Schroders to launch US private equity operations

The UK asset management firm is preparing to cross the pond and has appointed Eric Nelson to spearhead sales for US alternatives.

Schroders, UK-based asset management company, will launch US private equity operations in the next 12 to 24 months, Schroders head of US institutional distribution, Dean Allen, told PEO.

The private equity direct investment platform will be part of Schroder Investment Management Group, with the firm’s UK investment team managing US operations remotely.

Schroders’ private equity background extends to the 1983 establishment of Schroders Ventures, now known as Permira, and Schroder Ventures International Investment Trust, now SVG Capital. Permira spun out to become an independent firm in 2001 and SVG spun out in 1996.

The firm currently has $3 billion (€1.9 billion) in private equity assets under management, said Allen. The assets include two private equity fund of funds with combined commitments of approximately £530 million ($1 billion; €664 million). Legacy operations of Permira and SVG manage the remaining $2 billion committed to direct investments in the UK and Europe.

In support of the growing US alternative investment business, Schroders has appointed Eric Nelson to the newly created US alternative director post, reporting to Allen.

In his sales-focussed role, Nelson will help bring “consistency and focus” to the US alternatives business and “garner the resources necessary to get our message out into the marketplace”, Allen said.

Nelson has been at Schroders Investment Management since 2004. His most recent role was as an institutional product specialist for commodities, one of Schroders’ five alternative investment “buckets”. He was previously a managing director at London-based investment group Mercury Asset Management and a managing at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers following the firm’s acquisition of Mercury in 1997.

Nelson will seek to capitalise on US plan sponsors raising allocations to alternatives, particularly those seeking greater European exposure, Allen said.

Schroders breaks its alternative investments down into commodities, emerging markets, funds of hedge funds, real estate and private equity. Private equity is currently the only alternatives category without a US presence.

Schroders has approximately $255 billion in assets under management worldwide, $40 billion of which is alternative assets.