More PCG Trouble

Private equity consultancy Pacific Corporate Group is volcanic. It and its leader Chris Bower erupt from time to time, with senior managers flowing away like hasty lava. Boom. 

Sources tell me that PCG this week has lost three top pros from its asset management group, which advises public pension systems on private equity fund commitments. They are: Monte Brem, group president; Tara Blackburn, the group’s most senior member; and Steve Moseley, who oversees co-investments. I can’t yet confirm their reason for leaving, nor whether or not they have non-compete agreements. Most public pension funds can cancel consulting contracts without cause on 30-day notice, and the loss of this trio could trigger instantaneous cancellations. No wonder Bower has scheduled an emergency meeting today with at least one client, while his firm calls other consultants to inquire as to their employment availability. 

This is hardly the first time that PCG has suffered major personnel defections. In fact, its list of former pros is nearly as impressive as the roster of active big leaguers who used to play for the Red Sox. It includes Mike Moy, Kelly DePonte, Scott Vollmer, Craig White, Peter Martinson and more. But I’d wager that the loss of Blackburn is by far the most troublesome Bower has ever faced. When Vollmer, White and others left last year, more than one PCG client said something like the following: “It’s obviously not a good situation, but we’re satisfied so long as Tara is there.” Now that she’s gone, expect some serious reevaluation at longtime PCG clients like CalPERS and Oregon, plus new client Illinois Teachers. 

Oh, and there is one additional PCG client of note: The New York City public pension system. When NYC lost Tim Kelly last week, one insider said that the zero-person staff would be okay in the short-term because PCG conducted most of the system’s due diligence anyway. Now, however, the NYC private equity team is staffed at less than zero (although it does have Aldus consulting on more focused PE investing). How none of the New York papers have picked up on this disgrace is beyond me… PCG spokeswoman Lisa Baker declined comment. I’ll have more on Monday.