Former Pantheon CEO increases stake in Quay Partners

In a bid to further internationalise the firm, Australian fund of funds manager Quay Partners has hired two new partners in London and San Francisco, as its founders increase their stakes.

Two ex-Pantheon executives have increased their stakes in Quay Partners, a Sydney-based private equity fund of funds manager, the Australian firm said in a statement.  

Richard Bowley, former chief executive of London-headquartered fund of funds manager Pantheon Ventures and Geoff Norman, former head of Pantheon Asia, bought the majority stake from Jake Burgess, who is on the Quay Partners’ investment committee. The precise stake is undisclosed, but Richard Bowley told Private Equity International it is not a large majority stake. “We firmly believe in spreading equity across the group,” he said.

The move comes as the firm goes through a period of international expansion, and  has hired two new partners, one to be based in London and one in San Francisco. Quay Partners is currently servicing Australian institutions which have their capital invested within Australia. According to Bowley this is “frankly quite a narrow focus”.

“There’s an increasing demand for international service provision and Quay Partners feels there is an opportunity to provide that service, not only to Australian institutions that are looking to expand internationally but also to others to provide a cheaper, more bespoke and more sophisticated focus of investing in private equity than that is available from the more official, larger fund of funds,” he said.

By working specifically with clients, Quay Partners seeks to distinguish itself from the traditional fund of funds firms. “It’s really to look at what they have already got and then to make recommendations on how that might be enhanced. That might be investing in certain funds. It might be having a co-investment or secondary arm or maybe just investing in funds with a similar strategy for co-holdings in a more cost efficient way,” Bowley said.

With the new hires, Quay Partners hopes to provide specific expertise in the area of secondaries and co-investing areas, the firm said. Jeffrey Reed, the newly hired partner in San Francisco, is a secondary investment specialist. Lucy Nicholls, who will be based in London, has been involved in assessing and identifying GPs focused on venture capital [funds] in Europe for many years.  “This network of expertise is absolutely essential for Quay Partners and that’s what we are looking from her”, Bowley said.

Quay Partners has also promoted Daniel Bowden to partner. He remains focused on the Australian and Asian private equity market. “We’re a flat organisation. The partner title reflects the fact that that group has very significant experience”, Bowley said, adding that the firm will take on additional staff later this year. 

As well as co-founders Norman and Bowley, Reed used to work at Pantheon. “One of the strong advantages of many of us being ex-Pantheon is that we know each other very well”, Bowley said.  This is not a mass exodus from Pantheon though, Bowley pointed out, as both him and Norman have not worked at that firm in years. “Nonetheless the recent hires at Quay Partners are well known to us and that’s really the beauty of it. This is just a history that binds us together. “