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Star Mountain Capital has appointed experienced asset manager Scott Couto as lead advisor.

The US alternative investment manager said Couto (pictured) has more than 30 years of experience in the industry.

Most recently, he was Executive Vice President and Head of North America at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, where he managed over $650 billion (£510 billion) of assets.

Read more: Star Mountain hires Managing Director to strengthen investor solutions team

Previously, he was president of Fidelity Investments’ U.S. intermediary and institutional business, responsible for $580 billion in client assets under management.

“We are honored to have Scott join Star Mountain as a senior advisor, bringing with him extensive experience in strategic leadership, business management, governance, risk management and client servicing,” said Brett Hickey, Founder and CEO of Star Mountain Capital. “Scott brings tremendous complementary and differentiated skills and experience that I am confident will benefit all of Star Mountain’s stakeholders, including our team and our investors.”

Couto said: “I look forward to sharing my experience and am convinced that this is a good time to invest in the lower middle market in the US, which represents almost 50 percent of US GDP and is now more open to outside investors given the aging population and entrepreneurs willing to sell and raise external capital.

Read more: DC systems and wealth channels will drive $8 trillion in private markets growth by 2023

“I also think it’s a good time for investors to look for less market-correlated returns, as this is another potential benefit of Star Mountain’s differentiated investment platform, which is specifically designed to work with these smaller but established private companies.”

Star Mountain Capital manages over $4 billion in assets and focuses on investing in the lower middle market in North America through direct debt and equity investments as well as secondary market transactions.

The company recently expanded its advisory team and last week appointed pension expert Charles Millard as senior advisor.