Women of Influence: Secondaries

Women from two managers, a sovereign wealth fund and a law firm represented the secondaries market in the inaugural Women of Influence list.

It’s no surprise to see that Ardian’s Dominique Senequier made the list, but she’s not the only woman of influence to have made a mark on secondaries markets this year.

Including Senequier, four women from the world of secondaries made the list, comprising three investors and a lawyer. Their profiles are below.

The entire inaugural PEI Media’s 60 Women of Influence in Private Markets is available here, originally published by affiliate title Private Equity International.

As women of influence in the private markets industry go, it is hard to look past secondaries juggernaut Ardian’s founder and president, Dominique Senequier. One of seven women to be admitted to France’s prestigious Ecole Polytechnique in 1972 – the first year the educational institution admitted women – Senequier went on to launch Ardian in 1996 when AXA’s then chief executive asked her to launch a private equity arm. The rest is history: Ardian today boasts more than $112 billion in AUM and is known for its egalitarian approach to ownership, both at the firm itself and in its portfolio companies.

As head of Tikehau Capital’s private debt business, Cécile Mayer-Lévi was the architect of the firm’s entrance into private debt secondaries, SI reported in November 2019. Mayer-Lévi and North America head Tim Grell oversee Olga Kosters, head of private debt secondaries. The firm has raised nearly $250 million for Tikehau Private Debt Secondaries against an undisclosed target, according to spokeswoman for the firm.

Under head of private equity Alicia Gregory’s stewardship, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, Future Fund, has established a reputation as one of private equity’s most prescient investors. The fund completed a major rebalancing of its PE portfolio at the height of the pandemic in October, one of the largest portfolio sales ever, enabling it to capitalise on opportunities arising from the chaos.

The A$161 billion ($115 billion; €98 billion) institution offloaded around A$6 billion of private equity assets in the second quarter of 2020. Future Fund appointed secondaries adviser Greenhill as early as the second half of 2019 due to its hefty exposure at the tail-end of a 10-year bull market.

Isabel Dische is an asset management partner and institutional investors team co-leader at law firm Ropes & Gray, where she represents sponsors and investors across asset classes and geographies. She is also skilled in secondaries, regularly representing nine of the top 15 secondaries buyers, and in 2020, under her leadership, the firm advised on more than 225 transactions with a combined value of over $72 billion.