Eaton spin-out opens for business

Two of Eaton Partners’ former European fundraisers have set up London-based placement agent Threadmark.

Two senior fundraisers from the London office of Eaton Partners, the global placement agent, have set up a London-based placement operation, Threadmark.

Bruce Chapman, who had focused on private equity and infrastructure fundraising at CP Eaton, and Anne Gales, who had specialised in real estate and hedge fund mandates, gained authorisation from the UK’s Financial Services Authority in March and are currently working on three mandates, Chapman told PEO in a telephone interview.

Threadmark will raise funds for a number of illiquid asset classes, mirroring Gales’ and Chapman’s experience at CP Eaton. The three current mandates comprise one real estate client, one private equity client and one infrastructure client, Chapman added but declined to name the clients.

The duo left CP Eaton in August 2009 as the firm was restructuring its European and Asian businesses. The firm, which recently rebranded as Eaton Partners, is now led in Europe by Frank Chang and in Asia by David Love.

Chapman and Gales were both partners in the business and had been with the firm since 2005 and 2003 respectively. Before this, they had previously worked together placing funds at corporate finance boutique Continental Capital Partners.

They are joined in the new venture by Paul Murphy, who spent six years working for Invista Real Estate Investment Management.

The placement agent industry has gone through a period of flux in the last 18 months, due to a combination of factors including a dramatically slowed fundraising environment and a US scandal. The so-called “pay-to-play” scandal that erupted last year – in which individuals were collecting sham “finders’ fees” in order to secure commitments from US public pensions – recently resulted in new legislation. Two weeks ago the US Securities and Exchange Commission has barred unregistered placement agents from soliciting commitments from public institutions on behalf of private investment firms. There is also pending legislation in California that would require placement agents to register as lobbyists.

Charles Eaton, founder of Eaton Partners and one of several industry professionals who lobbied the US Securities and Exchange Commission to reconsider a total ban on public pension solicitation, described the SEC’s ruling as “a relief”.