SCM Eyes Expansion In The United States

SCM Strategic Capital Management AG, a Zurich-based adviser to institutional investors and publisher of an annual study on partnership terms and conditions, may open an office in the United States following the launch of offices earlier this year in London and Hong Kong.

CEO Stefan Hepp said that he has watched with interest the dwindling number of U.S. advisory shops that emphasize non-discretionary services, a less lucrative enterprise, in general, than providing discretionary work. SCM Strategic Capital, which prides itself on non-discretionary work for its mainly European clientele, figures it may be able to fill the breach.

The firm hasn’t decided exactly how to go about its entrée in United States. Possibilities include acquiring an advisory shop, or establishing a joint-venture with one, according to Hepp. Were it to simply open a branch office here, the firm would most likely do so in New York City.

As an investor, the 12-year-old shop is already an experienced hand in the United States, having channeled hundreds of millions of dollars in client money into funds managed by such firms as Advent International, The Blackstone Group, and Hellman & Friedman. The firm also has invested heavily with fund managers in Europe and, to a smaller extent, in Asia. Altogether the firm advises investors holding some $6 billion in private equity, infrastructure and real estate assets; of that sum $4 billion is non-discretionary.

SCM Strategic Capital employs some 20 investment professionals altogether—one in London since February, two in Hong Kong since last month, and 18 in Zurich. The firm opened the London office largely to help expand its client base in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world. It opened its Hong Kong office in part to help find promising managers as the Asian private equity market grows in importance, and in part to set the stage for wooing clients in the region.

Karin Russell-Wiederkehr opened the London office as partner and head of global markets, responsible for finding new clients and for client services for all of SCM Strategic Capital. Previously she was an executive director at Credit Suisse in charge of helping institutional investors transition between asset managers.

The Hong Kong office is led by Mark Engler, vice president of due diligence. Engler moved to Hong Kong from the Zurich office, where he worked for about seven years. Nana Riedhauser rejoined SCM Strategic Capital to be general office manager of the Hong Kong office; she held a similar position in the Zurich office in the mid-2000s. Hepp said he expects both the London and Hong Kong offices to add professionals over the next several months.

Expect SCM Capital to commit about $1 billion this year to perhaps 15 funds, up from $800 million last year. Most of that sum will be divided about equally between U.S and European funds, with perhaps $150 to $180 million going to Asia and other parts of the world, including South America.—D.T.

Swiss, German and U.S. pension funds have long been a staple of SCM Strategic Capital’s client base. Active clients include the Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio and Nestlé S.A. in Switzerland. Reach Hepp at 41 43 499 4949.