May 2012

Fast-growing placement agent First Avenue has given another indication of its global ambitions with the hire of former Mirabaud sales chief John Owens to a key position.

Owens is the new principal for UK coverage at the firm where he will raise capital for both funds and direct corporate transactions, sources familiar with the situation said.

Financial News reported in November that Owens was to leave his role as sales chief at Mirabaud Investment Management, the London-based subsidiary of Swiss private bank Mirabaud et Cie, after 10 years. Prior to that, he spearheaded global institutional sales at Aberdeen Asset Management, and was also responsible for developing new institutional business across the globe at Aegon Asset Management.

Financial News understands that Owens will be working with David Hunter, principal, responsible for consultancy relationships and UK and Ireland coverage. Hunter was previously an actuary at financial consultant Mercer.

In January, First Avenue appointed former co-head of Goldman Sachs' private equity team in Europe, Clive Norton, as a senior adviser to its buyout team.

The firm has grown strongly since launch in May 2006, diversifying into providing fund advisory services for a range of products, including private equity, hedge funds, UCITS commodities infrastructure funds and direct corporate fundraising.

Late last year it acquired the majority of US investment bank Madison Williams' placement agent team, giving it bases in New York, Cleveland and San Francisco.

Sophie Baker, Finanial News