AMERICAS NEWS: Heading for the mountains

By the end of next year, Partners Group’s Americas operations will look very different from how it looks now.

PERE broke the news last month that the Zug, Switzerland-based private markets investment manager is planning to establish a new Americas headquarters location in Denver, Colorado later this year.

As part of the initiative, Partners will be relocating a number of top executives from its existing US offices to Denver, including Pamela Alsterlind, global co-head of private real estate, from San Francisco, and David Layton, global co-head of private equity, from New York.

The move to a new headquarters is part of Partners’ growth strategy in the Americas, where the company’s headcount has increased at an average rate of 15 percent a year since 2011. Currently, the firm has 150 employees in the country.

“It suits our business and our business model to have a large hub in the US supported by other offices in New York, Houston and São Paulo,” Layton, who is spearheading the relocation effort and will head up the Americas headquarters, told PERE.

Partners has already established its European and Asian regional headquarters in Zug, Switzerland and Singapore, respectively.

In Denver, “we’re going to be building a purpose-built, standalone campus,” Layton said. Partners, which initially will operate out of rented office space, currently is in the process of acquiring “meaningful acreage” to build the headquarters, with an aim of completing it within the next two years.

Partners expects that the new regional headquarters will initially house 30 employees during its first year, and could potentially add 100 more staff over the next several years. PERE understands the firm has informed its San Francisco employees that it is planning to relocate them to Denver by the end of 2017, and eventually to close the San Francisco location. Some staff at Partners’ New York and Houston offices, who have been given the option to relocate, are likely to make the move as well.

The choice of Denver as a regional headquarters is an unusual one, considering that the city is not widely considered a gateway US market like San Francisco or New York. However, neither is Zug, Switzerland, where Partners’ global headquarters are based. Part of the rationale behind choosing Denver is said to be that, like in Zug, the firm is a big enough name in the industry that it has enough pull to attract clients to its offices, regardless of where they may be located. Other factors are understood to be Colorado's central location in the US, its high quality of life and lower costs. And “as the icing on the cake, it’s a mountain environment,” where the company can hold numerous corporate and teambuilding activities, added Layton. Just like in Zug.