Siguler Guff draws $260 mln for first trade-opportunities fund

Firm: Siguler Guff & Co

Fund: Siguler Guff Trade Finance Opportunities Fund

Amount raised: $260 mln

The Siguler Guff Trade Finance Opportunities Fund drew commitments from four investors, $50 million more than its first Form D filing in November, which disclosed two investors.

George Siguler, Andrew Guff, Donald Spencer, Kenneth Burns and Jay Koh are listed as executives of the fund, which recorded its date of first sale took place on Oct 6.

A spokeswoman for New York-based Siguler Guff declined to comment or provide any details on the type of investments in the fund.

Along with Siguler Guff Trade Finance Opportunities Fund, Siguler Guff has two other first-generation funds in the market: Siguler Guff Small Business Credit Opportunities Fund and Siguler Guff Brazil Fund. In its most recent fund closing, the firm in late 2013 wrapped up Siguler Guff Small Buyout Opportunities Fund II LP with $940 million in commitments, ahead of its original target of $600 million.

Trade finance is the business of guaranteeing deal terms between overseas parties involved in cross-border commerce. Letters of credit are used to make transactions more secure. The letters provide protection for a buyer against payment obligations until terms and conditions are met.

One player in this business is Silicon Valley Bank, which offers trade finance to help companies maximize global opportunities, including services to accelerate cash or to extend terms, depending on the transaction.

Siguler Guff is a multi-strategy private equity investment firm with more than $10 billion in assets under management. It developed an international presence as an independent firm after spinning out of Paine Webber in 1995.

On the personnel front, Patricia Dinneen, a senior investment executive who had worked Siguler Guff since 2004, left last year to join the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association as a senior advisor. Ralph Jaeger, a managing director at Siguler Guff, replaced Dinneen as portfolio manager of the firm’s investment focus on Brazil, Russia, India, China and certain frontier markets.

In a 2012 interview with Buyouts, George Siguler said private markets offer a better place than public markets for investing in Brazil, Russia, India and China.

“Public stock indexes in these countries are heavily weighted toward large banks, energy companies, telecoms and utilities,” Siguler told Buyouts. “They have very little exposure to areas like healthcare, consumer goods, retailing, and the food and beverage sector, all of which are the sweet-spot industries for the growing middle class. So the stuff you most want to be invested in is much more easily accessed through private equity rather than the public markets.”