What does it mean to be a rainmaker in today’s private equity fundraising market? It is a divisive question.

One veteran fundraiser proffered this definition: either they have put someone in business who otherwise would not be, or they have the power to turn an investor “no” into a “yes”. We have endeavoured to produce a list of 50 individuals who fit into these categories.

The methodology was simple: our editorial team surveyed senior professionals across the globe asking them to nominate fundraising professionals on the following basis: “If you were out there raising a fund, who would you want on your team and why?” Only those nominated made it onto the list and respondents were only allowed to nominate fundraisers from outside of their own organisation.

The answers that have come back comprise a spectrum of talented fundraisers, including bankers, firm founders, the young, the old, those who have shepherded tens of billions into strategies and those who have taken risks on small first-time funds.

We hope you enjoy the list and would welcome your feedback.

The placement agents

Wilf Wilkinson, Managing partner, Acanthus Advisors

Described as one of the best, Wilkinson and his small team at Acanthus have raised capital for established mid-market brands like Egeria, Polaris and Azulis, but he really made his name on the more challenging proposition of putting first-time managers into business, including Cairngorm, Aliter and Novum.

Joanne Robinson, Director, Lazard

Robinson has spent almost 10 years with Lazard’s private capital advisory group, working her way up to the role of director in 2014. Praised for her clear-headedness and ability to listen to clients’ needs, she co-heads the firm’s fundraising activities in Europe with specific responsibility for Scandinavia, the UK, Benelux and France. She has helped raise capital for a healthy mix of established names such as Investindustrial and emerging forces such as Avedon Capital Partners, PEI understands.

Cristina Forcina Westermann, Partner, BearTooth Advisors

Forcina Westermann spent more than 10 years covering institutional investors across Europe in her role as executive director in the private funds group at UBS, contributing to more than 50 fundraising assignments, before joining BearTooth in 2014. Forcina Westermann was the power behind NorthEdge Capital’s first fund, which closed on £225 million in 2013, at the time one of the largest first-time fundraises in Europe since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Warren Hibbert, Managing partner, Asante Capital

When we were compiling this list, Hibbert’s name came up again and again, with insiders describing him as calm, smart, likeable, “super effective” and building a world-class business. The former MVision senior partner co-founded Asante in 2011. It has grown to a staff of 37 across four offices and is understood to have successfully raised every mandate it has worked on. These include Blue Water Energy – a seminal relationship for the firm – and a host of other names, such as AnaCap Financial Partners, Summit Partners and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

Richard Allsopp, Managing partner, Campbell Lutyens

Those in the business can’t help but admire what Allsopp has achieved. In 1998 he joined UBS to set up the bank’s global fund placement group, which went on to raise more than $100 billion under his leadership. In 2001 Stephen Schwarzman hired his team and they raised $1 billion of capital outside the US. But it was the “dream formula of total independence, plus the holy trinity of PE, infrastructure and secondaries” that drew Allsopp to Campbell Lutyens in 2009. In the last five years, he and his team have raised over $70 billion globally, and he expects his 100th fund close to take place in April.

Michael Murphy, Co-head, private fund group, Credit Suisse

By all accounts, Murphy is one of the most experienced fundraisers in the business, having worked on hundreds of successful fundraises. We’ve heard he’s patient, has good advice to offer and, crucially, delivers it well to clients. He’s also worked with many first-timers, including some of the earliest secondaries and private debt funds, helping to break ground in markets that have grown considerably since.

Julian Pearson, Partner, FirstPoint Equity

There’s a high chance Pearson was one of the youngest founding partners of a fund placement group when he co-founded FirstPoint Equity in 2011 at the age of 32. He built up a wide LP network at FirstPoint, having previously done so as head of US distribution for the private funds group at JPMorgan Cazenove. He helped take UK buyout house Synova Capital from a high-net-worth-based debut fund to two further oversubscribed institutional funds and worked with Melbourne-based mining specialist EMR from its first dollar to $1.3 billion in capital raised. One insider tells us Pearson is “second to none”.

Alexander Rayden, Managing director, Evercore

Rayden – a founding member of Evercore’s private funds group – is, in the words of one of our sources, “a rock star”. Another described Rayden as the best distribution professional they had ever worked with. High accolades indeed. At Evercore, Rayden looks after coverage of institutional investors in the UK, France, Benelux and the Nordic markets, as well as working on originating, developing and managing capital raising mandates.

Scott Church & Adam Turtle, Founding partners, Rede Partners

Church, who is ex-Lazard and Merrill Lynch, teamed up with Turtle – formerly at Actis and Credit Suisse – to launch Rede Partners in 2011. The firm has grown from four people to 40 and advised on primary fundraising and secondaries worth more than €18 billion. They helped raise more than £3 billion ($4.3 billion; €3.4 billion) for HgCapital, around £1 billion for Alchemy Partners, €1 billion for Apax Partners MidMarket IX and SKr4.5 billion ($548 million; €446 million) for Summa Equity’s debut fund. This pair are just getting started.

Dan Prendergast, Sean Keene, Brian Levine, Chief executive, partner, partner, Park Hill

The three co-founders of Park Hill saw their firm raise more than $16 billion in 2017. Prendergast has spent more than 20 years in the alternatives space, Keene heads the firm’s North American and Asian private equity distribution, while Levine heads private equity origination and the project management team from New York. “At Park Hill, it starts at the top with me and my partners, and we set the tone for what it means to be a strong advisor to our private equity clients,” says Levine.

Marc Wursdorfer, Head of EMEA, UBS

Wursdorfer spent 15 years with Credit Suisse before he was poached in January by UBS to head up the EMEA team within its private funds group, replacing James Moore, who announced his retirement as co-head of the group in May. In his time at Credit Suisse, Wursdorfer was responsible for primary capital raising in the Nordic region.

Bob Brown, Managing partner, BearTooth Advisors

Brown is described by those in the know as one of the most successful and professional practitioners of the trade, and has been involved in more than 180 fundraises, including TPG’s first fund and Silver Lake I. Brown learned the ropes under Kevin Albert at Merrill Lynch before joining Carlyle, where he was instrumental to the firm’s fundraising efforts from 1999 to 2010, including the launch of the Riverstone energy funds. His work at Advent International helped the firm into the top 10 of the PEI 300. He left his role there as global head of marketing and LP services to co-found BearTooth in 2014, which focuses – perhaps unsurprisingly, given Brown’s track record – on emergent firms and product extensions for established brands.

Christoffer Davidsson, Partner, Campbell Lutyens

We’ve heard clients are saying amazing things about Davidsson, who heads Campbell Lutyens’ US activities. He began his career at ING Barings in the firm’s fund placement group before joining WR Hambrecht. In 2001 he joined Campbell Lutyens where he is responsible for the firm’s North America efforts. With more than $80 billion to his name raised on over 80 funds and secondaries opportunities, Davidsson is known for his dedication to excellence. He has helped raise private equity, private debt and infrastructure funds for GPs in almost every region of the world. As the firm’s US and Canada specialist, Davidsson is a name readers will continue to hear more of as Campbell Lutyens pushes into North America.

David Kimis, Member, private fund advisory group, Lazard

Based in Singapore and with Lazard since 2008, Kimis is responsible for raising capital from Asia-based limited partners. He holds a PhD in computer science, and is known for looking at the bigger picture as he strives to get the job done. One insider praised Kimis’s ability to demonstrate a fair and rational thought process in his dealings with GPs and investors alike.

Mounir Guen, Chief executive, MVision

It’s hard to find a fundraiser who hasn’t heard of ‘Moose’. The veteran fundraising specialist is known for his boundless energy, strategic insight and experience, which he has put to good use representing some of the biggest private equity firms in the world. He has also worked on some very challenging fundraises that probably wouldn’t have completed without him, says an investor source. Recent fundraising successes include: the €1.1 billion Chequers Capital XVII; Waterland Private Equity Fund VII, which hit €2 billion; the $960 million Bregal Sagemount II; and VIG Partners III’s $540 million final close.

Pablo de la Infiesta, Managing director, Moelis & Company

De la Infiesta is well-known on the European private equity scene. He joined Moelis & Company’s private funds advisory group last summer after more than a decade at Lazard, where he was managing director and European head of the private capital advisory group. In his role at Moelis, he heads up the group’s EMEA business working on capital raising, secondaries and other advisory services to GPs and LPs. De la Infiesta has been actively involved in more than 100 fundraising assignments aggregating more than $90 billion of capital across buyout, private credit, turnaround and venture capital funds globally. A Salomon Brothers and Campbell Lutyens alumnus, de la Infiesta is respected for his deep relationships with leading institutional investors and advisors across Europe and the Middle East.

In-house professionals

Richard Kunzer, Senior partner, BC Partners

One of two BC Partners IR pros on our list, New York-based Kunzer joined the firm in 2009 from Credit Suisse. Along with London-based colleague Laurent de Rosière and head of IR Charlie Bott, he has seen the firm through two sizeable post-crisis flagship fundraises totalling nearly €14 billion – leading the charge with North American and Asian investors and spearheading the firm’s 2017 move into private credit. This year Kunzer will become co-head of investor relations.

Keiji Hattori, Senior vice-president, Brookfield Asset Management

Keiji Hattori, formerly a director in the Credit Suisse private funds group, is the one-man capital raising machine for Brookfield in Japan. He set up the firm’s Tokyo office in 2015 and is in charge of tapping highly sought-after Japanese institutional capital for the Canadian firm’s latest private equity, real estate and infrastructure funds. His on-the-ground coverage in the last two years has helped raise a significant amount of capital.

John Barber, Partner, investor services and group board member, Bridgepoint

Barber’s first experience raising a buyout fund was at WSGP Partners in Los Angeles in 1991. It was at Helix Associates, a boutique placement agent he joined in 1997, where Barber got to cut his teeth on complex deals including spin-outs from larger firms and carve-outs of previously captive managers, such as the first funds of Altor Private Equity, GEM Benelux and Exponent Private Equity. He joined Bridgepoint in 2007 and has seen the mid-market firm through six fundraises, collecting around €16 billion, including the firm’s sixth flagship vehicle which is understood to be nearing its final close on €5.5 billion.

Laurent de Rosière, Senior partner, BC Partners

When BC raised Fund IX in 2013 at €6.7 billion it was viewed as a bellwether for European post-crisis fundraising, spreading optimism among the GP community that there were still LPs out there committing to private equity. De Rosière previously had spells at Citi and Acanthus Advisors and joined BC in 2009 and played an instrumental role in raising their two most recent flagship funds. He is also set to take over the IR function as co-head this year.

Remy Kawkabani, Partner, private capital markets, Coller Capital

Kawkabani has had a hand in more than a few landmark events in private equity history. As co-head of Credit Suisse’s fund group and later chief executive of EMEA for its asset management business, Kawkabani led capital raises for numerous first-time funds and spin-out groups, including AnaCap Financial Partners, Gulf Capital, PAI Partners, Affinity Asia, Magnum Industrial Partners and Permira. Perhaps fate had a hand in his move earlier this year to Coller Capital; after all, as European head of the private funds group at investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 2000, he was instrumental in sourcing, structuring and completing the acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland’s private equity portfolio by a Coller-led consortium for £1.1 billion, a deal some believe marked the birth of the modern secondaries market.

Johanna Barr, Managing director, global co-head of LP services, Advent International

Barr was instrumental in helping Advent International smash its target to close its eighth flagship fund on the $13 billion hard-cap in 2016 after just six months in market. One industry peer praised Barr’s likeability, very strong LP base and network and her international background.

Holly McMullan, Partner, head of business development — the Americas, Apollo Global Management

McMullan has been with fundraising powerhouse Apollo for 10 years. She helps oversee a team focused on fundraising efforts in the Americas for the firm’s private equity, credit and real assets businesses. During that decade, Apollo’s total assets under management have grown from $40 billion to $250 billion, including the record-breaking Apollo Investment Fund IX, which closed just shy of $25 billion last year. McMullan and her team cover a wide range of clients for the firm, including state and local pension funds, corporates and endowments, and family offices.

Michael Sotirhos, Senior managing director, investor relations and business development, Blackstone

Sotirhos honed his craft at Merrill Lynch, working alongside Bill Riddle, who now runs placement at Lazard, and Mounir Guen, who went on to found MVision. Sotirhos spent nine years at Atlantic-Pacific before joining Blackstone in 2010, where he fundraises across all the private equity products, including tactical opportunities and the secondaries unit Strategic Partners. Since 2010, the firm’s PE business’s total assets under management has more than quadrupled – from $24.3 billion to $105.6 billion. Sotirhos is also understood to be involved with the firm’s infrastructure platform and its nascent Asia-focused strategy. One industry insider praised Sotirhos’ interpersonal skills, network and work ethic, while another dubbed him one of the best people in the business.

Jussi Saarinen, Partner, head of investor relations, EQT

Saarinen joined EQT Partners in January 2008 as investor relations director, but was promptly promoted to head of IR. Prior to joining EQT, Saarinen was a managing partner at Impact Capital Partners, an investment firm which he co-founded in 2005. Since joining EQT, the firm has raised at least 14 vehicles worth over €35 billion across five asset classes, including €10.75 billion for its latest private equity flagship.

Marc St John, Partner, investor relations, CVC Capital Partners

St John could be considered a fundraising icon. The CVC veteran joined in 1999 after 13 years at Citicorp and has since helped to raise over $70 billion in equity capital, including fund commitments and co-investments. Though he is reportedly set to retire from his position at the end of March, he has certainly gone out with a bang, helping to amass a record breaking €15.5 billion for CVC’s seventh flagship in 2017.

Alexandra Hess, Partner, head of investor relations and fundraising, Cinven

Hess is the mastermind behind three Cinven fundraisings, the latest of which closed on €7 billion after just four months – and could have raised twice that. She’s known in the business for her cool head and skill at presenting the story to LPs, and she’s well-respected by her colleagues and investors alike. Hess is one of Cinven’s eight executive committee members and also sits on its operating committee. She is a co-founder of Level 20, a group established to promote the role of women in private equity, and leads its mentorship programme with two other co-founders.

Queenie Ho, Partner, Affinity Equity Partners

Based in Hong Kong, Ho manages investor relations for the pan-Asian buyout firm which amassed $6 billion for its fifth fund earlier this year after less than four months in market. Ho started as an associate in the firm’s deal team in 2004 covering pan-Asia, then zeroing in on greater China deals. She took on investor relations responsibility for Fund IV, which closed on $3.8 billion in 2014.

Rob Squire, Partner, investor relations, CVC Capital Partners

Squire joined CVC in 2012 after two years at Coller Capital, where he had made his name helping raise $5.5 billion for its sixth fund. Prior to this, Squire served as a director within Blackstone’s Park Hill Group division, where he was responsible for raising funds for a variety of strategies, including buyout, growth equity, secondaries and mezzanine funds. Since his arrival at CVC, the firm has held some impressive closes, raising €10.9 billion and €15.5 billion for its sixth and seventh flagships.

Thomas Franco, Partner, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

Franco was an advisor to CD&R for 15 years before he joined the firm in 2006, where he leads fundraising, as well as managing investor and external relations, strategy initiatives and activities related to portfolio companies. Described as “extremely hands-on and professional”, Franco has worked on five flagship fundraises and numerous co-investment vehicles amassing around $30 billion in capital commitments. He played a critical role in leading the fundraise for Clayton, Dubilier & Rice X, which closed on its $9.4 billion hard-cap last year having garnered more than $20 billion in demand. Franco was also one of the original financial backers behind PEI Media.

David Tung, Managing director, investor relations, Carlyle Group

Based in Singapore, Tung has been with Carlyle since 2000, advising on investor relations in the Asia-Pacific region and taking responsibility for managing relationships with key institutional LPs in the region. Tung began his career at Goldman Sachs before joining Merrill Lynch’s private equity group.

Thomas Foussé, Managing director, investor relations, Carlyle Group

Merrill Lynch alumnus Foussé, based in London, joined Carlyle in 1999. One fundraising veteran said Foussé was the best fundraising professional he had ever worked with.

Chloé Lavedrine, Managing director, Centerbridge

Since joining Centerbridge in 2014, Lavedrine has focused on the firm’s marketing and fundraising efforts, as well as investor relations activities for EMEA. She has contributed to the fundraising of Centerbridge Capital Partners III, a $6.2 billion fund that closed in October 2014 and Centerbridge Special Credit Fund III, a $4.2 billion fund that closed in May 2017, among others. She previously spent about four years with KKR’s European Client and Partner Group covering European markets and contributing to several product fundraises from private equity, to real estate, infrastructure, long short equity and special situations.

Steven Batchelor, Partner, chief operating officer and head of client services, HgCapital

Batchelor joined HgCapital in 2003 and has seen the firm through nine fundraisings, amassing more than £10 billion in the process. He joined the firm from Morgan Stanley, where he worked on M&A and capital market related transactions.

Christiian Marriott, Partner, head of investor relations, Equistone

Marriott learned the fundraising ropes at Campbell Lutyens and joined Equistone in 2007 from MML Capital. He hit the ground running, having a hand in the closing of the firm’s third fund in 2007, and then leading the fundraising for the most recent three vehicles, the latest of which closed oversubscribed in March at €2.8 billion. “We need to treat people fairly,” he told PEI after the fund closed, “not just because it’s the right way to do business but investors have long memories.”

John Hartz, Simon Turner, Co-founders, managing partners, Inflexion

Hartz and Turner co-founded Inflexion 19 years ago with, in their words, “a borrowed office, two desks, one computer and no capital”. It’s now on its fifth fund and has a stable of high-quality LPs, including a number of large US public pensions. “Everyone here has an eagerness to unpick things and explore new angles, to assess how we might improve what we do,” Turner says. “We built this business ourselves, so we have great empathy with the companies we invest in and support.”

Philip Yau, Managing director, GI Partners

Yau is, in the words of one industry insider, “a rock star”. He spent 12 years as a senior leader of the UBS Private Funds Group before joining GI Partners in 2017. While at UBS, he was behind the fundraises for firms like Apollo Global Management, Ares Management, Baring Asia, EQT, FountainVest, GGV Capital, TA Associates and Veritas Capital, and was involved in originating primary and secondaries opportunities. Yau currently serves in a variety of senior roles at GI Partners, having overseen the firm’s oversubscribed raise.

Mads Ryum Larsen, Partner, head of investor relations, IK Investment Partners

Ryum Larsen has been with northern European investment firm IK Investment Partners since 1990 and after 15 years on the deal team shifted over to become the firm’s first head of IR. One industry insider praised his ability to tread the fine line between LPs’ needs and those of IK. He has been with the firm through ups and downs, working on seven fundraises, most recently the oversubscribed €550 million Small Cap II fund. The firm’s latest flagship fund closed on €1.85 billion and was the first it raised without a placement agent.

Charles Vernudachi, Managing director, business development, Providence Equity

Based in Providence’s London office, Vernudachi leads the firm’s European private equity fundraising team in addition to working on the group’s private credit initiatives. He also helped launch the firm’s US growth equity strategy and brought in anchor commitments from European investors. Vernudachi joined from placement firm Eaton Partners in 2014, where he oversaw the EMEA distribution and origination of private equity funds and hedge funds and raised funds for firms including Summit Partners, Ridgewood Energy and Omega Advisors.

Chris Davison, Partner, head of investor relations, Permira

Former journalist Davison joined Permira in 2005 and has since recruited and mentored an IR team of 15 across the firm’s global offices, raised three generations of flagship funds totalling more than €22 billion, launched a co-investment programme and diversified the fundraising programme to take in direct lending, structured credit and other strategies the firm has in the pipeline. He rarely loses his calm, according to colleagues.

Carl Nauckhoff, Senior principal, head of investor relations, Investindustrial

Nauckhoff is known for being incredibly smart and professional and has been raising private equity capital for 17 years. Having started life as an investment banker, he had a spell at MVision, where he worked with clients such as EQT, Segulah, Mid Europa Partners and Investindustrial, which he joined in 2009 to lead IR. Nauckhoff sits on the firm’s investment committee and has helmed two flagship fundraisings and several other build-up funds and co-investments totalling over €5 billion.

Ivan Massonnat, Partner, investor team, PAI Partners

Massonnat first joined PAI Partners in 2000, working on the deal side until 2004. He later helped set up the firm’s investor relations function and participated in the fundraising process for Fund IV and Fund V. He left PAI in May 2008 to join the newly created French mid-market fund Fondations Capital as chief operating officer, before rejoining as a member of PAI’s investor team in late 2010. Massonnat helped the firm come back in style, with a €3.3 billion fundraise for its sixth fund.

Richard Howell, Partner, head of investor team & capital markets team, PAI Partners

Howell has seen PAI Partners through one of the toughest times a private equity firm can face. In 2009 LPs forced the firm to slash its €5.4 billion fifth buyout fund to €2.7 billion after the vehicle’s key-man clause was triggered. For some firms, this would have spelled the end, but thanks to Howell and his team, PAI came roaring back with its sixth fund, shattering its €3 billion hard-cap to close on €3.3 billion, a feat that didn’t fail to impress the rest of the industry.

Robert Klap, Principal, Platinum Equity Partners

Robert Klap has been with Platinum Equity since 2011, in which time he’s gained a formidable reputation as a fundraiser in Europe and North America. According to market sources, London-based Klap helped raise nearly $1 billion for the Los Angeles firm’s last fund – the 2016-vintage, $6.5 billion Platinum Equity Capital Partners IV – from Dutch investors alone. He also turns his hand to deal origination.

Susannah Carrier, Managing director, head of fundraising and investor relations, Silver Lake

Carrier leads a team at Silver Lake that manages all the fundraising and investor relationships for the firm. Since joining in 2006 as Silver Lake’s first professional dedicated to these areas, she has significantly expanded the firm’s investor base globally. Her team’s most recent efforts include raising the $15 billion Silver Lake Partners V in 2017 and Silver Lake Partners IV in 2013. She previously worked for the hedge fund and private equity IR team at Quadrangle Group.

Stephen Bamford, Partner, investor relations, TPG

Based in Hong Kong, Bamford, who joined TPG from Goldman Sachs in 2010, is responsible for the firm’s client relationships within Asia-Pacific across its private equity, credit and real estate platforms. He is also responsible for TPG’s Asia private equity fundraising globally and co-leads the firm’s global distribution team with Meghan Reynolds. In addition to his day-to-day fundraising responsibilities, Bamford has helped source strategic investments, initiate new platforms for the firm, and has played an important role in recruiting and hiring senior partners.

Erick Bronner, Global head of fundraising and investor relations, The Riverside Company

One of the founding partners at placement agent Mercury Capital Advisors after a stint at Merrill Lynch, Bronner joined The Riverside Company in 2012. One placement agent described Bronner as thoughtful, ethical and well-liked and respected by LPs and industry professionals alike. During his tenure he has helped raise nearly $4 billion for the firm, including helping the group make its move into private credit.

Meghan Reynolds, Partner, investor relations, TPG

Reynolds is based in TPG’s New York office and over her eight years at the firm has raised meaningful capital across private equity, credit, and real estate assets. She was TPG’s first fundraising professional in New York having moved there in 2012 to build relationships with limited partners across the east coast and build a regional team, which is now 10 fundraising professionals. Reynolds also co-leads the firm’s global distribution team with fellow Goldman Sachs alum Stephen Bamford.

Eleanor Chambers, Partner, head of investor relations, TDR Capital

Chambers joined TDR in 2015 after 13 years at PAI Partners. The first eight of those years were spent on the investment side before transitioning to the investor relations team. Chambers started her career in the European acquisition finance group at Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank.

Jonas Agesand, Partner and managing director, fundraising and investor relations, Warburg Pincus

Agesand began his investment career at LGT Capital Partners where he spent 10 years as an investor and fundraiser. His next move was to Blackstone where he spent three-and-a-half years, after which he joined Warburg Pincus’s London team in 2015. He’s recognised for his strong work ethic, his strong network of limited partners and his international background. During his tenure the firm raised $2 billion for a China-focused fund and $2.3 billion for a financial services fund. In May it plans to launch its next flagship fund, targeting $13.5 billion. Agesand’s career has come full circle – his first ever investment at LGT was in Warburg’s 2001-vintage Fund VIII.