First Avenue snags Larsen from Highland Capital

The London-based placement agent focused on private funds has hired Jess Larsen to lead its Americas teams. 

First Avenue Partners has brought on board Jess Larsen, former global head of sales at Highland Capital Management, to serve as a partner and head of Americas, the placement agent and advisory firm announced on Thursday.

Larsen will lead teams in the firm’s New York and San Francisco offices and manage its distribution, origination, and project management.

“I view the appointment as a perfect match and trust my background will be beneficial to the firm’s growth strategy,” said Larsen in a statement. “In addition, my institutional connectivity will contribute to the firm’s ability to compete as a top-tier placement agent.”

Larsen has over 23 years of experience, particularly in credit and private equity. At Highland Capital, Larsen served as global head of institutional sales and led a team of 12 based in Dallas, New York, Korea and Tokyo.

Prior to Highland, Larsen was a senior member of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s European Capital Introduction team, responsible for Scandinavia and the Middle East. His other previous posts in the industry include partner and head of sales at VCM Fund Management and establishing and managing Merrill Lynch’s European family office group.

Larsen’s hire comes on the heels of another addition to the First Avenue team recently, Haroon Chishti, previously a vice president at Unigestion, who the firm brought on last month as its new director of its private credit team in New York.

Based in London, First Avenue has five global offices and advises GPs and management teams across private equity, private credit, real estate and real assets. The firm has advised firms like Permira, Hastings Funds Management, M&G Investments and MezzVest on their fundraising efforts.