Reach Capital hopes to grab new mandates

The newly launched, Paris-based placement agent draws from the team at Global Private Equity.

Reach Capital, a Paris-based placement agency that officially launched on 1 July, is in talks with general partners regarding three or four fund raising mandates and two or three advisory mandates for GPs and limited partners, Reach partner William Barrett told Private Equity International.

“We hope to make a few announcements before September,” Barrett said.

Barrett and two other colleagues from Paris-based placement agent Global Private Equity, Luc Debieuvre, and Veera Somersalmi, have set up the new firm with Jean-Philippe Boige, formerly of French PE firm Idinvest. Prior to that he worked with GPE.

“We have known each other for a long time, we have been working together with the firm or on the same projects,” Barrett said.

The partners decided to establish their own boutique following the retirement of GPE’s founders and the closure of that business, it is understood.

Reach’s primary focus will be fundraisings of between €200 million to €800 million, although it is in active discussions on a larger, dedicated mandate in a specific region, Barrett said.

“Funds could be larger, particularly in infrastructure,” he said.

Somersalmi, whose experience includes working at Edinburgh-based firm SL Capital Partners, and PE fund CapMan and pension fund Keva, both Finland-based, said the firm will attempt to bridge the communication gap that develops between LPs and GPs in between fund raisings.

“Managers don’t have the capabilities to keep in touch and this is something we would like to help them with,” she said. Reach would assist GPs in managing their LP relationships and is developing its own customer relationship management tool.

“Manage your relationship as you would manage your customers. It’s a simple message but many GPs don’t do it,” Barrett added.

In terms of advisory mandates, the firm is talking to GPs considering new activities or strategies, and could offer assistance with secondary transactions, Somersalmi said. For LPs, the firm could advise on how to approach the market and to construct a portfolio and is in discussions with an LP on a mandate in the mid-market.

Although the firm is based in Paris, the mandates under discussion are all European or international, Barrett said.

Debieuvre is specialised in Middle Eastern LPs, having worked at Banque Indosuez and Qatar National Bank and Lebanon’s Bank Audi Saradar in Paris prior to GPE. Boige, who had also worked at French PE firm Siparex, has relationships in Canada, and Somersalmi, who is Finnish, has Nordic experience and worked in London, as has Barrett, who will manage LPs based in the UK.

“There’s a lot less competition in continental Europe. Most of the placement agents are based in London,” Barrett said.