Unigestion closes fourth FoF on €200m

The Geneva-headquartered firm has announced a final close of its latest fund of funds ahead of a €150m target.

Swiss asset manager Unigestion has closed its fourth fund of funds just above €200 million ($260 million).

Unicapital Investments IV, which was launched in 2003, had an original target of €150 million. The fund held a first close in January 2004 on €75 million.

The fund attracted a number of repeat investors including German pension funds DEVK and Westfälische Provinzial as well as some new clients. The firm also gained its first investor from the UK, securing a commitment from the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

French investors included insurers Ecureil and La Mondiale. The Swiss pension fund of the Canton of Vaud, Finnish medial society Duodecim and an unnamed US family investment office also invested

The fund has already made nine investments into private equity funds across Europe and the US, including Bowmark Capital, Segulah, EQT, 3i, Carlyle Europe, Providence Equity Partners, Silver Lake and Accel Partners.

The firm expects to make a further 10 to 12 fund commitments over the next 18 months, according to Unigestion’s head of private equity Hanspeter Bader.

In an interview with PrivateEquityOnline, Bader said: “The next 18 months will be very exciting: there will be many opportunities, but it will also be challenging – we won’t be able to do everything we would like to and will need to be highly selective.”

Commenting on a fundamental trend in the private equity fund of funds market generally, Bader said: “I think we’ll see a bifurcation of the market in two ways. Some funds will easily raise more than anticipated, while others will fail to hit their target. Performance will be split as well: not all historic outperformers will remain top quartile, while some newer firms clearly have the potential to perform strongly. It makes our job tougher, but there is also a greater opportunity to generate alpha.”

Bader has run Unigestion’s fund investment since last year when he took over from David Chamberlain, the group’s previous head of private equity who left to join Zurich-based placement agent Palomar Capital Advisors in June 2004.

Unigestion employs approximately 100 individuals in offices in Geneva, Paris, London, Guernsey and Jersey City (New Jersey, USA).

The firm, which was founded in 1971, manages assets on behalf of pension funds, insurance companies, banks, charitable foundations and a select group of families.