HarbourVest moves secondaries specialist to Asia

Tim Flower relocated to the firm’s Hong Kong office from London this month and is the firm’s first dedicated secondaries specialist in the region.

HarbourVest Partners has relocated secondaries specialist Tim Flower to Hong Kong from its London office.

Flower, who is a vice president at the firm, moved to Hong Kong earlier in October and is the fund of fund manager’s first dedicated secondaries professional in the region.

“With the evolution of the Asian secondary market and more mature assets available, we decided that a secondary focused team member based in Hong Kong would be valuable,” said a spokesperson for the firm.

“With growing funds in Asia over the past several years, we are expecting to see more Asia-focused assets for sale in the coming years,” she added.

Flower joined HarbourVest in 2008, after three years as an associate with Bridgepoint Capital in London. Before Bridgepoint, he was an associate director at MCF Corporate Finance, focused on private equity in Germany and the Nordic region. He has also had prior roles at Nordea Securities and Ernst & Young.

Asian secondaries specialists spoken to recently for sister magazine PEI Asia’s annual report on the industry are predicting the region will see a rise in the number of secondary direct transactions seen in the market.

Regulations such as Basel III and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the US are anticipated to prompt many banks to divest their global private equity portfolios and captive private equity arms over the next couple of years, providing potential deal flow to secondaries players.

One example of a captive spin-out that has already been seen in Asia was HSBC’s sale in September of an 80.1 percent stake of HSBC Private Equity Asia to the firm’s management team, in order to “to meet the requirements of a changing regulatory environment”.

In an interview, Flower told PEI Asia the timing of his move to Asia was “very prescient” for this trend, stating: “We have looked at a number of [secondary directs] in Asia in the past and are continuing to see increase opportunities going forward. It's clearly my ambition to find more, if they don't find us.”

HarbourVest, which has over 20 people on its secondaries team, has been active in the Asian secondaries market for over a decade, according to the firm’s spokesperson.

The Asian secondaries market is the cover story of the November issue of PEI Asia magazine.