Pantheon eyes Asian secondaries growth

The private equity investor, which is currently raising its fourth secondaries fund, sees its Asian secondaries activity doubling in the future.

The secondaries team at UK-headquartered Pantheon Private Equity sees increased opportunity in the Asian market, as ballooning funds committed during the boom years feed through to the secondaries market.

“It’s evolving quite quickly, because the pace of fundraising into Asia picked up radically in 2005 and 2006,” said Elly Livingstone, partner at Pantheon and global head of the secondaries team, in an interview.

Asia remains a geographic “bright spot” in terms of where institutional investors want to allocate capital, according to Livingstone, “so if anything, allocations to Asia will probably be maintained, despite issues elsewhere in the asset class.

“This is bound to work through to secondaries activity, and in fact already is,” he said.

Asia has historically accounted for between 4 and 5 percent of the firm’s secondaries activity, but, said Livingstone, “we see it as a growth area, both in its own right and relative to Europe and the US. We could imagine the proportion of activity growing towards 10 percent of the total over time.”

Pantheon, which did its first secondaries deal in 1988, is currently raising its fourth global secondaries fund. It has raised $940 million on its way to a target of $3.75 billion, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.

The firm has garnered almost $600 million worth of commitments during the last 12 months; a period in which general private equity fundraising has slowed considerably. Livingstone declined to comment on the fundraising process.