Gamma Finance boosts consulting team on private hedge trading

Gamma Finance, intermediaries and advisors for secondary market transactions in hedge funds, has hired Benjamin Keefe as director of its newly established investment advisory business, consulting with hedge fund managers involved in or considering private market transactions.

Keefe was previously a director with UBS Investment Bank responsible for holistic risk assessment of new business initiatives and complex trades.

From 2006 to 2009 he was a member of the investment committee at Nedgroup Investments, advising on the management of hedge and long-only funds, with a specific focus on illiquid investment opportunities.

He has also worked at HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Florian de Sigy (pictured), managing partner of Gamma Finance, said it was important in growing the firm he founded in 2009, to expand beyond helping buyers and sellers of hedge fund stakes, and consult with hedge fund managers as well.

Gamma Finance facilitates direct trading of hedge fund stakes – both illiquid and liquid – and also helps hedge fund managers sell illiquid asset lines in their fund, for example where potential buyers have appetite only for portions of the portfolio.

Such a case might be private equity buyers seeking ownership of companies in specific sectors, or real estate funds with appetite for particular regions.

The London-based firm says the reasons for selling illiquid shares have widened out, changing the landscape dramatically since the crisis.

De Sigy said: “Back then it was distressed sellers looking for cash, to cover private equity calls or real estate credit, with sellers driven by urgent demands for liquidity. We are no longer talking to distressed sellers selling distressed assets because they think they are poor quality assets. Instead, the majority of sellers are simply calculating the benefits of remaining in a fund versus the opportunity of exiting privately in the secondary market.”

Keefe added: “Our advisory business performs detailed independent analyses of illiquid hedge fund portfolios. This enables us to inform and increase appetite from our buy-side clients, which in turn assists those wishing to sell.”

The sizes of stakes Gamma Finance has helped trade vary immensely, down to $1m and up to $500m. It quotes on between 150 and 200 funds for which it already identified supply or demand, as well as specific assets with fund portfolios.

The number of managers vetoing transfers is now “extremely limited”, says Keefe.

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