For Brigit van Dijk-van de Reijt, settling into a job at Aureos Advisers, the London-based fund advisory services provider to emerging markets private equity firm Aureos Capital, has in fact involved very little settling – at least in a physical sense.
As head of group operations, a newly created position, her schedule for the coming months includes visits to the firm's regional offices around the world, including Central Asia, South Asia and Latin America. As we speak, she's just finishing up her first trip – to Nairobi, Kenya.
Her new role, van Dijk-van de Reijt says in a telephone interview from the East African country, includes boosting the “quality and efficiency of everything within the organization to increase returns for our investors.” Her duties range from improving management information systems and reporting to enhancing corporate identity.
Van Dijk-van de Reijt previously spent eight years at the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO). While there, she was director of private equity and the Latin America division responsible for a $595 million (€451 million) global private equity portfolio and a $991 million loan portfolio focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. Earlier in her career at FMO, she oversaw its Asia portfolio and made investments in India, the Philippines and Thailand.
The challenge of moving from the LP to the GP side of the fence appealed to van Dijk-van de Reijt. Her new firm's global reach was another positive factor in her decision. “Aureos is more or less a decentralized organization, having one office in London but close to 20 offices worldwide,” she says, noting that FMO had only one office in The Hague.
Her plan is to meet with the regional teams and identify ways to add value at each location. Africa is a high priority for the firm now, she says, which is why she has made it her first stop. Aureos has three regional African funds – in West Africa, East Africa and South Africa. Upcoming plans for the region include a pan-African fund that will launch in the fourth quarter of this year and aim to close in the first quarter of next year. The target for that fund, she says, is $300 million.
Also in the works are funds for Latin America and Central Asia. “I really need to get to know people in the regions, in the local offices and also get a little flavor of the investment climate,” she says of her extensive travel plans. At some point, van Dijk-van de Reijt may find time for a breather: but that's not on the immediate horizon.