Launching a Secondaries Platform: Why PE Sponsors Expand Into Secondaries and Key Pre‑Considerations to Weigh (Part One of Two)

The secondary market, which is expected to reach record heights in 2021, is starting to see new players. Traditionally, secondaries funds have been raised by managers dedicated solely to secondaries. Recently, however, an increasing number of traditional PE firms – from large, multi-platform asset managers to middle-market PE buyout shops – are contemplating or have already launched secondaries platforms of their own. The trend should be distinguished from managers raising continuation funds for their own assets or managers investing in secondaries as a sleeve within an existing PE fund or fund of funds. Rather, PE sponsors with existing buyout platforms are branching out and launching their own secondaries platforms. This first article in a two-part series delves into which types of managers are pondering expansion into secondaries and why, as well as preliminary issues for those managers to consider. The second article will examine unique structural features of secondaries funds, as well as considerations around information-sharing as a PE sponsor with a secondaries platform. See our two-part series on simultaneous management of PE and private credit funds: “Use of Walls and Other Tactics to Manage MNPI Risks” (Nov. 3, 2020); and “Techniques for Properly Allocating Investments, Fees and Employees” (Nov. 10, 2020).

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