StepStone absorbs Clairvue team, pushes into real estate secondaries

The addition of Jeff Giller, Brendan MacDonald and Josh Cleveland has catapulted StepStone into the real estate secondaries sector.

The StepStone Group continues to grow its secondaries presence, having now absorbed the team from real estate-focused Clairvue Capital Partners and launched StepStone Real Estate.

StepStone began its secondaries practice in 2008 and has grown by leaps and bounds since: it acquired secondaries upstart SilverBrook Private Equity in 2010 and last year acquired UK-based peer Greenpark Capital, after Greenpark struggled to raise capital for its fourth fund.

Clairvue broadens StepStone’s reach as it is a real estate investment firm that has created investment portfolios in the US and Europe through co-mingled funds, co-investment funds and managed accounts.

Clairvue’s founders, Jeff Giller, Brendan MacDonald and Josh Cleveland, previously worked together at real estate secondaries firm Liquid Realty Partners; they’ve all been named partners at StepStone, with Giller leading StepStone’s real estate efforts. Clairvue principal John Waters and vice president Rachael Brittingham have also joined StepStone, according to a statement.

“The Clairvue team’s integration into StepStone has created an exciting progression for the firm’s growth and development,” Giller said in the statement.

StepStone Real Estate will manage real estate portfolios for institutional investors through secondaries, recapitalisations, co-investments and primary fund investments. The group will operate globally with professionals initially based in the US and Europe, although the firm plans to add professionals in Asia in the next 12 months.

The Clairvue team will continue to manage its existing legacy funds, including the firm’s latest fund, Fund II, which launched last year with a $350 million target, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division.

StepStone also hired Dev Subhash, who previously worked at real estate investment manager Cohen & Steers and Citi Real Estate, as a partner in StepStone Real Estate to lead manager research and fund investment activities for the group.

StepStone’s most recent secondaries fund closed in April 2013 on $450 million, surpassing its $350 million target. The firm said at the time it would focus on smaller opportunities in the secondaries market “where StepStone believes it can capture market inefficiencies and drive returns”.