Like many good joint ventures, the idea for the secondaries market’s newest tie-up emerged over a dinner in the middle of last year between JPMorgan’s Klaus Hessberger, co-head of strategic investors and financial sponsors in EMEA, and Campbell Lutyens chief executive Andrew Sealey.
The dinner led to a lunch with both industry veterans pulling in wider team members to test the waters further. The wining and dining proved fruitful with the firms agreeing upon a strategic collaboration to jointly advise on single-asset and concentrated multi-asset continuation fund transactions.
The collaboration offers an interesting spin on one issue dogging the secondaries industry at present: the war for talent.
Speaking with Secondaries Investor this week, Carsten Woehrn, JPMorgan’s head of financial sponsors M&A for EMEA, was open about the fact that the bank’s attempt to build out its own team to focus on continuation funds hadn’t found success.
Other investment banks have also had revolving doors when it comes to secondaries talent, he pointed out. Indeed, Secondaries Investor has reported on numerous occasions of banks losing teams and re-launching secondaries efforts over the past few years.
The tie up with Campbell Lutyens brings to JPMorgan an established global secondaries advisory player with a wealth of talent, as well as relationships with GPs the investment bank lacks and which are crucial to GP-led transactions.
For Campbell Lutyens, it gains crucial M&A expertise in collaborating with JPMorgan at a time when single-asset and concentrated GP-led deals are on the rise.
Campbell Lutyens is also retaining something crucially important: its independence. Sealey described the partnership as “the best of both worlds” for the firm.
“It’s one of those things that worked, frankly, very well for us both. We were both looking for how to develop the best offering in the market. We both had a belief that working together, actually, was a better way of doing it than some of the alternatives.”
There is no formal infrastructure or financial incentives bar regional point people in both firms and an agreement on how both firms may charge on these transactions. The proof of concept will lie in the number of successful GP-led processes the pair advise on that result from the tie-up. If successful, we may well see more such partnerships marrying M&A nous with private fund expertise.