Helen Steers

Helen Steers, a senior partner at Pantheon, has joined Zamo Capital, an investor in impact fund managers, as one of its external investment committee members, according to a statement from Zamo.

Zamo was established in 2018 by veteran impact investor and former LeapFrog co-founder Jim Roth. The firm invests capital into emerging impact managers with the aim of scaling them up to attract institutional returns-seeking capital.

“There are a lot of sub-scale emerging impact managers; this is the challenge for impact investing,” Roth told New Private Markets. “Many are just attracting concessionary capital with very few attracting fiduciary capital. What we are doing is working with them to provide them with the support and financial tools that they need to scale.”

Zamo deploys capital in a number of ways depending on manager needs, from operating capital, anchor LP capital, finance for GP commitments or secondaries capital to replace either early angel investors or LPs that want liquidity.

In taking on a role at Zamo, Steers joins a cast of established European private equity players. Alongside her on the external investment committee is Neil Harper, former CIO and managing director at Morgan Stanley AIP Private Markets. Also on the board is Aberdeen Standard’s head of European private equity Merrick McKay.

It is unusual for a firm to have external investment committee members. Roth said he was keen to establish strong and clear governance at Zamo from the start. “Private equity firms improve governance and align incentives in the companies they invest in, but often in their own firms the rules around governance are unclear,” he said. For any deal to happen it requires approval from at least one of the two external members. “Deal teams can fall in love with a deal and stop asking questions,” noted Roth.

Steers is an investment committee member at Pantheon, a private equity investment business with $58 billion under management. She is a well known face on the European private equity scene and is a former chair and council member of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

“It is exciting be part of Zamo Capital, a business dedicated to meeting the needs of fiduciary investors while contributing to solving some of the most pressing social and environmental problems of our time,” Steers said in a statement.