Chester joins placement agent MVision

The former director of private equity for the New York State Common Retirement Fund will join the UK placement agent as a director.

( Paula Chester, the former director of private equity for the $100bn New York State Common Retirement Fund, where she was responsible for a portfolio of over $16bn of commitments in alternative investments and real estate opportunity funds, has joined UK placement agency MVision as a director of the firm’s New York-based US operation, MVision Private Equity Advisers USA.


“MVision is committed to providing its clients with the disciplines and resources traditionally found in the bigger firms and the dedicated delivery of customised advisory services that are the hallmark of independent firms,” Chester said in a statement. “We have the same philosophy when it comes to looking after investors, and the firm’s operational style has been established to meet the needs of both LPs and GPs as the private equity market matures and develops further.”


Chester became director of private equity at the New York State Common Retirement Fund in 1999 when she switched to the position from her role as general counsel to then-comptroller H Carl McCall. She stayed with the Fund until resigning in December 2002.


New York’s pension, valued at roughly $100bn, is one of the biggest backers of private equity in the US Chester oversaw a portfolio of over $15.5bn of commitments in alternative investments and real estate.


In 2000, Chester reportedly said her group would commit between $1.2bn and $1.5bn per year to private equity partnerships. Last year, the pension committed capital to a number of firms, including Warburg Pincus, Blum Capital Partners, JP Morgan Partners, The Blackstone Group and mezzanine debt specialist Oaktree Capital Management. Chester’s private equity group also focused on managers specializing in emerging minority-and women-owned businesses.


Prior to her appointment as counsel to the comptroller, Chester served as general counsel to the New York City Comptroller from 1990 to 1993. Before joining the City Comptroller's office, Chester served as associate and later partner in the firm of Berger & Steingut. Between 1977 and 1981, she worked for the US Securities and Exchange Commission.


“Paula is a professional with an extraordinary depth of experience in the private equity investment field, having led the private equity team at one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated investors in the asset class,” Mounir Guen, chief executive officer of MVision, said in the statement.


“She has also had a distinguished career as a lawyer, both in private practice and in the public sector, and she brings to MVision a broad knowledge of the practitioners in our field as well as adding her understanding of investors’ needs and concerns,” Guen added in the statement. “MVision already has a global capacity; the arrival of Paula as a member of the team will further enhance our ability to provide tailored service to our clients, wherever they are based.”


MVision has recently closed a succession of oversubscribed funds including Capvis Equity II, a mid-market buyout fund for Swiss private equity firm Capvis Equity Partners that closed last week on an over-subscribed E340m; Chequers Capital; HealthCap IV; and Orlando Special Situations.