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Si30 ranking: Ardian takes top spot

The Paris-headquartered firm raced past Lexington Partners and Blackstone in our exclusive list of the world's largest secondaries managers.

This is the first year Secondaries Investor has compiled the Si30: a ranking of the top 30 managers of dedicated capital raised for secondaries investments over the last five years.

Click here to access the full list and read our analysis of the results.

One firm is the clear leader: Ardian. The Paris-headquartered investment firm raised $8 billion more than its closest rival, Lexington Partners, having amassed almost $29 billion in secondaries capital since 2011.

“Fundraising is always a long and tough process,” Benoît Verbrugghe, head of Ardian US, told Secondaries Investor. As investors become better educated about secondaries and as the firm proves itself to be a reliable partner, fundraising is becoming smoother, he said, adding that the market has not reached its peak.

“We believe the appetite is there, and as the market keeps maturing more investors will be attracted to invest in secondaries,” Verbrugghe said.

Limited partner appetite for secondaries funds continues to increase, and so it should – secondaries outperformed all other private equity strategies for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System across three, five and 10-year periods, according to a first half 2016 performance document and was also the second-best performing strategy since inception for Florida’s $180 billion State Board of Administration, delivering a 16.6 percent internal rate of return.

“The LP community and investors in general are keen to find yield, find good investments, and secondaries funds look very strong if you look in the back mirror,” said Dominik Meyer, managing director at advisory firm Axon Partners. “The track records look phenomenal and it has been a receptive market particularly for the established groups.”

Despite optimism in the market, Ardian’s Verbrugghe remains cautious.

“We are now focusing on deploying the capital raised while maintaining our strict level of quality,” Verbrugghe said. “Our challenge is to stay selective and keep the same investment strategy that we have been following for the past 10 years while adapting for rapidly changing market conditions.”

Click here to access the full list and read our analysis of the results.