Laurel Taps Wolf, Will Launch F-of-F –

NEW YORK – Investment advisory firm Laurel Management Company LLC tapped Rosalie Wolf as a managing director in January to spearhead the development of the firm’s first fund-of-funds vehicle. Wolf, a former treasurer and chief investment officer at The Rockefeller Foundation, will also run the San Francisco-based firm’s new Manhattan office.

Laurel, which currently provides investment advisory services to over 50 clients with investment assets in excess of $8.5 billion, has been looking for the appropriate person to oversee the launch of a private equity fund for some time, said Kathyrn Hall, the firm’s founder and managing director. “We needed the right person. We wanted to wait and find someone of Rosalie’s caliber.”

After nearly six years in the public sector at The Rockefeller Foundation, where she successfully restored the foundation’s troubled endowment back to financial health, Wolf was eager to return to the for-profit business world, she said. Her previous experiences with private equity transactions left her convinced that she wanted to return to this marketplace, she noted. “I believe the value-add that capable people can bring to the private markets is much bigger than what one can add in the public markets,” she said. Wolf was a managing director at Bankers Trust from 1989 to 1993, where her various responsibilities included co-heading the bank’s own private equity investments. She was also a vice-president at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and principal in DLJ’s venture capital affiliate, the Sprout Group, from 1977 to 1979.

Wolf joins Laurel after founding her own private equity shop, Botanica Capital Partners LLC this past summer. Wolf spent a few months organizing the firm and in September decided to postpone fund raising for Botanica’s first vehicle because of uncertain market conditions. At this same time, Wolf and Hall, who have known each other for a number of years, began having discussions about the possibility of Wolf leading Laurel’s fund-of-fund efforts, Wolf said. “We have combined [Laurel and Botanica] essentially, by my joining the firm so we can pursue the fund-of-funds business together,” she said. The combination made sense because Wolf wanted to add strength to her nascent private equity house and Hall was searching for the right talent to oversee Laurel’s maiden private equity fund, Wolf said.

Both Hall and Wolf declined to provide any specific details about Laurel’s fund-of-funds, beyond saying the vehicle would invest in a wide range of private equity products. “We will invest across the spectrum of private equity from venture to buyouts and special situations including distressed funds,” Wolf said. The new vehicle is intended to attract investors who are not already Laurel clients, Hall noted.

Wolf is currently the sole professional in Laurel’s New York office. The firm is in the process of interviewing potential additional staff members, she added.