Star Mountain Capital Adds Former Columbia Threadneedle Investments ($650+ bn AUM) Head of North America, Scott Couto, as Senior Advisor

Star Mountain Capital, a rapidly growing employee-owned specialized investment firm with over $4.0 billion AUM, focused on delivering systematic alpha and low market correlated returns from making private loans and private equity investments and purchasing secondary LP interests and assets in the larger, fragmented and resources intensive lower middle-market, announced that Scott Couto has joined as Senior Advisor.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Star Mountain Capital, LLC (“Star Mountain”), a specialized investment manager with over $4.0 billion in assets under management (committed capital including debt facilities as of 6/30/2024) focused on generating defensive and premium yield and total returns from the less efficient and resources-intensive market of U.S. private small and medium-sized businesses (the “lower middle-market”), is pleased to announce that Scott Couto has joined as Senior Advisor.

Scott Couto has over 30 years of experience in the asset management business including executive leadership, risk management, investor reporting, investment strategy, distribution, marketing and investment product development experience.

Mr. Couto was most recently Executive Vice President & Head of North America at Columbia Threadneedle Investments ($650+ billion), where he was responsible for all aspects of the North America asset management business including product development, marketing, intermediary markets, global consultant relations, institutional sales and relationship management. Mr. Couto served as Chair of the North America Risk and Controls Committee and Chair of the North America Business Management Committee, the Columbia Threadneedle Global Executive Group, and was also a member of Columbia Threadneedle parent, Ameriprise’s ($40+ bn market cap NASDAQ: AMP) Executive Leadership Team.

Prior to Columbia Threadneedle investments, Mr. Couto served as President of Fidelity Institutional Asset Management at Fidelity Investments (~$4.9 trillion AUM), where he was responsibility for Fidelity Investments’ U.S. Intermediary and U.S. Institutional businesses and was responsible for $580 billion in client AUM.

“We are honored to have Scott join Star Mountain as an aligned Senior Advisor bringing extensive strategic leadership, business management, governance, risk management and client relations experience,” said Brett Hickey, Star Mountain Capital Founder & CEO. “Scott has tremendous complementary and differentiated skills and experience that I am confident will benefit all Star Mountain stakeholders including our team and investors.”

“I look forward to sharing my experiences and believe this is a compelling time to look at investing in the U.S. lower middle-market which represents nearly 50% of U.S. GDP and is now more open to outside investors given the aging demographic business owners willing to sell and take on outside capital,” said Scott Couto. “I also think it is a prudent time for investors to look for less market correlated returns as a further potential benefit to Star Mountain’s differentiated investment platform which is purpose-built to work with these smaller, but established private businesses.”

Prior to Fidelity, Mr. Couto served as Chief Operating Officer at Evergreen Investments, now part of Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), which had ~$250 bn of AUM and where he was responsible for Evergreen’s U.S. Intermediary Business including mutual funds, separately managed accounts, sub-advisory and retirement markets. At Evergreen, Mr. Couto also served as Global Head of Product Management & Development and was a Member of the Operating Committee, Investment Product Committee, Investment Strategy Committee, Risk Management Committee, Global Distribution Operating Committee and Hedge Fund Operating Committee.

Prior to Evergreen Investments, Mr. Couto served as Senior Vice President & Director of Investment Strategy at Liberty Funds (now Columbia Threadneedle Investments). He began his career in 1991 as a Senior Investment Executive at Liberty Financial Companies.

Mr. Couto has served on multiple boards including the Insured Retirement Institute (executive committee), Posse Foundation and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce (finance committee).

Mr. Couto received his B.S. in Finance and Investments at Babson College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He holds FINRA series 7, 63, 51, 3, and 24 licenses. Mr. Couto is a Member of Boston Security Analysts Society and the CFA Institute.

Read the full press release here.

About Star Mountain

With over $4 billion in assets under management (committed capital including debt facilities as of 6/30/2024), Star Mountain takes a data-driven approach to investing into the North American lower middle-market through two complementary investment strategies: (i) direct debt and equity investing and (ii) secondaries (acquiring LP interests and direct assets and making primary LP commitments). Star Mountain believes these complementary strategies provide data-enhanced, scalable, diversified, and customizable access for its institutional and qualifying high-net-worth investors to established businesses that generally have at least $15 million in annual revenues and under $50 million in EBITDA. Its investors include public pensions, private pensions, insurance companies, commercial banks, endowments, foundations, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Star Mountain is employee-owned and shares its profits with 100% of its U.S. full-time employees as part of its focus on maximizing value for its stakeholders and investors through alignment of interests.

Since 2010, Star Mountain has made over 250 direct investments in businesses and over 45 secondary / fund investments within its Collaborative Ecosystem®, focused on the North American lower middle-market. One of Star Mountain’s specialties is seeking current cash income for investors that is materially above the typical yields found in the public markets, often accompanied with potential long-term capital gains equity returns and low correlation to public markets through its distinctive origination, underwriting and value-added investment capabilities.

Star Mountain was recently named one of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America.

For the fifth straight year, Star Mountain was again named one of the Best Places to Work by Crain’s New York Business as well as once again one of the Best Places to Work by Pensions & Investments.

Star Mountain believes its focus and dedication has been productive for job creation and economic development including in underserved areas and communities. Star Mountain is dedicated to this large market of underserved businesses purpose-built to address the challenges and opportunities of these companies. As part of its commitment, Star Mountain has trademarked Investing in the Growth Engine of America ®.

Star Mountain’s Charitable Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 focuses on improving lives through economic development, including job creation, health & wellness and cancer research. Notable missions include helping match veterans and women with high quality small and medium-sized business career opportunities across the country, including within Star Mountain’s portfolio.

Note: This does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase interests in any investment product. Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he / she / it will experience a certain level of results if Star Mountain is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement, testimonial endorsement, recommendation or referral of Star Mountain or its representatives by any of its clients or any other third party. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based exclusively on information prepared and / or submitted by the recognized advisor. Moreover, with regard to all performance information contained herein, directly or indirectly, if any, readers should note that past results are not indicative of future results. The description and the selection methodologies of each award and recognition are subjective and will vary.

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she/it will experience a certain level of results if SMFM is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement, testimonial endorsement, recommendation or referral of SMFM or its representatives by any of its clients or any other third party. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based exclusively on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor.

Crain’s two-part survey process consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. The second part involved an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Star Mountain must pay a fee to Crain’s only for survey collection purposes. Detailed eligibility criteria can be found here: https://bestcompaniesgroup.com/best-companies-to-work-for-in-new-york/eligibility/

To be named to P&I‘s Best Places list, all firms met Best Companies’ high threshold for inclusion and were evaluated against others of similar size. Individual firm profiles, which were compiled based on survey results, reflect U.S. employment numbers and were confirmed by Best Companies in the summer. Company and employee comments were edited for space, style and clarity. Assets under management or advisement are as of June 30, unless otherwise noted. To participate, companies had to have at least 20 employees in the U.S., at least $100 million of discretionary assets under management or advisement and be in business for at least one year. An anonymous employee survey, which aimed to evaluate employee engagement and satisfaction, accounted for 75% of a firm’s score; an employer survey, which evaluated workplace policies, practices, benefits and demographics, made up 25%. https://bestcompaniesgroup.com/best-places-to-work-in-money-management/eligibility/

Companies on the 2023 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2019 to 2022. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2019. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent–not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies–as of December 31, 2022. (Since then, some on the list may have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2019 is $100,000; the minimum for 2022 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Growth rates used to determine rankings were calculated to four decimal places. https://www.inc.com/inc5000

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