Aberdeen taps AMP Capital head for long-term fund

The firm has launched a 50:50 JV with European mid-market firm 21 Partners to tap into demand from HNW individuals and family offices.

Aberdeen Standard Investments has snapped up Francesco Cosulich, former head of Southern Europe at asset manager AMP Capital, to help lead its long-term fund joint venture.

Cosulich joined Aberdeen as head of institutional relationships and partnerships for Southern Europe in November after more than nine years at the Australian infrastructure investor, according to his Linkedin profile. He was appointed alongside Andre Wierzbicki, who most recently worked in bioscience investment, to co-lead a six-strong team that will help to invest a €1 billion direct private equity fund from offices in London, global head of private equity Peter McKellar told Private Equity International.

The fund – which will be overseen by a 50:50 joint venture launched alongside European mid-market firm 21 Partners – is expected to begin fundraising towards the end of the second quarter, McKellar said. The process could last until early 2019.

“There will be a focus here on the high-net-worth and family office segments of the marketplace, given that at the end of the day one of the primary areas for investment activity will be working with HNW individuals and also family businesses,” McKellar said. “It is recognition of demand.”

Aberdeen and 21 Partners will provide cornerstone commitments to the vehicle, 21ASI, he said. It will target non-control investments across Europe and have a fund-term of up to 15 years.

Investments will be identified by 21ASI, its JV partners and other stakeholders, according to a statement. The board will be led by 21 Partners founder Alessandro Benetton with the members drawn equally from both JV partners.

“We’re going to be sector agnostic, but the particular focus [will be] around areas such as disruption, impact investing and also intergenerational change,” McKellar said. “There’s a likelihood we’ll be dealing with a lot of family-owned businesses.”

The fund will also target opportunistic transactions or special opportunities which are time sensitive and with a shorter-term investment horizon, the statement said.

Aberdeen and 21 Partners join a growing list of private equity firms embracing long-hold strategies. CVC Capital Partners is seeking €4 billion for its second strategic opportunities fund, while KKR announced in February it had amassed $8 billion for its Core Investment strategy which will target deals with an expected hold period of 15 years or more.

Such interest comes for good reason. Bain & Company’s Global Private Equity Report 2018 found long-hold funds could generate double the post-tax investment multiple of typical buyout funds over a 24-year period.