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PEI Awards 2015 Secondaries: Ardian, Credit Suisse reign

NewQuest Capital Partners took the gong in Asia, while CalPERS and Strategic Partners clinched the top spot for Secondaries Deal of the Year in the Americas.

Ardian and Credit Suisse took centre stage in the secondaries categories in Private Equity International's 2015 Awards, announced on 1 March, picking up two trophies each.

Paris-headquartered fund of funds manager Ardian was named Secondaries Firm of the Year in Europe for the second year running and also won in the Americas. The firm is active in almost every alternative assets space and completed more than $5 billion in secondaries deals last year, as well as emerging as the buyer in some of the biggest deals from 2015.

It also opened offices in San Francisco and Madrid, bringing its global bureau tally to 11, and has already got off to a flying start in 2016 with the purchase of a $940 million portfolio of private equity stakes from the Universities Superannuation Scheme, as well as amassing around $10 billion for its latest secondaries vehicle after just nine months on the road.

Credit Suisse's private fund group was the other big winner, taking home Secondaries Advisor of the Year in the Americas for the second time, as well as wining in Asia.

Credit Suisse said its corporate finance approach to secondaries advisory gave it a competitive edge, particularly with GP-led deals, which rose to account for about 25 percent of the secondaries market globally from about 20 percent in 2014.

Credit Suisse also advised on Palamon Capital Partners' August staple deal, which won for Secondaries Deal of the Year in Europe. Goldman Sachs AIMS Private Equity Group led a group of five buyers who bought stakes in two tail-end Palamon Capital Partners funds and committed capital to the firm's new fund in a deal worth around €250 million. The deal was a win-win for the sellers, the buyers and Palamon, which received a boost to fundraising for its latest vehicle.

Across the Atlantic, Secondaries Deal of the Year in the Americas went to none other than the California Public Employees' Retirement System and Strategic Partners for the Blackstone unit's purchase of a $3 billion portfolio from the pension giant, while Mizuho Financial Group and Lexington Partners won Secondaries Deal of the Year in Asia for their deal involving a $1 billion portfolio disposal by the Japanese bank.

Staying in the region, Hong Kong's NewQuest Capital Partners took our top spot for Secondaries Firm of the Year in Asia, winning for the second time in a row. The direct secondaries firm made one of the biggest exits from its second fund with the $543 million sale of China Hydroelectric to Shenzhen Energy and has already raised more than half of the $500 million target for its third dedicated secondaries fund.

Lazard Private Fund Advisory Group clinched top place for Secondaries Advisor of the Year in Europe, amid fierce competition and ever-more complex deals forcing advisors to come up with increasingly innovative ways to structure deals. The firm closed three complex GP-led liquidity deals and ended the year an innovative restructuring of two funds from Danish buyout firm Odin Equity Partners, now BWB Partners.

Click HEREto read our full coverage, which details which fund managers, investors, advisors and transactions; click HERE to read the list of Americas winners; click HERE to read the list of winners in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and HEREto view all winners in Asia.