Pantheon expands UK secondaries team

The private equity fund of funds has hired former Unigestion secondaries executive Francesco di Valmarana amid increasing activity in the global secondaries market. The appointment brings the number of Pantheon's European secondaries team members to 25.

Private equity fund of funds manager Pantheon Ventures has recruited Francesco di Valmarana as a principal for its London-based secondaries team.

The hire was made in response to increased dealflow in the secondaries market, the firm said.

“Valmarana’s appointment boosts our global secondaries team to 25 investment professionals and complements our substantial investment experience in this market,” Elly Livingstone, head of Pantheon’s global secondaries team, said in a statement.

Valmarana joins Pantheon from Swiss alternative asset management firm Unigestion, where he managed the firm’s global secondaries programme. In 2000, Valmarana co-founded European venture capital firm DN Capital with Nenad Marovac after they spun-out from private equity house Advent International.

The hire comes at a time when the global secondaries market has exploded with deal activity as overburdened limited partners try to shed private equity assets. Boston-based fund of funds HarbourVest has reviewed and priced about $40 billion worth of secondary deals in the first three quarters of 2008, more than all of 2007.

A recent survey by secondaries firm Coller Capital revealed that 64 percent of LP respondents said they will try to access the secondaries market to increase liquidity. Two-thirds of the respondents are likely to be at or above their target allocation for private equity by the end of 2009, the study found.

Pantheon has $4.5 billion committed to the secondaries market. The firm has been active in private equity since 1982 and has $24.5 billion under management as of June 2008. Pantheon is part of Russell Investments.