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StepStone launches private wealth solutions group

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Opalesque Industry Update - StepStone Group, a global private markets specialist, has launched Conversus, a new platform focused on delivering StepStone's institutional capabilities to high net worth and mass affluent investors.

Conversus will leverage StepStone's deep expertise across private equity, real estate, private debt and infrastructure to develop and distribute innovative products for individual investors. Together, Conversus and StepStone will integrate fund investments, secondaries and co-investments to create customized product solutions for the private wealth sector.

"Growing demand by high net worth and mass affluent investors for private market assets is a strong secular trend," said Jason Ment, President and Co-COO of StepStone. "Creating products to meet this demand is a natural extension of our franchise. We believe the same tools we employ for sophisticated institutional investors can benefit individual investors. We look forward to our partnership with the Conversus team, who have shown they can create innovative products and bring institutional investment capabilities to the high net worth and mass affluent markets."

Conversus is led by Bob Long, CEO, Tim Smith, COO & CFO, and Neil Menard, President of Distribution. Mr. Long and Mr. Smith previously founded Conversus Capital, the largest publicly traded fund of private equity funds, where they held the CEO and CFO roles, respectively. The founders sold Conversus Capital's private equity portfolio in 2012, while retaining the rights to the Conversus name. Following the sale, Mr. Long served as the CEO of a Nasdaq-listed business development company. Mr. Smith co-founded Carolon Capital, a European-based distribution firm. Mr. Menard has over 25 years' experience in private market distribution, most recently as the President of CNL Securities Corporation. Before that, he served as a Senior Vice President at Franklin Square Capital Partners, where he was responsible for the registered investment advisor channel.

"Conversus is derived from the Latin verb for conversion, and our mission is to transform portfolios through efficient, transparent access to the private markets," said Mr. Long. "With $37 billion of commitments in 2018 alone, StepStone is one of the world's largest investors in the private markets. Conversus will leverage that expertise and develop products to provide high net worth and mass affluent investors with StepStone's industry-leading capabilities."

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