Asset Management Advisors hires SunTrust PE team(3)

The Palm Beach, Florida-headquartered family office advisory firm has hired the former SunTrust Equity Partners team to boost its private equity investments.

Florida-based Asset Management Advisors now has a dedicated division for the private equity investments it makes on behalf of 11 East Coast families.
AMA, which manages nearly $11 billion (€8 billion) in capital, has hired a four-person team that formerly led SunTrust Equity Partners, the private equity division of Atlanta-based bank SunTrust.
Suntrust, which owns 70 percent of AMA, has since wound down its private equity arm.
The team consists of Ted Mayden, Ken Millar, Jeff McNeill and David Cusimano, who, in their six years together at SunTrust Equity, committed more than $360 million to 42 venture and private equity funds. They averaged a 27 percent internal rate of return on investments, according to Andrew Mehalko, AMA’s chief investment officer.
“We felt the need to bring in a team with some depth and experience to leverage relationships in the private equity side of the business,” said Mehalko.
AMA allocates approximately 40 percent of its clients’ capital to alternative assets, but in the past 13 years has invested in private equity largely on an opportunistic basis, he said.
While it has invested with big-name firms including The Blackstone Group, DE Shaw and Oak Hill Capital, AMA hopes to greatly enhance its private equity activities.
“In the past we’ve been missing opportunities because we didn’t have the ability to write a big check and we didn’t have the [industry experience],” he said. “The firm, in the early years, was small – we only had a few families, and therefore we didn’t have enough size or scale to create a fund of funds or co-investment structure.”
AMA expanded significantly in 2001: That year the firm went from 20 employees to 250 employees and increased its assets under management from less than $1 billion to $10.5 billion.
Last month it held two first closes on private equity vehicles, a fund of funds and a co-investment fund. Upon their final close, expected in the third quarter, they will together total about $100 million.
The new investment vehicles and its new private equity team will allow AMA better access to the world’s private equity players and create greater investment flexibility for its family offices, Mehalko said.
Its new private equity team will make investments of up to $20 million per investment, both in direct investments and in various funds.