The Swiss bank is making a serious play in the private equity advice arena

Last month, the financial conglomerate announced the appointment of Nigel Dawn as head of its newly established Secondary Market Advisory Practice. The secondary team will be based in Stamford, Connecticut.

Dawn is already well known within the private equity secondary market for his work on a landmark deal – the $1.3 billion (€1.07 billion) sale of UBS private equity fund interests to HarbourVest Partners.

That transaction, announced late last year, saw the transfer of more than 50 limited partnership interests that had been sitting underappreciated on UBS's balance sheet.

This was no plain-vanilla sale. UBS and HarbourVest structured the deal so as to give both parties a share in future distributions. Now UBS wants to sell its experience to others.

The firm has recently stepped up its efforts in the US to provide private equity services and advice. A year ago, UBS brought Richard Allsopp over from London to join Jake Elmhirst to head up the placement group, also based in Stamford. At the same time, the firm hired managing director Mark Schroeder away from CSFB's dominant placement unit, as well as a number of other professionals from competing firms. UBS has roughly 25 professionals raising funds in the US and Europe.

In the secondary advisory business, UBS will not be without firmly entrenched competitors in the US, among them Cogent Partners, The Camelot Group and Probitas Partners.

All of these groups are betting on a steady stream of secondary deals going forward. Unlike UBS, the sellers of secondary positions tend not to have the resources or expertise to navigate the many liquidity options available to them, especially as endowments, family offices and pension funds become more active participants in the market.

Interestingly, UBS's combination of fundraising and secondary advice is part of a trend. Probitas, too, has both capabilities, as does Campbell Lutyens in London. People who talk to LPs all day are finding a demand for more that just new funds.

New York-based media merchant bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) has hired Thomas Kemp as managing director. Kemp, who will join VSS in September, formerly served as chairman and chief executive officer for Penton Media, which publishes 50 business magazines and produces more than 50 trade shows and conferences globally. Kemp has a long history of experience in the business-to- business media industry; he began his career at Miller Freeman, now CMP Books, where he worked for more than 20 years and served as president and chief operating officer.

Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group has named managing director Peter Clare as the new head of its global aerospace, defence and government services industry group. Clare, who has been with Carlyle for 12 years, succeeds managing director Allan Holt, who according to a press statement will focus more of his time on co-managing Carlyle's US buyout activities. Since joining Carlyle in 1992, Clare focused on buyout opportunities in the aerospace, defence and government services and technology sectors. He had leading roles in several of the firm's noteworthy investments, including United Defense, Magnavox Electronics and Federal Data. Clare originally came to Carlyle from First City Capital Corporation, a private equity group that invests in leveraged buyouts, public equities, distressed bonds and restructurings.

Leon Shahinian has been appointed senior investment officer for the California Public Employees' Retirement System's (CalPERS) influential $20 billion (€16.2 billion) alternative investment programme. Shahinian, who joined CalPERS in 1998, takes over from Rick Hayes, who left last month to become a managing partner at Oak Hill Capital Management, the New York-headquartered alternative asset specialist. At Oak Hill, Hayes' brief will be to build a fund of funds investment programme. Shahinian will be responsible for managing the globally diversified private equity portfolio; he will oversee the investment team and external advisors and will report directly into CalPERS' chief investment officer Mark Anson.

Greg Brenneman, current chairman and chief executive officer of private equity firm TurnWorks, has been named CEO of fast food chain operator Burger King Corp. effective August 1. He replaces Brad Blum, who left because of “strategic differences” with the company's directors. The US's second largest hamburger chain has struggled with heavy debt due to overexpansion, with three of its ten biggest franchisees filing for bankruptcy protection in recent years. Brenneman is widely known for his ability to turn around under-performing companies. He founded Houston-based TurnWorks in 1994 to invest in and work with firms needing executive turnaround assistance. Some of his notable success stories include Price water house Coopers and Continental Airlines.

Goldman Sachs said in July that senior executives Geoff Clark and Elisabeth Varley Camp have left the bank's private equity group, the $11 billion (€8.9 billion) fund of funds investment operation that is part of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Members of the group described both departures as “entirely amicable”. Clark's resignation comes less than a year after he was appointed co-head of the group alongside Michael Miele. Clark spent ten years with Goldman and, like Miele, worked in the private equity funds business from its inception in 1996. Varley Camp, Goldman said, resigned in order to return to her earlier career in direct private equity investment. Prior to joining Goldman in 1997 and becoming a managing director in 1999, she worked for Gibbons, Goodwin, van Amerogen, a New York buyout firm.

The Florida State Board of Administration – the fund manager for the fourth largest public retirement system in the US – has named insider Jim Treanor as senior portfolio manager and head of private equity investing in the alternative investment asset class. Treanor replaces Frank Fernandez, who left the more than $100 billion state pension fund to work at Austin, Texas-based private equity consulting firm Alignment Capital, which is in the process of raising a debut fund of funds. Treanor will report to Bill James, who has been the senior investment officer over the alternative investment asset class for several years.

David Mayer, co-head of the Chicago firm's healthcare practice, will head up the firm's expansion into life sciences from its new Boston office. Mayer is joined by vice presidents Peter Ehrich and David Scuppan and two associates. Thoma Cressey partner Bryan Cressey, the firm's other lead healthcare investor, will remain in Chicago.

Until recently, the firm – formerly part of GTCR until its split in 1998 – has stuck to buyouts in healthcare services companies. In an effort to capitalise on the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, the firm has also begun making venture investments.

William Cohen, secretary of defence during the Clinton administration, is forming a merchant bank and planning to raise $300 million (€248 million) for defence investments. The firm will have offices in New York and Washington, DC. Reportedly joining Cohen in the effort is C. Edward Carter, former head of US investment banking at Bank of America; retired US general Joseph Ralston; Supreme Allied Commander in Europe until 2003; and George Roberts, a former NATO secretary-general. In 2001, Cohen became vice chairman of the board of advisors at Thayer Capital Partners, a Washington, DC-based private equity firm that invests in industrial products and services.