New dawn for New Star

New Star Asset Management is to make its first foray into the private equity market by launching a fund-of-funds called New Star Private Equity Investment Trust (NSPEIT), formed from the merger of August Equity Trust and the Rutland Trust.

It will be targeting mid-market buyout funds both in the UK and across Europe and will have an initial portfolio of existing investments from both August and Rutland, and has already made investments in several listed private equity fund structures.

The management team will be led by Paul Craig, a fund manager of seven years at New Star and who has invested in listed private equity vehicles since 2003. The team will have the support of an advisory committee chaired by Michael Langdon, chairman of Rutland Partners.

Craig said: “We believe that private equity will continue to provide attractive returns relative to quoted markets as investors increasingly come to understand the dynamics that have driven the performance of this asset class. Exposure to private equity as an asset class in Continental Europe remains significantly below that of the UK and US and we expect this gap to narrow over time. The combination of adding listed private equity and commitments to other private equity limited partnerships to take advantage of this will add to the excellent performance of both Rutland and August and should provide attractive returns to shareholders”.

The initial portfolio has a total value of £66m, with £29m of August Equity investments and £24m of Rutland investments combining with £13m of other limited partnerships. NESPEIT also has commitments of £73m, £33m of existing commitments and new commitments of £30m to August Equity Partners II and £10m to Rutland Fund II.