Private placement agent
A Private placement agent or placement agent is a firm assisting either funds managers in the alternative asset class (e.g. private equity, infrastructure, real estate, hedge funds) or entrepreneurs/private companies (e.g. start-ups, growth capital companies) seeking to raise private financing through a so-called private placement.
The placement agent acts as an intermediary between those seeking to raise money and various investors who may be interested in investing in the company looking to raise funds. However, they are typically mandated by the fund managers. A few placement agents are structured as groups within large investment banking firms (e.g., HSBC, Credit Suisse, Lazard, UBS Investment Bank) and more frequently as separate boutique investment banks (e.g. 5Capital, Asante Capital, Axonia Partners, First Avenue[disambiguation needed], Campbell Lutyens, Eaton Partners, Stonehaven, Simba Capital, Probitas Partners, Rede Partners, Accelera Invest or Triago), sometimes captive to an Alternative Asset management group or specialist fund marketer (e.g. OpenCap Global and others).
Placement agents will regularly seek to raise capital from a variety of institutional investors (e.g., pension funds, insurance companies, endowments, fund of funds, Sovereign wealth funds) as well as family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Some placement agents have an exclusive focus on a particular type of institutional investor (e.g. US Pension Advisors for corporate and public pension funds).
Placement agents are most often compensated through fees arrangements based on the amount of money raised (success fee) and supported by the fund or company they are actively representing (retainer fee).
Within the context of fund managers, placement agents can serve several functions:
- Raise investor commitments to new private equity funds - which might include targeting specific investor all the way down to a full service (advisory and marketing services)
- Other services such as: strategic advisory or secondary market sales of investors' private equity funds interests for those placement agents with a dedicated secondary market advisory practice.
Within the context of private companies, placement agents typically focus on raising the following source of financing:
- Equity financing for start-ups and growth companies
- Mezzanine capital
- Specialist financing such as Government loans
- Buyout firms race to spend cash piles, Financial News, 21 March 2011