The placement agent field just got a little more crowded last month with the addition of San Francisco-based Probitas Partners, which is headed by ex-Credit Suisse First Boston private fund group executives Greg Hausler, Michael Hoffman and Craig Marmer.
In addition to private fund placement services, Probitas Partners will also be offering investment management services for the limited partner community, including institutions and high-net-worth individuals, said Hoffman, adding that that initiative will not be undertaken until next year. Also, the group will look to open offices in New York and London to further add volume and diversification to its products.
Unlike CSFB’s private fund group, Probitas Partners will focus on placing middle-market and sector-focused funds, such as energy and health-care related funds, and will look to place six to eight funds per annum. The group is also looking to work with first-time fund managers with proven track records, which it feels is currently an underserved market.
Hoffman likens the current fund-raising market to that of 1990-1991 period where “constrained liquidity” and “tumultuous markets” presented the best opportunities for high returns. “The fund-raising market was already a tough environment before the Sept. 11th tragedy,” Hoffman said. “Now, LPs are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the market, and are looking to diversify with smaller and sector-focused funds.”
While not charging GPs for placing their funds, Probitas Partners will instead look to take a carried interest in their funds. The partnership is currently being funded by the founding partners, but is considering creating a holding company to offer equity to outside investors.