IRELAND – Financial services outfit Bank of Ireland Group (BIG) has formed a joint venture with US private equity specialist Paul Capital Partners to provide private equity fund of funds products and advisory services to institutional and other investors worldwide.

The joint venture, to be called Paul Capital Top Tier Investments (PCTTI), will be based in San Francisco, California.

The move follows increasing interest in private equity from BIG investors, according to a BIG Asset Management spokesperson.

BIG paid $25m (€19.9m) in cash for a 50% share in PCTTI and may increase its holding to 70% no earlier than 2008 on a pre-agreed basis, the Bank said in a release.

It also paid $5m in respect of interests in existing funds of funds.

According to reports, BIG does not plan to acquire 100% of the joint venture.

PCP has contributed its existing private equity fund of funds business, which as roughly $1.1bn in assets under management, including the firm’s fund of funds team and associated investment resources and facilities in return for a 35% interest.

Key management own the remaining equity, according to a BIG statement.

BIG chief executive Brian Goggin said the joint venture was “another step towards our goal of building a diversified portfolio of investment boutiques”.

PCTTI managing director and CEO David York will co-lead the new venture with Paul Capital founder Philip Paul, who will be chairman of PCTTI.