Conversus launches fund with StepStone for private markets

Conversus, a North Carolina-based investment platform for high-net-worth investors, opened its inaugural fund — Conversus StepStone Private Markets — with $35 million, with a first close on October 1.

The new fund is subadvised by StepStone and is set up to offer global exposure to major private market asset classes — private equity, private debt and real assets, including infrastructure and real estate — in a single investment vehicle.

The Conversus StepStone fund (CPRIM) portfolio seeks to be well-diversified across underlying managers and by sector, strategy, geography and vintage year. StepStone will invest the fund’s capital alongside its institutional clients and has identified an initial group of investments to set up the initial portfolio. The aim is to initially focus on purchases of investments in funds on the secondary market and direct co-investments, eventually adding some primary fund investments.

“CPRIM fills a critical need for individual investors and their investment advisors, providing a core private markets holding through a convenient and efficient one-stop solution,” said Bob Long, CEO of Conversus. “Given public market levels and recent volatility, we believe now is an opportune time for investors to secure the return and diversification benefits of top-tier private assets.”

Conversus will market the fund through its team of over a dozen experienced distribution professionals covering the U.S. and Europe. Conversus is StepStone’s platform for delivering the firm’s institutional asset management capabilities and experience to the high net worth and mass affluent market and is led by its founders Bob Long, Neil Menard, Tim Smith and Tom Sittema.

“Leveraging StepStone’s private markets expertise for the benefit of individuals is an exciting growth opportunity for our firm, and the launch of CPRIM is an important step in that direction,” said President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of StepStone Jason Ment. “Having committed over $40 billion to the private markets in 2019, and by employing market-leading analytics, we believe StepStone is well-positioned to effectively execute CPRIM’s innovative mandate.”

Last month, StepStone’s real estate division announced the close of its latest fund at $1.4 billion, handily exceeding its $1 billion target. The StepStone Real Estate Partners IV (SREP IV) is the fourth in a series of funds focused on special situations secondaries and recapitalization of real estate vehicles. Officials added that $870 million of the fund’s commitments closed after the coronavirus pandemic began.

As of June 30, 2020, StepStone oversaw $292 billion of private markets allocations, including $66 billion of assets under management. 

The CPRIM fund meanwhile will hold closings on a monthly basis, while providing liquidity through quarterly tender offers. Investors also will receive tax reporting via a 1099 rather than a K-1. The minimum investment for the fund is $50,000.

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