Ex-Partners exec to lead Hamilton Lane’s Australia expansion

The $342bn asset manager has made its first Australia-focused hire as it looks to raise capital from the country, as well as gaining access to greater deal flow.

Investment manager Hamilton Lane has hired former Partners Group executive, James Martin, to lead its Australia business from its newly-opened Sydney office.

Martin joins as a principal and will head up Hamilton Lane's client base across Australia and New Zealand.

Martin is currently the only full-time employee in the office, although the firm looks to grow the team over time, Tara Blackburn, managing director at Hamilton Lane, told PDI's sister publication Private Equity International.

“Australian investors are seeing, whether in their portfolios or elsewhere, that the private markets can provide attractive returns above the public markets,” Blackburn said. “This is driving increased interest in the asset class, particularly for managers and investments outside the country.

Australia's superannuation fund industry, which manages A$2.3 trillion of assets ($1.8 trillion; €1.6 trillion), is on the lookout for direct and overseas deals as high asset prices and fees make primary fund commitments less favourable, asset consultancy Willis Tower Watson said.

Blackburn added that the firm has also seen regular co-investment deal flow in Australia from a mix of global, pan-regional and local GPs. “In other markets in the past we have found that adding a local presence really ramps up the amount of activity that we see overall in those markets.”

Foreign GPs who have recently struck deals in Australia include KKR, which acquired in June food and beverage operator Dixon Hospitality , as well as The Carlyle Group, which partnered with Sydney-based buyout firm Pacific Equity Partners, in a $930 million deal for pharmaceutical company iNova .

Prior to joining Hamilton Lane, Martin spent more than five years at Partners Group, where he focused on institutional sales and deal origination. Earlier in his career he was associate director of institutional business at Pinnacle Investment and before that spent nine years at Macquarie Group.

Hamilton Lane manages more than $342 billion of assets globally across primaries, secondaries and co-investments.

In June the firm closed its annual private credit fund, Hamilton Lane Strategic Opportunities Fund 2017, at $435 million, surpassing its target of $250 million.