Vista hires former LP Pastore(2)

New Jersey state pension system's former head of private equity, Christine Pastore, will head up Vista Equity's new investor relations team.

Vista Equity Partners has turned to an experienced limited partner to build its investor relations team as it works to expand its investor base across its growing platform of products.

The firm, headed by former Goldman Sachs executive Robert Smith, has hired Christine Pastore, the former co-head of alternative investments at New Jersey’s state pension system, to lead the firm’s new investor relations team. In January, Vista hired Jyoti Gupta, a former investment manager with the Teacher Retirement System of

Christine
Pastore

Texas, to work on investor relations as well.

“We’ve never had an IR role outside of me burning up a lot of airline miles and shoe leather, but as we’ve expanded our platform of offerings … we need to keep our LPs more fully informed,” Smith told Private Equity International in an interview Thursday. “Many of [our LPs] want deeper relationships with us across our entire platform.

“The group headed by Christine will ensure [the LPs] are in tune with our strategies and the opportunities,” he said. The team also will work to “provide more opportunities to meet more LPs who can be strategic in helping us enhance our strategy”, he said.

We've never had an IR role outside of me burning up a lot of airline miles and shoe leather.

Robert Smith

Pastore, who joins as a senior vice president, worked at New Jersey’s $71 billion state pension system from 2005 until she left last year. She was named co-head of the alternative investment programme in 2010, which included private equity and real estate. Along with helping to build the private equity programme at New Jersey, Pastore crafted an innovative partnership with The Blackstone Group that gave the system flexibility to invest with Blackstone across asset classes.

“I definitely think there is a kind of camaraderie [between LPs] … and the fact that I sat in their shoes and I know what they feel and live every day, probably helps in the conversation,” Pastore said Thursday.

Gupta, vice president of investor management at Vista, spent more than nine years at the Texas teacher pension system as a portfolio/investment manager and was mainly responsible for development, due diligence, implementation (legal and contract negotiations) and maintenance of Global Equity Strategies.

Robert
Smith

Vista last year closed its largest fund to date, the $3.5 billion Vista Equity Partners IV. This year, it is raising its debut credit fund targeting $600 million for investments mostly in its own software deals, and its second small-cap software investment vehicle, called Vista Foundation Fund II, that may

I definitely think there is a kind of camaraderie [between LPs] … and the fact that I sat in their shoes and I know what they feel and live every day, probably helps in the conversation.

Christine Pastore

target $500 million.

Vista has enjoyed relatively quick fundraisings, but it has not met many LPs outside of its circle of dedicated investors, Smith said. The IR team is tasked with helping to change that, he said.

“We need to let people know we exist,” Smith said. “Christine, with her background, credibility and her insight, is a marvelous strategic addition to our family and our team in building out very strong relationships going forward.”

Working on the GP side of the aisle will be different, according to Pastore, but not necessarily challenging because of her confidence in the product.

“As a fiduciary for all those years, I wouldn’t want to come to an LP and talk to them about something that isn’t the best product out there,” Pastore said.