First Avenue hires head of Americas

Jess Larsen, the former global head of institutional sales at Highland Capital Management, has joined the placement agent in New York.

Placement agent and advisory firm First Avenue has appointed Jess Larsen as head of Americas.

Larsen will be a partner, based in the New York office. He will be responsible for leading distribution, origination and project management in the Americas and will manage the teams in the New York and San Francisco offices, the firm said.

Larsen joins from Dallas-headquartered investment management firm Highland Capital Management, where he served as global head of institutional sales and led a team of 12, based in Dallas, New York, Korea and Tokyo.

Larsen was previously a senior member of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s European capital introduction team, where he was responsible for Scandinavia and the Middle East. During his tenure he established and managed Merrill Lynch’s European family office group.

Larsen’s hire is the third made by the placement agent this year. In April, Stefan Sarles was hired as its first general counsel in London. Earlier this month, Caroline Weir, a former partner and financial controller at NewSmith Asset Management, joined as chief financial officer.

Among First Avenue’s clients are emerging markets specialist Actis, for whom the firm has raised infrastructure and growth funds, and France's InfraVia, which closed its third European mid-market vehicle on €1 billion last month.