

She co-founded the Lawyers Volunteering for the Arts initiative in London, through which a consortium of law firms provides pro bono legal advice to low-income arts and cultural organisations in the UK, and serves on its Executive Committee.

Jeff Hammer

Jeff Hammer, global co-head of secondaries, Manulife Investment Management

Hammer joined Manulife Investment Management in 2019 as global co-head of secondaries. Along with Paul Sanabria, he leads the global secondaries business focused on general partner-led and special situation transactions, and partners with private equity, private credit, and secondary fund sponsors.

Previously, he was co-head of Houlihan Lokey’s illiquid financial assets practice, a unit he co-founded and built into the leading investment banking group focused on customised transactions for holders of illiquid securities.

His prior experience includes Bear Stearns, where he founded, built and co-led Private Equity Advisors, the private equity fund-of-funds and secondary investing unit of Bear Stearns Asset Management. Hammer has held held investment banking positions at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs and is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard University.

Philip Tsai

Philip Tsai, global head of secondary market advisory at UBS

Tsai is global head of secondary market advisory and managing director at UBS, based in New York. A two-decade veteran of the bank, he leads a team that works to provide liquidity options to limited partners and general partners of alternative assets across private equity, real estate, infrastructure and hedge funds. He began his career at Morgan Stanley and is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Business School.


– This report was updated to include a note about the judges in the third paragraph.