Standard Life raises a total of £760m

The UK insurer’s private equity fund of funds products comfortably exceeded their targets, untroubled by departure of Jonny Maxwell, who left the business last year after trying to win its independence.

Standard Life Investments, the global fund manager, has closed European Strategic Partners 2006, its latest private equity fund of funds, on €900 million ($1.2 billion).

It has also raised $300 million ($224 million) for North American Strategic Partners, its first US private equity fund of funds product, which had its final close earlier this year.

David Currie, chief executive, Standard Life Investments’ private equity unit, said: “ESP 2006, the fourth fund in the European series of private equity fund of funds, held its first close in March 2006. It has attracted strong interest from all over the world. Commitments were received from US, European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and UK clients.”

He said ESP had started to make commitments to European buyout firms soon after its first close and now has twelve funds in its portfolio. The co-investment portfolio is also progressing with four investments.

Currie said the fundraising was successful because of the experienced team of private equity professionals, their strong track record and focused investment approach.

The departure of Jonny Maxwell, for many synonymous with the Standard Life brand in private equity, does not appear to have hit fundraising. He left last year over a difference of opinion on the strategic direction of the unit. He was said to have wanted to take the business out of Standard Life.

ESP 2006 has a total of €660 milion to be invested in private equity funds and €240 million is available for co-investments. More than €320 million has already been committed to private equity funds.

On the co-investments side, ESP 2006 has invested a total of €28 million.

The US fund targets mid market private equity fund investments in North America focusing on buyouts and special situations. The fundraising for its first US fund of funds product was completed nine months ahead of schedule with significant excess client demand, according to a statement.

NASP 2006 was capped at $300 million with commitments received from North American, UK and Middle East investors who included pension plans and financial institutions.

Half came from existing clients and half from new investors. The money raised will be managed from the insurer’s Boston office which has five private equity investment executives, led by Dan Cahill, dedicated to investing in the US.