Unigestion strengthens commitment to London

The Switzerland-headquartered asset manager has hired former Nomura, EBRD and Pomona execs as part of a ‘considered push’ to strengthen its European team.

Switzerland-headquartered asset manager Unigestion has made four senior hires in its investment team in London, according to a statement.

The hires are part of a “considered push” to strengthen its European team, with a particular focus on its secondary and direct investment activities, the firm said.

Pieter-Jan Frederix was appointed investment director within the private equity team in December 2015, joining from the Antenna Group where he was responsible for direct investments. He was previously with KPMG Corporate Finance, Bear Stearns and private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

In May 2016 the firm appointed Andreas Georgiades as an investment manager. He joined from Nomura International where he focused on M&A.

Joana Castro and Vivien Blossier have also recently joined as investment managers. Castro joins from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) where she was a principal focusing on private equity fund investments and co-investments. Prior to that, she was an M&A analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Blossier was previously a secondaries specialist at Pomona Capital, and his prior experience includes roles at Emerging Capital Partners and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Unigestion is currently in market with its debut direct investment fund and its latest secondaries offering. In April the firm held a first close on Unigestion Direct Opportunities 2015 with commitments in excess of half its €200 million target, as reported by Private Equity International.

The fund will look to partner with sector specialists to make minority investments in 12 to 15 privately-owned companies around the world which operate in the mid-market and have an enterprise value of less than €1 billion.

In August the firm held a first close on Unigestion Secondary Opportunity Fund IV on €177 million against a target of €300 million, as reported by PEI sister title Secondaries Investor.

“At a time of heightened market and geopolitical uncertainty, small and mid-market companies, particularly in sectors such as healthcare and education, can be acquired at attractive valuations and offer growth potential uncorrelated to the broader economy,” said Unigestion executive director and head of private equity investments Paul Newsome. “Our new investment team members will greatly contribute to this overall effort.”

In July Unigestion moved its London team into new headquarters as its team increased from 25 people at the beginning of the year to 40, as the UK became the firm’s largest non-domestic market.

In a statement at the time, chief executive officer Fiona Frick asserted the firm’s commitment to London “regardless of the outcome of the EU referendum”.

“London will remain a key financial hub – for Unigestion and for the international asset management industry,” she said. “The UK is the second largest pensions market in the world after the US by assets, and far ahead of any other single European market in size. It has a huge pool of talent and will continue to attract excellent investment professionals and be a thriving market for institutional investors and asset managers to work together to find innovative solutions for long term investment needs.”