US Bank has hired Jonathan Firestein as head of private capital for Ascent Private Capital Management, a division that invests on behalf of high net worth clients with more than $25 million in individual or family wealth. He will be based in the bank’s San Francisco office.
Firestein was previously director of research for Wells Fargo Family Wealth, prior to which he worked at California-based private equity firm Nigel Associates. He will be responsible for leading investment efforts in buyouts, venture capital, private debt, real estate and real asset investment funds. Firestein will also build the “impact” investment platform for Ascent’s clients, which will identify investment opportunities based on social and environmental impact in addition to financial returns.
Ascent Private Capital Management was established in April by US Bank’s wealth management group for its “ultra high net worth” clients. The group is led by president Michael Cole, the former head of Wells Fargo Family Wealth and Wealth Planning Center.
In July, Ascent named Kurt Silberstein, senior portfolio manager for global equities at the California Public Employees' Retirement System, as managing director of alternative investments. Silberstein reports to Ascent chief investment officer Daniel Rauchle, who joined in March from Wells Fargo Alternative Asset Management, which he founded. Rauchle was also head of the Wells Fargo Family Wealth Alternative Investment Group.
Other members of the Ascent team include Scott Winget, who was named senior managing director of wealth planning for US Bank’s Ultra High Net Worth Group in March, prior to the rebranding under Ascent.
US Bank is the fifth-largest commercial bank in the US, according to its website, and is owned by parent company US Bancorp, with $321 billion is assets as of 30 June 2011.
Many investment banks have launched feeder funds through which their wealthy clients can access alternative asset classes, including Barclays, Credit Suisse and UBS. The banks have operated these funds even as many of them have shed in-house private equity operations because of regulations that put restrictions on bank-owned or operated private equity.
Recently, Barclays Wealth invited “select” clients to commit capital to Boston-based ArcLight Capital Partners’ fifth fund, sources told Private Equity International. Barclays, which was named on ArcLight fundraising filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has been directing clients into the firm's fund, helping it raise about $600 million as of May.