Morgan Stanley AIP Private Markets CIO to depart – exclusive

Neil Harper, who has been at the bank's investment partners unit since 2006, is the group's second senior departure in six months.

The chief investment officer of Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners Private Markets is set to leave the bank, sister publication Secondaries Investor has learned.

London-based managing director Neil Harper is in the process of leaving the firm, according to two sources familiar with the matter. It is understood that Harper is staying in the private equity industry.

AIP Private Markets is involved in strategies including private equity fund investing, private equity secondaries, co-investments and impact investing, according to Morgan Stanley’s website. The unit sits within the bank’s investment management business.

Harper is a three-decade veteran of the industry who joined Morgan Stanley in 2006. His last day at the unit, which had committed around $18 billion to private markets as of 30 September, is not clear.

Harper’s move follows the departure in November of executive director and private markets investment committee member Kumber Husain, who is now head of private equity Americas at DWS, as Secondaries Investor reported.

Morgan Stanley AIP is a Conshocken, Pennsylvania-headquartered investment manager that makes fund commitments, secondaries investments and co-investments across the private equity, real estate, venture capital and mezzanine asset classes.

In January, the firm announced the close of Ashbridge Transformational Secondaries Fund I and flagship fund of funds vehicle Private Markets Fund VII, with aggregate commitments of $1.9 billion. Ashbridge backs restructurings and other types of complex secondaries deals.

In January, Harper told Secondaries Investor that an economic downturn in 2019 could have positive implications for the volume of GP-led transactions.

“Strategic buyers for mature portfolio companies may hold back, valuations may moderate and LPs in older vintage year funds may have a more pressing need for liquidity,” he said.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment.