Gilles Laporte, who left his position as managing director of Lazards’ buyout arm Fonds Partenaires Gestion at the beginning of this year, has founded an advisory boutique for institutions investing in private equity. Gilles Laporte Conseil will fill a gap in the market in France providing an intermediary service between the demand and supply sides of private equity investing. The business will focus on the French market initially but there are plans to extend it to investors in Spain and Italy. In France there are no other independent boutiques exclusively serving the LP community.
Working only for investors and not private equity funds, Laporte will take on a gatekeeper role advising on the analysis and selection of funds and following the progress of investments. Having spent 28 years with French insurer Groupama, where his positions included president of Groupama Asset Management, Laporte has experienced private equity investing from both sides of the LP/GP relationship and anticipates a strong demand for the service.
Likely clients include investors such as insurance groups, regional banks and pension funds that don’t have the experience, time or in-house resources to analyse and track their own private equity investments. Laporte says institutions are looking to increase the security of their investments: “They need to know more and to have more security to increase their asset allocations.” In the long term he anticipates strong growth in private equity investment in France and Europe.
Laporte is also president of the board of trustees of 123Venture, a fund-of-funds manager that offers individuals the opportunity to invest in private equity funds. Although Laporte’s advisory business is separate from 123Venture they will share a team of analysts and the fund research they produce.