Devon Park, the advisory firm founded by secondaries market veteran Jonathan Costello, has hired professionals with experience at firms including Whitehorse Liquidity Partners, Oaktree Capital Management and Committed Advisors, affiliate publication Secondaries Investor has learned.
The boutique GP-led-focused firm, which has an aim of being the only advisory group staffed entirely by people with buyside experience, hired Sebastien Siou, a former partner at preferred equity specialist Whitehorse.
Siou joined as a partner in December and will focus on private equity GP-leds as well as management company financing transactions.
Ian McLean joined as a managing director late last year from Oaktree, while Matthew Pellegrino joined as a director from Committed Advisors in December. The firm also has three associates, bringing the total number of staff to seven.
“From the investors’ side, in talking to them, I think we can have much more in depth conversations,” Costello, who ran PJT Park Hill’s global secondaries business for four years until 2020, told Secondaries Investor. “We’ve sat in their seat, so we know what they have to do to get a deal across the line.”
Siou will be Toronto-based while McLean will be Greenwich, Connecticut-based and Pellegrino will be based in the firm’s West Palm Beach, Florida headquarters.
Costello founded Devon Park in 2021 after a brief stint at Stone Point Capital where he joined in 2020 to launch its sponsor solutions business. He also previously led Morgan Stanley AIP’s global secondaries business.
Devon Park, which takes its name from the former address of investment firm Safeguard Scientifics where Costello said he executed his first secondaries deal in 2001, is understood to have raised $2 billion for clients across four deals that closed last year and appears to be gaining traction in an advisory market that is becoming increasingly crowded.
“Jon Costello does not mince words,” the managing partner at a GP that has run a process with Devon Park, told Secondaries Investor. “He has access to the most senior people and his firm performed beautifully. He gives yeses and noes – that’s not what most investment bankers do.”
The West Palm, Florida-headquartered firm’s deals so far are understood to have included advising Avenue Capital on a $625 million 10-asset infrastructure continuation fund deal involving Californian power assets, and real estate manager Ashcroft Capital on a deal involving $240 million in equity surrounding nine multi-family assets in May.
It also worked on a single-asset deal for Zips Car Wash, an Atlantic Street Capital portfolio company, understood to be worth more than $1 billion. ICG was lead investor in that deal, according to a statement about the transaction in May.
Costello declined to comment on specific transactions.
According to Costello, Devon Park largely focuses on deals where there is an equity need of up to $1 billion, with a sweet spot of $250 million to $750 million. It has mandates across private equity, real estate, credit and infrastructure.
“We think the most actionable deals in the market today are within that [monetary] range,” Costello said.
The firm will not focus on primary fund placement activity or traditional LP portfolio sales, he added.
Devon Park aims to grow its team to 10 people this year and is actively hiring on the real estate side, according to Costello. It was in market with six transactions as of early January and the goal is to complete eight to 10 deals this year, he added.