Making private equity more efficient

Mash: thinking about how to efficiently liquidate a fund's residual portfolio.

Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Julian Mash established London-based Vision Capital in 1997 in order to build a specialised asset management business focused on alternatives. A few years later, Mash began to take a long, hard look at what some regard as private equity's Achilles' heel: how to efficiently liquidate a fund's residual portfolio. As wholesale buyers of bundles of later-stage direct investments, he and his team aim to make money by offering GPs solutions to strategic problems that one-by-one disposals of portfolio companies would not achieve. Having worked with Deutsche Bank, CSFB and Legal & General Ventures in this way, Vision has already put to work some $500 million of capital. Tellingly too, Mash has eschewed raising a dedicated fund and instead draws on a small network of enthusiastic investor groups on a transaction- by-transaction basis. If Mash is right about this fledgling segment of the secondary market's potential to grow much bigger, he and his firm should be credited for having helped turn private equity into a much more dynamic and investor-friendly asset class.