Disrupting the Private Equity Secondary Market
When New Capital Partners was first introduced to Cogent Partners, the boutique investment bank was a five-person, Dallas-based company. Original managing partner Stephen Sloan and his co-founders identified an opportunity to assist institutional investors selling their private equity assets into a rapidly developing secondary market, and they soon proved their business model. NCP was excited to partner with Cogent Partners to continue to grow the business and build a dominant market position in this new space.
Sloan said that the partnership with NCP had “a collaborative dynamic.” He added that reaching their goals “required strategic discussion about how to grow and develop a burgeoning private equity secondary market while at the same time building an organization which could grow by attracting and retaining talent, capturing information and advising clients at the highest level.”
A company in a new market faces a wide range of challenges as it grows, but NCP and Cogent Partners had a “strong professional and personal relationship” that helped create value for the business. “Throughout our partnership with NCP, they did an excellent job of modulating their involvement, which ranged from very ‘hands-on’ in the beginning by helping us hire, setting up systems and developing strategy to serving as an active participant in our executive committee. We never viewed NCP as just investors, but rather as our partners and friends in helping us grow a successful business.” Sloan said.
NCP founding partner Jim Little also described the partnership as “strong” and said the two companies trusted one another, which was a key part of their successes. Sloan echoed this sentiment. He said, “The most beneficial part of our relationship with NCP was the trust we developed with each other. Whether we agreed or disagreed on the best course of action, we always knew they had the firm’s best interests at heart. They trusted our team to make decisions we felt strongly about and always supported us once a decision had been made.”
Despite facing powerful competitors, Cogent Partners established itself as the market leader among investment banks in advising on the sales of private equity secondary assets. From 2002 to 2015, the firm grew from five employees to over 50 professionals, and in addition to their Dallas office, Cogent Partners opened locations in New York, San Francisco, London and Singapore. NCP is proud that Cogent Partners is viewed as a gold standard in the secondary advisory market.
In 2015, Cogent Partners was sold to Greenhill & Company, a publicly listed New York investment bank, where they became Greenhill’s Capital Advisory Group, wherein Sloan serves as the Head of Capital Advisory and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. To date, the Capital Advisory Group / Cogent Partners has advised on more than 13,000 limited partnership interests totaling approximately $290 billion in commitments.