Standard Life Execs Surface With New Firm

Less than five months after the U.S. team of Standard Life Investments quit en masse, it has re-emerged as a new funds-of-funds shop called Constitution Capital Partners. The firm will make both fund commitments and co-investments in the small-cap to large-cap buyouts market, with a particular focus on the middle market.

“This is the same strategy we followed at Standard Life and, before that, at State Street,” says Dan Cahill, a managing partner with Constitution Capital, based in Andover, Mass. “It’s a lot of heavy lifting because there are over a thousand or so firms in the middle markets, but you can generate very strong returns if you do your homework.”

Constitution Capital’s team has previously made fund commitments with such firms as Avista Capital Partners, Eos Partners, New Mountain Capital, The Sterling Group, Sterling Investment Partners, Sterling Partners, Sun Capital Partners and Towerbrook Capital Partners.

Cahill would not disclose the target for Constitution Capital’s debut fund, although he did say to expect a first close in early summer. The firm does not plan to use partner capital to make interim investments.

Constitution Capital’s six partners formed the U.S. team of based Standard Life Investments, the money-management arm of the British insurer. The six left last October after being shut out of the firm’s partnership economics.

Specifically, parent company Standard Life agreed to partially spin the team out into an independent firm called SL Capital by selling a 40 percent ownership stake to nine managers. None of those managers, however, was part of Standard Life Investments’s Boston-based team, which at the time managed a $300 million fund of funds geared to North American firms. Instead, the managers who were offered equity stakes were all based in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they oversaw a €900 million ($1.4 billion) European fund of funds.

Cahill said he and his Boston-based team complained, but to no avail. They eventually chose to leave.

In the aftermath of their departures, Standard Life Investments initially denied that the team had departed; the company continued to take voice mails and kept the partners’ profiles up on the firm’s Web site. When their departure was made known, a Standard Life Investments spokesman claimed that the loss of the team was not significant because the group had not assumed deal-sourcing, marketing or fundraising functions. Those allegations turned out to be false, and the spokesman later retracted them.

The new team, all of whom came over from Standard Life Investments, includes Cahill, Managing Partner John Guinee, Partner Robert Hatch, Partner Vincente Miguel Ramos, Partner William Richardson and Principal Alexander Tatum. Constitution Capital also plans to add a pair of senior professionals, as well as some junior staff.—D.P.