Unigestion makes secondaries, direct investments hires

The Switzerland-headquartered asset manager has poached a Pomona executive as part of a ‘considered push’ to strengthen its European team.

Unigestion, a Switzerland-headquartered asset manager, has made four senior investment team hires in London amid a “considered push” to strengthen its European team through secondaries and direct investments.

Pieter-Jan Frederix was appointed investment director within the private equity team in December 2015, joining from the Antenna Group where he was responsible for direct investments, according to a statement. He was previously with KPMG Corporate Finance, Bear Stearns and private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

Vivien Blossier and Joana Castro have also recently joined as investment managers. Blossier, who will focus on secondaries, joins from Pomona Capital where he spent almost five years and was most recently a senior associate in its London office. His prior experience includes roles at Emerging Capital Partners and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Castro joins from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) where she was a principal focusing on private equity fund investments and co-investments. Prior to that, she was an M&A analyst at Goldman Sachs.

In May 2016 the firm appointed Andreas Georgiades as an investment manager. He joined from Nomura International where he focused on M&A.

In August, Unigestion held a first close on Unigestion Secondary Opportunity Fund IV on at least €177 million. The fund launched in the first quarter with a €300 million target, as Secondaries Investor reported.

“At a time of heightened market and geopolitical uncertainty, small and mid-market companies, particularly in sectors such as healthcare and education, can be acquired at attractive valuations and offer growth potential uncorrelated to the broader economy,” said Unigestion executive director and head of private equity investments Paul Newsome. “Our new investment team members will greatly contribute to this overall effort.”

In July, Unigestion moved its London team into new headquarters as the UK became the firm’s largest non-domestic market. The team had increased to 40 from 25 at the beginning of the year.

In a statement at the time, chief executive Fiona Frick asserted the firm’s commitment to London “regardless of the outcome of the EU referendum”.

“London will remain a key financial hub – for Unigestion and for the international asset management industry,” she said. “The UK is the second largest pensions market in the world after the US by assets, and far ahead of any other single European market in size. It has a huge pool of talent and will continue to attract excellent investment professionals and be a thriving market for institutional investors and asset managers to work together to find innovative solutions for long term investment needs.”