bfinance strengthens London team with hire of Sweta Chattopadhyay to head private equity advisory practice

Senior appointment of highly experienced ex-Railpen private equity professional is response to rising client demand for advice in private markets and marks significant step in firm’s continuing expansion bfinance, the independent investment consultancy, today announces the appointment of Sweta Chattopadhyay as Director – Private Markets. Heading the private equity advisory practice at bfinance, she brings with her over a decade’s experience investing in private equity funds and in direct/co-investments globally.

With a mandate to help grow and evolve bfinance’s Private Markets team, Chattopadhyay’s appointment marks a significant step in the development of the consultancy’s Private Markets advisory capability. Chattopadhyay’s responsibilities will include manager search and selection, directs/co-investments advisory, portfolio strategy and design, and monitoring solutions, with an overarching focus on furthering bfinance’s ability to provide richer, broader implementation support to investors.

Prior to joining bfinance, Chattopadhyay was a Senior Investment Manager at RPMI Railpen, the £27bn UK Railways Pensions Scheme, where she was responsible for leading private equity and debt investments including the sourcing, due diligence, negotiations and execution of transactions, and formulating investment strategy. She was also involved in the build-out of the co-investment programme at Railpen, as well as building up the scheme’s exposure to emerging managers and fund-less sponsors.

Previously, Chattopadhyay held the position of Vice President at Adveq (PE Fund of Fund), and also held roles at Universities Superannuation Scheme (the £50bn UK Universities pension scheme) and within M&A at ABN Amro, gaining substantial experience within both large cap and small/mid cap, and across a variety of investment types including primaries, secondaries, co-investments, emerging manners, and fund-less sponsors. She holds an L.L.B. from the London School of Economics, and an M.B.A from INSEAD.

bfinance’s Private Markets advisory division has expanded significantly in recent years, with over 30% of the consultancy’s engagements over the past twelve months focussing on this sector. The firm is one of an increasingly small number of advisors that do not provide asset management services in this sector, focusing purely on advisory support. The growth of the Private Markets team comes as a response to the increasing control and sophistication sought by investors in their private equity investment strategies, including greater use of co-investments and direct investments

The expansion of the Private Markets team is one part of bfinance’s wider growth both in the UK and globally, as the firm looks to take advantage of its distinctive approach to investment consulting and strategic implementation. Late 2017 saw bfinance capitalise on its work and relationships with the US pension community through the opening of the firm’s first US office, and the firm has two additional offices in Canada and in six other locations worldwide.

Peter Hobbs, head of private markets at bfinance, said: “Sweta’s appointment represents an important and timely addition to the bfinance team. With investors increasingly looking for more control and sophistication in their private equity investment strategies, including greater use of co-investments and direct investments, bfinance is developing in order to provide richer, broader implementation support. The Private Markets division has been growing rapidly, representing an increasingly large proportion of the firm’s work for investor clients globally, and we anticipate that Sweta’s appointment will further fuel that expansion. Having been an institutional investor for most of her career, she brings valuable perspective on building/managing portfolios as well as sourcing and executing transactions.”

Sweta Chattopadhyay, commenting on her appointment, said: “I am delighted to be joining bfinance as the firm grows its client base and capabilities within Private Markets. I look forward to developing and broadening our Private Equity services, including providing greater support on direct and co-investments. As a former LP, the bfinance philosophy of empowering asset owners was hugely attractive to me, as was the collaborative and aligned way in which the firm works with clients. The way that LPs think about and access the PE market is evolving rapidly, and bfinance has a strong reputation for innovative thinking and solutions across asset classes.”