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Jeff Hammer, Global Co-Head of Secondaries at Manulife, on how to find uniqueness in the secondary market

In a recent fireside chat hosted by Giovanni Amodeo, Jeff Hammer, Global Co-Head of Secondaries, Private Markets at Manulife Investment Management, delved into the intricacies of the secondary market, particularly focusing on finding uniqueness in this sector. The discussion spanned various aspects of the market’s evolution, the role of intermediaries, and Manulife’s strategic approach.

Market Evolution and Trends: Hammer traced the secondary market’s growth from a modest beginning in 2000, with a volume of a couple of billion dollars, to a peak of $138 billion in 2020. He highlighted the cyclical nature of the market, driven by financial crises where regulated entities like banks and insurance companies divest their holdings, creating opportunities for opportunistic funds.

Role of Intermediaries: Hammer emphasized the increasing importance of intermediaries in the secondary market, particularly in facilitating complex, large-scale transactions. He predicted that the role of intermediaries, especially bankers, would continue to grow, given their ability to connect global investors with specific market opportunities.

Manulife’s Unique Approach: Under Hammer’s leadership, Manulife has carved a niche in GP-led secondary transactions, focusing on deep and broad underwriting within structured processes. This specialization leverages Manulife’s extensive network and relationships, providing a competitive edge by offering nuanced insights into the market.

Technological Impact: Despite the rise of technology in various sectors, Hammer was sceptical about its impact on the secondary market, citing the high-touch, complex nature of transactions that require significant human judgment and interaction.

Future Outlook: Looking ahead, Hammer expressed enthusiasm about the potential growth of Manulife’s investment management division and the secondary market at large. He envisioned continuing his role in the evolving landscape of the secondary market, contributing to its growth and adaptation to market dynamics.

This comprehensive discussion not only shed light on the current state and future of the secondary market but also underscored the strategic approaches firms like Manulife are adopting to navigate and excel in this complex environment.

Key timestamps:

00:09: Introduction to ION Influencers’ Fireside Chats
18:48: Portfolio Composition
19:25: Transaction Failures and Resurrections
20:49: Downstream Ramifications of Transaction Failure
21:59: Influence on GP Behavior
23:03: Market Influence and Technology
25:32: Aspirations for Manulife and Personal Goals