Debut fund of funds loses co-founder

ViaNova Capital, the London-based firm attempting to raise a debut ‘low-fee’ private equity fund of funds, has seen Edward Gander, one of its four co-founders, quit the fledgling firm.

Edward Gander, one of four co-founders and managing partners at London- and Zurich-based ViaNova Capital, has left the firm to rejoin his former employer, Clifford Chance

ViaNova was launched towards the end of 2003, and set a fundraising target of €500 million ($608 million) for its debut ViaNova European Buyout 2004 fund. Andrew Evans, one of ViaNova’s three other co-founders alongside Martin Dreher and Thomas Bischoff, confirmed to PEO that ViaNova was still in the market, but declined to comment further at this stage. Gander also declined to comment, citing confidentiality restrictions.

The fund was established to invest in pan-European buyout funds, with 30 percent set aside for “high quality specialist” or “rising star” managers focusing on specific countries or regions within Europe.

But the feature of the fund that generated most publicity when it was launched was its absence of establishment costs, annual management fees or carried interest. ViaNova said it would instead take a two percent interest in the fund and receive a one-off fee from investors equal to two percent of their commitments.

At the time of the fund’s launch, Gander said in a statement: “In a climate of falling returns, investors are increasingly looking to fund of funds managers that can provide high quality investment products, but at significantly lower cost.”   

Gander, who left the Clifford Chance private equity funds group in 2003 as an associate, has rejoined as a partner. “It’s a very hot market for private equity funds at the moment, and I have been brought in to help expand the business over the coming months,” he said. Gander becomes part of a five-strong team of partners in the London office reporting to Jason Glover, global head of the private funds group.