The most influential fund finance experts of 2022
The fund finance market has witnessed explosive growth in recent years, however, 2021 marked a watershed moment for the industry, bringing with it new levels of sophistication, maturity, innovation. Against this backdrop, The Drawdown is delighted to launch a new report showcasing the individuals who have shaped this market, and who’s achievements specifically in 2021 have had a major influence on the entire fund finance sphere.
In profiling the various fund finance practitioners named the most influential, clear themes emerged, highlighting the major forces that now shape this fast-growing market. Most notable was the advent and quick adoption of ESG-linked facilities. Many of the individuals listed in this report have been instrumental in the design and development of these products. Another key innovation in the space has been the mainstream use of NAV lines, a vital life line for private equity firms during the pandemic and beyond in securing additional liquidity, and therefore the ability to capture greater value. The third major development within fund finance in 2021 was the arrival of institutional capital to the market, unlocking a massive source of funding, to not only meet the needs of swelling private capital funds, but also to ease the pressure on bank balance sheets, and to provide investors exposure to a new asset class within itself.
A huge thanks to everyone who submitted their entries or nominated their peers, and congratulations to those who made the list. And a massive thank you 17Capital for making this report possible.
Jovanoski has been described by peers as a ‘constant innovator and contributor to fund finance’. His colleagues and supporters praised his passion and enthusiasm, as well as his continuous efforts to share his knowledge and exchange ideas. In 2021, he worked on SVB’s NAV loan product, which allowed for the lender to diversify its product range, having previously been concentrated around subscription lines. Later in 2021, Jovanoski joined J.P. Morgan’s Innovation Economy group within the Commercial Banking business to continue to build on J.P. Morgan’s fund finance offering specifically focused on venture firms. This builds on J.P. Morgan’s efforts to serve the full needs of the venture capital community. Also in 2021, Jovanoski put together the curriculum for the Fund Finance Association’s first advanced section of FFA University. He was also a member of the FFA Diversity Committee and participated in the FFA’s Mentorship Program. On top of his achievements at J.P. Morgan and his active involvement in the FFA, Jovanoski completed his Executive MBA with Honours from Columbia Business School, where he was a private equity program fellow and a graduation speaker.
Following Slane’s success in establishing and building out Investec’s Fund FX business, he moved across to the bank’s fund finance team in 2019. In 2021, the fruits of his labour shone brightly, having implemented Investec’s institutional capital strategy. By introducing this source of capital to the subscription finance market, Slane has not only solved Investec’s balance sheet constraints but also worked towards solving the overall lending market’s capacity constraints by unlocking new and deep sources of funding. Introducing institutional capital into the fund finance market has been transformative for the industry, beyond bringing about new sources of funding, it has also improved the borrower experience by providing large quantities of more cost effective capital, and without the need for voluminous and operationally intent bank clubs.
In 2021, Wilson played a critical role in the closing of 17Capital’s Fund 5, which collected $2.9bn of investor commitments. He explained the market opportunity for this fast-growing market segment to a global, blue-chip investor base, and established a significant pool of dedicated capital for fund finance. Beyond being instrumental in 17Capital’s latest fundraising efforts, Wilson led a number of innovative NAV loan transactions in 2021, working closely with private equity managers to design structures that achieved the objectives of all stakeholders involved, as well as increasing market awareness of the product. Throughout 2021, Wilson took responsibility for capital markets within 17Capital, working with fund finance participants globally. He helped structure financing facilities for 17Capital funds with multiple relationship banks and insurance companies. Wilson also established a rated feeder for 17Capital Fund 5, one of the first of its kind globally. This marks a major development for the fund finance market, providing institutional investors with a cost-effective way to gain leveraged exposure to private capital funds, and has since been replicated by a number of managers.
Cherry has been at Citi for 18 years and has worked on arranging some of the largest syndicated facilities in the European subscription facility market. Prior to leading the EMEA fund finance business, he was responsible for general asset backed lending across a number of different asset classes including commercial real estate, art, aircraft and marketable securities. For Cherry, 2021 was the year that sustainability-linked credit facilities went mainstream, marking the most important innovation in the fund finance market of the last decade. Citi was involved in a number of these transactions both in a lead ESG role and as a participant. While Cherry has been fascinated by the various approaches adopted by sponsors to address the topic and the variety of ways in which they (and their investors) think about sustainability, he believes there’s still a long way to go in this area, in particular around standardisation of how companies report their ESG data. Also in 2021, Cherry was instrumental in numerous large syndicated transactions, some of which included new entrants to the market. For Cherry, as the amount of capital flowing into private equity continues to increase, attracting new sources of capital into the loan market, from both banks and non-banks, is important and Citi has a role to play in that. Cherry believes 2021 will mark an inflection point for the fund finance market, moving into a new phase of sophistication by developing the characteristics of the more mature corporate loan market. He points to non-bank financial institutions entering the market; lenders looking to distribute risk and sustainability-linked loans as key evidencing factors of the market’s new maturity.
During 2021, Asoli initiated a holistic exercise to restructure SMBC’s fund finance business, in order to prepare for future growth and continued leadership in the industry. Notable changes included a build-out of a dedicated loan syndications team for the product, strategic realignment with the bank’s partner structured finance businesses, and the strategic push to grow other fund finance products outside traditional subscription finance. This was accomplished by upsizing the team significantly (with more than 20 new hires), as well as building dedicated functions for client relationship management, portfolio management, and portfolio strategy. All of this has meant that SMBC is among one of the largest lenders and a leader in the fund finance industry. It has closed among the largest NAV based facilities in the market, and the fund finance business is positioned alongside SMBC’s structured finance businesses to enhance the sponsor coverage offering
Rose had an incredibly busy 2021, having been promoted to managing director after just two years as director. Previously responsible for a portfolio of clients from origination through the full execution process, she took on responsibility for building out SVB’s global fund banking’s origination team. Rose joined SVB as a VP in 2018 and has received two significant promotions in the space of just four years. Indeed, Rose is one of the top performing sales people across SVB globally and has been recognized for her achievements by the bank’s president. In her build out of SVB’s global fund banking practice across Europe, she focused on the UK, Danish and German markets, where SVB has local offices. As well as expanding SVB’s reach, Rose proactively mentored junior team members across the 25 person global fund banking team in London from associate to VP level, helping to establish their careers and secure promotions. Rose also created and led SVB’s separate origination business (NAV, capital call lines, GP lines) working with mature funds through to first time managers. Furthermore, Rose boosted SVB’s presence in the market by staying relevant to clients virtually during the pandemic, which saw her hosting webinars and participating in panels and industry podcasts. She also co-authored a piece with Cadwalader’s Sam Hutchinson in the infamous fund finance GLI ‘pink book’. On top of this, Rose facilitated client networking via SVB hosted events.
Dinh pioneered the global trend of ESG-linked fund finance facilities when she led the world’s first ESG-linked subscription credit facility by ING bank to Quadria Capital in 2019, marrying the sustainability-linked loan technology that was gaining momentum in other sectors at individual company or asset level, to a portfolio framework that can be applied to PE funds even at the beginning stage of their lifecycle. The drive to incorporate ESG KPIs into fund-level credit facility by both LPs and GPs community has exploded since then with many new players entering the market across US, Europe and Asia and billions of fund facilities now featuring sustainability performance or use of proceeds, or a combination of both offered to private capital funds across asset classes. Dinh joined Citi, the biggest lender in the APAC subscription finance market, in November 2021 as director of the fund finance APAC business. She continues to champion the ESG incorporation into fund finance as well as developing new cross-functions and cross-regions solutions to support private capital investors throughout their capital structure. Since then, Dinh has continued to advise both banks and GPs across the US, Europe and Asia markets on the development of these structures and play an active role to promote the adoption, standardisation and continued evolution of this product. She sits on the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Financial Centre Advisory Panel (FCAP) – Green Finance working group for the fund management industry and is the only fund financier on the panel. Dinh moved to Singapore from Barclays London at the start of 2019 to help build out the fund finance business for ING Bank across the APAC region and led a rapid expansion of the business within a short few years, by offering creative solutions to GPs, drawing on her extensive experience with market terms in the US and Europe to promote alignments and scalability for the product in the APAC region. Some notable examples include the scaling of capital call facilities embedded with flexible hedging solutions (which was particularly helpful for funds to weather through the volatility when Covid hit); led a number of ‘first’ fund finance transactions for some of the largest Asian real assets funds who historically were less familiar with subscription line than their PE counterparts and thus set precedents to their subsequent funds; and successfully distributed large asset-level loans to syndicate of banks and NBFIs to help free up the bank’s capital while allowing it to continue to support clients through Covid. Dinh is also active in supporting diversity and next generation development in the fund finance industry. She was one of the first members of the Women in Fund Finance Europe committee when she was in London and is now co-chair of the Women in Fund Finance APAC.
Morrison has carved out a name for herself, having set up the fund finance division at abrdn, bringing institutional capital to the market. Her leadership and powerful market engagement is changing the landscape of subscription finance. Since joining the firm in 2019, Morrison has positioned abrdn as the leading non-bank lender in subscription finance by investing institutional capital in more than 30 transactions. During 2021, her fundraising activities generated in excess of $1bn additional capital for this asset class. In a market overwhelmingly dominated by traditional banks, Morrison has made a compelling case for the growing role of institutional capital in subscription finance and in doing so has enabled other non-bank lenders to follow. Working closely with her institutional clients to create bespoke solutions that deliver attractive risk adjusted returns, she is supporting the growth of this asset class by providing a welcome source of alternative capital, and simultaneously providing bank lenders with flexible, creative solutions to manage balance sheets and sponsor limits. Morrison sits on the FFA Diversity and Inclusion committee as well as the FFA Executive committee for EMEA, using these roles to advocate for more diversity and representation across fund finance. She continues to mentor and encourage young, diverse talent within the industry and as a senior, female leader with two young children is a strong role model for the next generation.
LLOYDS / INVESTEC
Thandi carved her early career in restructuring at Lloyds Banking Group, negotiating difficult situations, working with sophisticated clients and dealing with time pressures. She entered the fund finance market six years ago and has gained a reputation for being a consummate professional in dealing with private equity sponsors, industry advisors and peers with the same enthusiasm, drive and commitment to deliver. By 2021, Thandi became the primary contact for high profile private equity clients managing AUM of more than £100bn to develop bilateral and syndicated solutions spanning bespoke subscription facilities, NAV loans and sustainability linked facilities. She was also among the pioneers in bringing institutional investors into the fund finance market. Thandi is a strong and proactive advocate for diversity & inclusion, both internally and in the external market, as well as being a mentor and line manager for the junior cohort. Most recently, Thandi has taken on a role in Investec’s fund finance team.
CADWALADER, WICKERSHAM & TAFT
Hutchinson’s fund finance career is littered with firsts, evidencing her innovative and creative approach, and cementing her position as a trail blazer within the space. Hutchinson is responsible for designing structures that are now staple products in the European market, including one of the first secondary acquisition financings. As well as working on many of the first capital call and GP financings, Hutchinson more recently developed a note structure that employed securitisation technology to harness £1bn of insurance company capital. Since joining Cadwalader in 2018, Hutchinson has not only built up the firm’s European practice, she has also been an effective champion for improving diversity in the space, with her
team comprising a 50:50 gender split. In 2021, Hutchinson advised on more than 200 transactions, totalling more than £50bn in deal value. Maintaining her cutting edge status within the industry - having been the only European lawyer to work on an enforcement of a capital call facility when advising two syndicates of lenders with subscription facilities following the collapse of Abraaj - Hutchinson has taken the learnings from this experience to shape the future of fund and loan documentation. This has effected change in how documents are put together, and resulted in several changes to the process.
DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON
Described by his peers as “the best lawyer in the fund finance space,” Smith has gained popularity and influence thanks to his depth of knowledge and excellent client service. Thanks to his vast technical knowledge, Smith has become a key driver in establishing ‘what is the market’ when it comes to new structures and terms. His collaborative approach - working with both lenders and funds - means that he speaks persuasively and with authority. His connected work ethic also extends to his work in mentoring junior lawyers. Smith has made his mark in the fund finance space by leading two of the industry’s key developments; ESG-linked loans and NAV financings. Most notably, Smith broke new ground though an innovative €5bn subscription facility for EQT, which incorporated margin adjustment mechanics. The fund level facility features a pricing adjustment mechanism designed to accelerate the performance of downstream portfolio companies against ESG criteria, such as gender equality and decarbonisation. The facility has been recognised for kick starting ESG provision in fund level financing, making it truly groundbanking. Smith has also been at the forefront of NAV facilities, having led on a significant majority of these deals, of sizes up to $1bn, acting for both blue chip sponsors and the majority of NAV lenders.
Russell is head of the Haynes Boone’s London finance group. She is a well-recognised fund finance practitioner who is frequently praised for her domestic and cross-border capabilities. Russell is described by peers and clients as highly knowledgeable, very personable, commercial and decisive. Russell and her team have helped clients develop KPIs on ESG financings and assisted them with determining processes for reporting. In 2021, she and the team worked closely with clients through various challenges faced by the market, including liquidity shortages, extreme demand and LIBOR amendments to find innovative solutions. Russell’s impressive experience means that she is able to offer innovative novel solutions. She has also been working with alternative lenders in the private credit space and helped several start-up finance offerings to develop their product and market it in the space by hosting panels, writing articles and publications. In 2021, Russell was instrumental in growing the Fund Finance Association in Europe, having been named vice-chair Europe on the global board of the Fund Finance Association, as well as chair of Europe. She also co-chairs the Women in Fund Finance European committee, the Fund Finance European Advisory committee and the Fund Finance European Executive committee, highlighting her personal dedication to promoting the industry and various individuals working within it.
Benning has been active in structuring and transacting facilities to funds since the inception of the market, witnessing the industry’s evolution to the multi-billion dollar market it is today. The early years of fund finance were dominated by capital call or subscription facilities. Today, funds make for a sophisticated set of borrowers with an ever- growing list of demands for finance. With that, lenders need to be agile if they are going to succeed in this space and Benning has been at the forefront of creating solutions for this expanding market, which today covers NAV and asset backed facilities, continuation funding, SMA finance, secondaries lending, hedge fund facilities, GP facilities and more. Benning spent much of 2021 working on bespoke financing solutions, including a co-investment facility involving one of the world’s largest state-owned investment funds, a hybrid facility to a joint venture between two leading European sponsors, a facility secured against a derivatives portfolio, a number of asset-backed securitisations and facilities lending against the private wealth portfolios of high net worth individuals and family offices. The growth in this market has seen an influx of new players and an equally long waiting-list of entrants. With all this competition, differentiation and staying ahead of the curve is a necessity. The breadth of the Ashurst offering coupled with Benning’s many years of experience in the market means clients can access quality advice in a complex and often-challenging landscape. Support from specialist fund structuring, fund tax, securitisation and regulatory teams across the globe has enabled Benning to create tailor-made financing solutions for her clients, allowing them to not only adapt to the market but also to shape its direction. Looking ahead, Benning notes the fund finance market’s continued upward trajectory. Its strong foundation and proven track record of success creates an excellent standard for others to follow. Benning is proud to be one of those setting and maintaining that standard. Having been in this dynamic market for over 15 years, Benning is looking forward to seeing what it will look like in another 15 years, but if the past is anything to go by, the fund finance future looks bright.
KIRKLAND & ELLIS
Amini leads K&E’s fund finance practice, having founded one of the most innovative and fastest growing practice areas in the firm. Over the past 12 months, she has advised on more than 55 fund financing transactions, which have involved acting on over US$18bn of financing mandates across more than 30 different sponsor clients. These transactions have included advice on raising debt capital for many of the major private equity sponsors in the European market, such as Apax, BC Partners, HgCapital, IK Investment Partners, Investindustrial, Montagu, Nordic Capital, PAI Partners and Vitruvian. Amini has pioneered the use of innovative alternative debt capital for investment funds. These transactions involve drawing upon leverage finance technology, and most of them are highly bespoke. Her practice uniquely bridges the areas of mainstream bank finance and traditional investment funds. In particular, Amini can be accredited with developing what is known in the fund finance market as the “K&E structure” for NAV financings, and it is this innovation that is now opening up the world of NAV financing to a much broader range of participants, both lender and sponsor. Recent examples of her work include an ESG-linked capital call facility for Inflexion - advising Inflexion’s Buyout Fund VI, a 2022-vintage fund with £2.5bn in commitments, in connection with one of the largest ESG-linked capital call facilities in the European market to date. During 2021, Amini and her team continued to stretch and develop bespoke financing solutions for clients. Professionally, she continues to play a leading part in refiguring the landscape of how investment funds raise capital using creative debt structures. She is also one of the most experienced lawyers in her field, working for a wide range of franchise clients.
SIMPSON THACHER & BARTLETT
Sinclair had a standout year in 2021, having been elevated to partner as well as being named co-head of Simpson Thacher’s London fund finance practice. She also advised on financing of funds totalling more than $25bn in aggregate. Sinclair actively supports the wider fund finance community through frequent contributions to industry publications and forums. She also fosters the development of junior lawyers within her organisation through mentorship, as well as being co-chair of the London office’s diversity and inclusion committee. This work has seen Sinclair leading internal training for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s banking and credit practice, as well as providing resources and support to attorneys as a member of the firm’s attorney development committee.
Roper’s trajectory at Proskauer has been described as ‘stratospheric’. In less than a year, Roper has developed a reputation as a highly regarded advisor and key player in the fund finance industry. He has gained particular recognition for the work he has done with 17Capital, as well as numerous NAV financing transactions. For 17Capital, Roper was instrumental in advising on the closing of its inaugural NAV lending fund, which required high levels of technical expertise. Roper’s work on NAV financings has required a deep understanding of client’s underlying assets to ensure financing terms do not restrict operations, as well as to ensure the relevant security packages are sufficiently flexible and efficient. One notable deal he worked on was a backstop facility for a semi-liquid evergreen private equity fund, secured on the basis of the underlying assets. As the facility is only expected to be used in cases where additional liquidity is needed, the negotiations were different to those of a typical NAV facility. Roper was able to secure favourable terms in relation to standstill periods, deferral of cash sweep obligations and light touch triggers for enforcement.
A hugely influential figure in the fund finance space, Mbayi contributes regularly to industry publications, and also set up his own webinar series to share learnings and insights. Major highlights for Mbayi in 2021 include the creation of a bespoke fund finance transaction involving a Luxembourg open ended fund, as well as a major sustainability- linked financing. The global fund finance community has benefited from Mbayi’s open and collaborative approach. Not only is he leading innovations and sophistication within the fund finance sphere, he is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and supporting the entire industry. Mbayi is a member of the Fund Finance Association’s diversity committee, and also taught fund finance at the European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course at the University of Maastricht in 2021.
WHITE & CASE
2021 was another year of exponential growth for Snelson’s fund finance practice. This was in part driven by a marked increase in interest and demand from clients for legal guidance around NAV facilities and back-levering facilities, both relatively newer types of fund financing facilities. In November 2021, Snelson authored an article titled, “NAVigating the collateral waters: You have a boat but will it float?” for GLI Fund Finance about the challenges and structuring solutions that have been devised to help fund lenders wrestle with some of the trickier aspects of structuring NAV collateral packages. Snelson developed a specialty in NAV facilities throughout 202, which has provided a firm foundation for expansion in 2022. Furthermore, she has spoken at two conferences on panels about NAV facilities and has seen increased outreach from a wide variety of lenders and borrowers who are interested in the trends she is seeing in the NAV facility space.
FRIED, FRANK, HARRIS, SHRIVER & JACOBSON (LONDON) LLP
In 2021, Cecil advised on complex asset backed, subscription and GP financings deals with a total value of more than $30bn. She also advised on multi-billion financing transactions in the secondary space. Cecil is known for her work on transactions that are both structurally and technically complex from a legal and regulatory perspective. A notable example of this was her recent work advising a global asset manager on a complex multi-level credit support structure and cross-jurisdictional framework, which demanded compliance with several regulatory regimes, as well as the applicable tax overlay. Her penchant for complexity has also seen Cecil work on a number of fund finance transactions for sustainable and ESG-focused funds. Applying her deep understanding of ESG loans, funds and the finance market, Cecil has provided innovative solutions on a number of ESG-linked facilities. Cecil has also worked on several complex and innovative GP financings. Given the bespoke nature of these facilities, which often involve numerous funds (one deal she worked on involved more than 40 funds belonging to one manager), she has proven her ability to structure solutions that work for both managers and lenders. In 2021, Cecil was named deputy chair of the Fund Finance Assocation’s EMEA Executive Committee.
Since his appointment in 2020, Goodlad has led the creation of Rede Partners’ fund finance practice and overseen its development into one of the industry’s leading advisors. Goodlad has delivered six deals with a combined transaction volume of more than €3.4bn. Facilities have ranged from €50m to €1.1bn, raising capital to enable GPs to make further investments and accelerate investor distributions. Notable transactions from 2021 include the provision of a €1.1bn portfolio financing solution to Hg’s Saturn 2, to generate early distributions to LPs as part of broader fund management objectives, and a €50m NAV financing solution for Atomico to complete follow-on investments in the Fund IV portfolio. Goodlad has established a strong reputation within the sector, attracting referrals from lawyers and lenders as a preferred partner, as well as providing consulting services to LPs and advisors on transaction structuring. Goodlad and his team have played a critical role in educating LPs and GPs on the different structures available, when to implement them, and how processes can be handled in such a way that is mutually beneficial for all interested parties. As advisors to LPs, GPs and lenders, his team also hold an important position in the market, ensuring that such transactions proceed and are acceptable not only to borrowers but also to a fund’s investors.
Throughout 2021, Lobbardi and her team delivered more than 15 mandates in Europe and US, raising more than $10bn in debt for some of the largest managers in the world across multiple asset classes. When Lobbardi founded the Avardi Partners fund finance advisory service four years ago, many people in the industry were sceptical about the new business idea. She spent months pitching and convincing clients about the advisory role and why it makes sense to hire an advisor to run their financing process while getting them the best deal available. In the years since, fund finance advisory has proven the value it brings to clients, and with that, Lobbardi has grown Avardi’s offering and capabilities to meet client requirements and expectations. This has resulted in delivering better deals for clients in 2021, with the business increasing its deal flow it can better guide both sides of the transaction to a successful lending outcome.
Following the substantial growth in the private equity market coupled with the increase in the number of fund finance lenders, the advisory role in this space was validated in 2021, which saw Rock-Perring working on a material number of referrals from existing clients. Examples of Rock-Perring’s work in 2021 included a substantial NAV transaction mandate with a very well established European buyout fund; the first preference share mandate, which resulted in a competitive process with more than 20 credit funds and secondary funds to secure the financing. Rock-Perring also secured the mandate for a large subscription line facility and co-invest facility lasting several months with a long established name in the European private equity market. Rock-Perring’s independent advisory service helps private market funds navigate through the process of establishing fund finance facilities: subscription line and asset recourse facilities at the fund and portfolio level. He is well-versed in the full range of fund finance products including traditional capital call facilities, NAV facilities, hybrids, GP and executive financing, manager liquidity lines and umbrella facilities
Mehmood heads up the fund finance advisory business within the 100+ strong debt & capital advisory team at Deloitte. Prior to joining Deloitte, he worked at RBS for 19 years in a range of roles around fund finance, covering debt structuring and execution, and ultimately being named co-head of the funds banking relationship coverage team. Mehmood’s key achievement in 2021 has been the continued build-out of Deloitte’s fund finance advisory business. Having joined in January 2020, his team has since established Deloitte as a notable presence in the emerging fund finance advisory space in the UK/European market. Their success was compounded in 2021 with a broader set of clients, resulting in strong coverage across a range of managers (mid cap and small), sectors (PE, debt funds, real estate etc.) and products (NAV, subscription lines and GP facilities). Notable transactions that Mehmood and his team worked on include reputable mid market PE managers such as Hg, Inflexion, GHO; private debt managers, real estate funds and listed trusts, namely HGT. Mehmood also supported the debt raise linked to the second fund of the world’s largest PE investor in the circular economy: Circularity Capital. For Mehmood, the emergence of the advisory space in the fund finance market will only help to improve financing outcomes for managers – whether it be ensuring terms are on-market or being able to demonstrate to LPs that they have run a full competitive financing process. He believes advisors will help as a catalyst, improving market efficiency and providing expertise and insight through their connectivity, while at all times recognising the importance of the lender-borrower relationships, which are paramount.
Houlden joined Lazard’s private capital advisory business in 2018 to advise GPs and LPs on liquidity solutions in the private markets. Prior to joining Lazard, he spent five years at Lloyds Bank, primarily as a lender in the fund financing space with a specialism in secondaries financings. Lazard’s private capital advisory business advises a broad range of GPs & LPs on liquidity solutions for their portfolios. While this often takes the form of GP-led continuation fund structures, the team has also advised frequently on the raising of preferred equity and NAV financings as alternative sources of liquidity. In addition, the team has been a pioneer in providing a dual advisory service to various GP clients to raise equity bridge financings alongside their continuation funds. In 2021, Houlden was part of the Lazard team that advised on >€5.5bn of European secondary transactions, as well as advising on >€1bn of fund level financings for a number of high profile European & US private equity sponsors. For Houlden, a real value add, and source of differentiation, for clients is to have a one stop shop advisor that has deep industry experience advising on the full range of liquidity solutions in the private markets as well as being able to implement financing structures in support of Lazard continuation funds that optimise outcomes for all Stakeholders.
Brickfield’s greatest achievement in 2021 was helping the fund finance industry grow by finding the best global talent, both from inside and outside the industry. Smith and his team have become a vital link between candidates and recruiting managers, ensuring their respective expectations are met. The recruitment market for fund finance has become increasingly challenging, with flexible working and upward wage pressure in the post-COVID inflationary environment making Smith’s work increasingly vital. Smith has also been focused on expanding Brickfield’s knowledge base, which has helped provide clients and candidates with more accurate and in-depth intelligence than ever before, via the circulation of regular bulletins and periodical reports. Smith has been working on a forthcoming 2022 Fund Finance Bankers Compensation Report, a follow-up to the 2019 report – the first ever of this type ever produced in the fund finance market. This year’s report will not only serve as an important guide for hiring managers, but as an information resource that will be useful to outsiders looking into fund finance.
In 2021, Camacho worked on a number of NAV financing facilities for private equity and venture funds, both large and small, helping establish Rede as the market leader in this space. The facilities he has worked on have achieved a number of firsts, while also helping set the standard for the nascent market. Camacho has helped to bring a number of non-traditional, under the radar providers of NAV financing into processes, to benefit his sponsor clients. His relationships span Europe, US, and Asia. Camacho delivered an NAV webinar masterclass on NAV financing, drawing in more than 200 participants, which is part of his commitment to educating the various market constituents about the NAV financing space – the good, the bad, the opportunities, the pitfalls to avoid, and best practices.
Long before the term became popular, Mahon had been seen in the industry as the archetypical ‘Modern CFO’. Viewed as a pioneer within the secondaries market, Mahon spearheaded a range of initiatives at Coller Capital across fund structuring, portfolio management and technology. Following work with the FFA during the Covid crisis, Mahon was invited to be the first private equity GP-representative on the FFA EMEA executive committee. He keenly advocates for better representation and education on all fund finance matters to regulators and legislators. One of the most knowledgeable and innovative CFOs in this space, Mahon and his team have negotiated fund and deal facilities of all types. He has been at the forefront of the evolution of the market for decades and this experience has enabled him to lead innovation in the market. A senior member of the banking community described Joe as, “Very adept at synthesising the ideas and differing capabilities of banks. Joe is a natural thought leader and someone whom the blue-chip banks, both in the UK and globally, see as a clearing house for their ideas. Leveraging these relationships, he developed a syndicate model after the GFC, and was also one of the first to adopt fund level asset-backed financing. More importantly, Joe is a great character and an absolute pleasure to work with”. Mahon has oversight of all Coller fund financing including its latest flagship fund, which closed with commitments of $9bn in 2021. This forms part of a wider remit Mahon has at Coller, where his work has evolved over the years from the ‘conventional’ CFO role, to being a voting member of the Investment Committee. Most recently, Joe led his team in the launch of Coller’s first credit secondaries fund, Coller Credit Opportunities I, which has already closed on the world’s largest private credit secondaries investment.
Early is a partner and European CFO in the Ares finance and accounting department. Since taking on the role in early 2012, Early initially began arranging fund finance facilities for Ares in 2013. Back then, the first facility he secured was around €85m in size. Fast-forward to today, Early has recently arranged a €2.2bn line for one of Ares’ latest funds. Given the size of Ares; the number of funds it manages and the scale of relationships it maintains, the GP is a major user and proponent of fund finance, and Early has been involved in all manner of products, including both bilateral and syndicated loans, subscription lines and asset-backed facilities. Having spent a large amount of time over the past decade working on fund finance facilities, Early’s top priority has always been to ensure Ares is securing the best possible terms for investors. Thanks to his in-depth knowledge of the fund finance market, Early is also an active member of the community, sharing his ideas and the innovations he has seen with his peers. Looking back on his work and achievements when it comes to fund finance, Early notes how ubiquitous the product has become, with continuous development and new creations being applied throughout all alternative strategies, and how much attention the industry has attracted from various stakeholders, including GPs, LPs and trade bodies.
According to Burton, 2021 was a pivotal year for fund finance at ICG, with its role fully established as supporting the successful management of all of its strategies. ICG completed 15 deals, all adapted individually for each strategy, and completed its largest deal at more than €2bn. Burton worked closely with ICG’s banking and legal partners to complete these transactions. Burton believes fund level finance is a critical component of managing a successful fund. And with that, throughout 2021, Burton focused on building strong relationships with credit providers and lawyers to ensure availability of the product, given high levels of demand coupled with a more challenging macro environment. Burton and his team prioritise strong relationships throughout the market as a key to success. Also in 2021, Burton and his team sought to move the market forward in conjunction with their banks and lawyers. As the fund finance market moves into a new phase of sophistication, ICG required increased flexibility with regards to deal structures for its strategies, as well as efficiency and speed in execution of documents, especially KYC checks.
DEE DEE SKLAR
Arguably the most highly respected and well known figure within the fund finance space, Sklar’s decades-long career has positioned her as a true innovator and one of the industry’s most prominent founders. With 40 years of global experience in finance, investments, operational controls, risk management, and compliance she brings leadership, strategy, creativity and adaptability to growing and operating successful businesses within top financial institutions. Since her departure from Wells Fargo in 2020, Sklar has taken on a number of board membership and advisory committee roles. She is a strategic advisor for 17Capital; serves on the board of directors for three SPACs - Kernel Group Holdings, Callodine Acquisition Corp and Papaya Growth Opportunity Corp - as well as the advisory board for Tealbook She is also the co-global chair for Women In Fund Finance and a member of the Committee of 200, the Thirty Percent Coalition, Extraordinary Women on Boards, KPMG Women In Real Estate Steering Committee and the Fund Finance Association. Her peers describe her as energetic, innovative and committed.
We asked the fund finance and private capital fund industry to put forward nominations for the most influential experts in the space. We asked nominees to outline their notable achievements in the calendar year 2021, and to explain why these particular achievements or developments are important, with particular focus on how they will impact and improve the fund finance market. From an impressive number of suggestions and nominations, the judging panel selected a final list of the 30 most influential experts for 2022.