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Morgan Stanley steps up in size with latest secondaries fund

The bank's alternative investment partners unit closed its debut vehicle focusing on complex deals just over one year ago.

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners is back with its second secondaries fund, just over one year after closing its debut vehicle focusing on complex secondaries.

The West Conshocken, Pennsylvania-based alternatives manager is targeting $3.5 billion for Ashbridge Transformational Secondaries Fund II, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Fund II is targeting more than the flagship secondaries vehicles of Pantheon, Hamilton Lane and StepStone Group, according to Secondaries Investor data.

Predecessor Ashbridge Transformational Secondaries Fund I closed in January last year, according to a statement that said $1.9 billion had been raised across two vehicles and separate accounts, without giving the specific amount raised for Fund I. The fund had gross net asset value of $89.9 million as of July, according to a regulatory filing.

The transactions targeted by Ashbridge “often come in the form of lifting specific assets from existing private equity vehicles in order to position these companies for continued growth under the stewardship of the incumbent general partner,” according to the statement announcing the close of Fund I.

Morgan Stanley AIP’s secondaries group is co-headed by John Wolak, who is also head of private markets, and Nash Waterman, its website notes. Former secondaries head Jonathan Costello left to join advisor PJT Park Hill in 2016, Secondaries Investor reported.

In April, chief investment officer Neil Harper left the firm, Secondaries Investor reported. He later took up non-executive positions at Turkish buyout firm Turkven, among others, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In November 2018, executive director and private markets investment committee member Kumber Husain left to become Americas head at DWS.

AIP Private Markets is involved in private equity fund investing, secondaries, co-investments and impact investing, according to its website.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment.