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PJT taps Morgan Stanley financial sponsors exec for Asia secondaries lead

The appointment comes as market participants expect the volume of GP-led transactions to rise to match LP-led deals as early as this year.

PJT Park Hill has hired a more than decade-long veteran of Morgan Stanley to head up its Asia-Pacific operations.

Jolie Chow joined the firm this year as a managing director and is based in the firm’s Hong Kong office. At Morgan Stanley, she led financial sponsors coverage across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for the bank’s investment banking division, according to PJT’s website.

“Our focus globally is going to be on the highest-quality GP-led transactions in the marketplace, and we see growing volumes out of the Asia region,” David Perdue, who leads PJT’s global secondaries advisory group, told Secondaries Investor. “Given Jolie’s relationships, she’s a natural fit to focus on that for us.”

PJT has always had a presence in Hong Kong and Chow’s appointment is a new initiative for the firm to build out a dedicated secondaries practice in the region, Perdue said.

At Morgan Stanley, Chow was most recently an executive director focusing on Asia-Pacific financial sponsors coverage and was responsible for Greater China coverage of private equity clients.

Asia is a large region with opportunities spanning from Australia to specific sponsor opportunities in the Hong Kong and China alternative asset management markets, Perdue said. “There are large pools of capital in Asia that are beginning to become interested in this marketplace, whether that’s out of Japan, Korea, China, where people think about the high-quality risk exposure that you can get in the secondaries market, and we’re going to continue to focus on all of those.”

Johanna Lottmann, PJT managing director based in London, said buyers are interested in deal opportunities in Asia that are just as high-quality as in North America and Europe.

“There are fantastic assets out there and really strong managers, but in order to get it right, it really requires someone who really understands the assets from a bottom-up basis, rather than just from a top-down basis,” Lottmann said.

PJT’s recent hires include Collin Zych, who will join from Greenhill, as Secondaries Investor reported in December. Globally, PJT’s secondaries advisory group is led by Perdue in New York.

The firm will continue to hire in Asia and Europe, Perdue said.

PJT advised on $14.5 billion-worth of transactions in 2019, according to the Secondaries Investor Advisory Survey 2020, marking a 20 percent year-on-year increase in deal volume. Its 2020 deal activity included Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s sale of $2 billion-plus-worth of fund stakes last year – one of the few large LP portfolios to trade amid the pandemic.

Asia-Pacific-focused funds and direct transactions accounted for just under 5 percent of deal volume in the first half of last year, according to data from intermediary Setter Capital.