Former Morley chief to advise Permira

Keith Jones is now a senior advisor for Permira’s financial services team, which is led by James Fraser and will increasingly look to target wealth management assets in play.

Permira has hired 32-year financial services veteran Keith Jones as a senior advisor.

Jones was most recently chief executive of Morley Fund Management, Aviva’s global asset management business now known as Aviva Investors, from 1999 to 2006. He oversaw the combination of the investment management arms of Norwich Union and CGU when their parents merged in 2000. In 2007, he became a non-executive director of UK investment bank Noble Group.

Wealth management is a sector that Permira expects will present “significant” private equity opportunities in coming years as “major financial institutions reassess their strategy, and smaller players restructure and consolidate”.

The most recent, high profile example of this was the bankruptcy auction for the investment management division of collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers. A group of Lehman executives eventually trumped a previously agreed $2.15 billion bid from private equity firms Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman. The Carlyle Group and other firms had also been interested in the unit, which included some private equity and infrastructure funds, as well as a prized wealth management arm, Neuberger Berman.

In November, Permira launched an 11-person financial services team to focus on three sub-sectors: asset and wealth management, general insurance and the financial infrastructure and services sectors.

The team is led by new hire James Fraser, who’d previously spent 20 years with LEK Consulting, and also features Permira’s New York office co-head John Coyle, who was the former global head of the financial sponsors group at JPMorgan Securities; and senior advisor Daniel Healy, a former North Fork Bank chief financial officer and executive vice president. Gerrit Zalm, a political heavyweight and former Dutch minister of finance, was previously a senior advisor for the team, but relinquished his role in January when he was appointed vice-chairman of the ABN AMRO managing board.

The market dislocation upon which Permira's financial services team intends to capitalise has also sparked problems for some of its limited partners struggling with over-commitment strategies and shrinking assets and realisations.

Permira recently made headlines for allowing liquidity-starved investors in its Fund IV to cut commitments by 40 percent. The offer was taken up by 10 percent of Permira IV’s 180 limited partners, meaning the fund would shrink to no smaller than €9.6 billion, a reduction of 13 percent from its original size of €11.1 billion. Permira subsequently offered other LPs the chance to make up for any reduced commitments without management fees.

Measures to help struggling investors have also been taken by TPG and HgCapital.