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bfinance appoints Senior Director, Private Markets

bfinance, aa independent investment consultancy, has appointed Anna Morrison as Senior Director, Private Markets. Joining the research team at bfinance’s London office, Morrison brings twenty years’ experience in financial services and investments in the US, Europe and Asia. 

Morrison will lead the Private Equity advisory practice and becomes the third Senior Director in bfinance’s Private Markets team, alongside fellow Senior Directors Trevor Castledine (Private Debt) and Anish Butani (Infrastructure). She will report to Managing Director Peter Hobbs (Real Estate, and Head of Private Markets), whose division has doubled in size over the past two years and now comprises ten private markets specialists supported by a cross-disciplinary team of analysts 
The growing size and seniority of the firm’s Private Markets team reflects the increasing importance of private markets to this expanding business: in the last year, more than 30 per cent of the engagements that the firm conducted for its global institutional clientele – and more than 45 per cent of manager searches – were either solely or primarily focused on illiquid investment strategies. 
Morrison brings a wealth of experience to bfinance, having spent a number of years as an Investment Director at global institutional manager IFM investors, based out of the firm’s Melbourne and London offices. In her role she was responsible for the daily management of several global fund of fund programmes, totalling over USD1.5 billion in commitments. She has also held over 10 Advisory Board positions with programme sizes of USD180 million to cUSD1 billion. Prior to that she was Investment Associate and Investment Analyst, focusing on research and due diligence across strategies and geographies. She holds a master’s degree in finance from Macquarie University. 
bfinance’s recent quarterly report found that new manager searches in Private Markets outstripped those in equities, fixed income or liquid alternatives, reflecting the ongoing trend towards higher private market exposure among the firm’s clients including pension schemes, insurers, endowments, family offices and more. This broad industry trend is illustrated in research reports such as bfinance’s July 2020 investor survey (Asset Owner Survey – Managing Through Uncertainty). 
In Private Equity, activity this year has spanned a wide range of sub-sectors: primaries and secondaries, directs and fund-of-funds, PE-only and multi-asset private market mandates. Clients range from highly experienced PE investors with specific needs to less experienced investors taking their first steps in building up private market exposure. Key themes for new activity have included demand for secondaries, the potential opportunities arising from coronavirus-related dislocation, exposure to Asia and Emerging market managers, and the rising importance of ESG and thematic investing. 
Peter Hobbs, Managing Director & Head of Private Markets, says: “We are delighted that Anna is joining to further strengthen our team. We have experienced a surge in demand for Private Equity projects from investors around the globe, often as part of a broader trend to expand their private market exposure. Appointing a senior director in this space is a natural next step to better serve our clients.” 
Anna Morrison, Senior Director, Private Markets, says: “I am pleased to be joining bfinance, a global investment consultancy with a reputation for high quality. What particularly appealed to me was the client-focused research philosophy, which produces a very differentiated approach to analysis. The current market uncertainty makes this a fascinating time to be advising investors on their private equity strategies and allocations, and after years of running fund-of-funds portfolios I’m excited to have the opportunity to move into an advisory role.” 

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