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Alcentra names Hatfield as global CIO, Yang as head of the Americas

Alcentra today announced several executive leadership appointments, with Paul Hatfield returning to the Group’s global headquarters in London in an expanded role as global chief investment officer. He will lead the firm’s initiatives related to multi-strategy credit portfolio management and customized investment solutions.

Jack Yang succeeds Paul Hatfield, as Alcentra’s head of the Americas, while retaining his responsibilities as global head of business development. In his new role, Yang is responsible for the firm’s business operations in the Americas, and product development, marketing, fundraising and investor relations globally.

Both report to David Forbes-Nixon, Alcentra’s chairman and CEO. – Sarah Husband

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Lloyds appoints four to leveraged loan market team

Lloyds today announced four appointments to its loan market team, with Alaric Fountain-Barber and Alessandro Valenti joining the firm’s leverage debt capital markets business.

Fountain-Barber, who was most recently at Barclays Capital, is understood to have started at the U.K. bank today as a director. He has previously worked in leveraged finance roles at Societe Generale CIB and UBS.

Valenti has made an internal move from Lloyd’s corporate capital structure advisory team to its leverage finance business. Previously, he has worked as a structured finance analyst at Fitch.

Both Fountain-Barber and Valenti report to Carlo Fontana, head of leverage debt capital markets.

Elsewhere in the Lloyds loan team, Nadia Jalal has moved internally from the global corporates relationship team to become an associate within the corporate loan capital markets business, while Ab Shome has joined the bank from RBS as a director on the loan markets real-estate team. – Nina Flitman

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Griffin Capital, Benefit Street file IPO plans for middle-market BDC

Griffin-Benefit Street Partners BDC Corp. today filed plans to sell up to $1.5 billion of common stock in an IPO.

The company, a new BDC, will invest in debt and equity of middle-market companies. Griffin Capital BDC Advisor (GBA), an affiliate of Griffin Capital, will manage the BDC.

The senior management team of GBA will comprise Kevin A. Shields, David Rupert, Joseph Miller, Randy Anderson, and Howard S. Hirsch.

Rupert will be CEO of the new BDC. Investment decisions require unanimous approval of the investment committee, comprised of Shields, Rupert, Miller, and Anderson.

Investment professionals of Benefit Street Partners, an affiliate of Providence Equity Partners, will serve as sub-advisors to GBA. They include Richard J. Byrne, Thomas J. Gahan, Michael E. Paasche, David J. Manlowe, and Blair D. Faulstich.

Providence Equity Partners was founded as a private equity firm specializing in media, communications, education, and information sectors, and has since expanded into credit. It had more than $40 billion under management as of Nov. 30, 2014.

Investments could include senior secured, unitranche, and second-lien debt, senior unsecured and subordinated debt, and equity and equity-related securities, either issued by private U.S. companies or public ones with a market capitalization of up to $250 million. The company may invest in syndicated deals.

Investments will range from $5-$50 million initially.

“We believe that investing in the debt of private companies generally provides a more attractive relative value proposition than investing in broadly syndicated debt due to the conservative capital structures and superior default and loss characteristics typically associated with these companies,” said the prospectus, filed by the company on Dec. 23.

“The prevailing investment environment presents a compelling case for investing in secured debt of private U.S. companies primarily in the middle market.”

Shares won’t trade on an exchange. The company plans to carry out quarterly tender offers beginning one year after the initial share sale of at least $2.5 million. The IPO is aimed at a broad high-net-worth market, with a minimum purchase requirement of $2,500.

The company has applied for SEC approval to co-invest with other funds managed by Benefit Street, GBA, and affiliates.

Griffin Capital is a privately held investment management company based in Los Angeles that’s focused on real estate investments in the U.S. and Britain and managing institutional capital. – Abby Latour

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Wilshire Associates launches index tracking debt-focused BDCs

Wilshire Associates has launched an index tracking debt-focused BDCs.

The Wilshire BDC Index will track publicly traded BDCs with at least 75% of their total investment portfolio focused on debt, and at least $100 million of market capitalization.

The top five holdings are Ares (ARCC) at 23%, Prospect Capital (PSEC) at 14%, Apollo (AINV) at 8%, Main Street Capital (MAIN) at 7%, and Fifth Street Finance (FSC) at 6%.

“Investors have been chasing yields in bonds and bank loans, as well as tax-advantaged equities, and the Wilshire BDC Index measures performance for investment instruments that seek to combine the best of both asset classes,” said Robert Waid, managing director of Wilshire Analytics.

Wilshire Associates manages a stable of indices, including the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index, which tracks all U.S. equity securities with readily available prices. – Abby Latour

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Capital One Bank hires Gates to head leveraged loan syndications

Capital One Bank appointed William Gates as head of loan syndications.

Gates will report to Steven Tulip, head of capital markets at the McLean, Virginia-based bank. Gates and Tulip are based in New York.

Gates had been a managing director at RBS, where he was responsible for the underwriting and distribution of all loan transactions in the Americas.

Gates was also a managing director in leverage capital markets with UBS. He also worked at Merrill Lynch in Leverage Loan Capital Markets, and was a founding member of Lehman’s loan syndicate group. – Abby Latour

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Monroe Capital settles with ex-employee Woo, dismisses lawsuit

monroe-capital-corp-logoMiddle-market lender Monroe Capital has dismissed a lawsuit against a former employee, Warren Woo, saying the two sides have reached a “mutually satisfactory settlement arrangement.”

In June, Monroe terminated Woo, a managing director, for allegedly stealing proprietary information and siphoning-off trade secrets to a new firm, Breakaway Capital.

“Upon further investigation, it is clear that Warren’s actions were not improper,” Monroe Capital CEO Ted Koenig said in a statement issued by Breakaway Capital today.

Woo will remain a limited partner of Monroe Capital. As a result, “I look forward to remaining economically aligned with Monroe going forward,” Woo said in a statement.

Contacted by LCD, Koenig gave no further explanation, and said he could not comment on a former employee. Woo did not respond to an email seeking comment.

In the statement, Breakaway Capital said it was focused on companies generating up to $5 million in annual EBITDA. The firm said it provides senior debt, subordinated and mezzanine debt, unitranche structures, and equity to companies for buyouts, acquisitions, recapitalizations, restructurings and growth capital, for sponsored and non-sponsored transactions.

A complaint filed on June 19 by Monroe Capital with the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., alleged that for more than 18 months, Woo forwarded hundreds of emails to another email account at Breakaway Capital. He then deleted the forwarded emails from his sent-items folder at Monroe Capital to avoid detection.

Some of the emails instructed recipients to communicate with Woo in the future at Breakaway Capital only.

“Woo and his new company, acting in concert with his new partner and Breakaway Capital co-founder, Michael Connolly, arrogated to themselves critical business opportunities which belonged to Monroe Capital and which Woo had a clear duty to consider the exploit for Monroe Capital and not for his new company and new partners,” the complaint said.

Included in the 308 emails Woo forwarded, as well as 157 attachments, were new business prospects, individual deal structures and pricing memos, internal underwriting analysis, and third-party analysis that Monroe Capital paid for as part of new business pitches.

Monroe Capital uncovered the scheme after the firm received an SEC subpoena requesting information about Breakaway Capital. As a result of the subpoena, Monroe looked into Woo’s email.

“The investigation revealed that not only did Woo improperly transfer confidential and proprietary company and customer information and trade secrets, but that he actively intends to use this information to compete with Monroe Capital by taking deal source leads generated by Monroe Capital and made, or attempted to make, them his own for his benefit and that of Breakaway Capital.”

“Monroe Capital has suffered irreparable harm as a result of Woo’s unlawful conduct,” the complaint said.

Woo and Michael Connolly founded Breakaway Capital as a limited partnership.

Breakaway Capital, based in Los Angeles, is a private investment firm with $50 million of committed capital, seeking debt and structured equity investments in small and middle-market businesses across a variety of industries, the company’s website said. The company was formed in March 2014, the complaint said.

Chicago-based Monroe Capital, established in 2004, provides debt and equity co-investments to middle-market companies in North America, including unitranche financings, acquisition facilities, mezzanine debt and second-lien loans. – Abby Latour

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AXA Investment Managers reorganizes fixed income/structured finance units

urlAXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has reorganised its Fixed Income and Structured Finance teams, to create a new Fixed Income and Structured Finance department.

The reorg is intended to provide clients with a simpler structure, as well as facilitate the integration of structured finance assets into traditional fixed income so AXA IM can offer solutions which address changing client needs across the credit spectrum. The entire department reports in to John Porter, global head of fixed income & structured finance.

The Fixed Income & Structured Finance division is now organised into five broad investment streams:

  • Active Fixed Income – encompassing all actively managed strategies, including traditional benchmarked, total return, and strategic.
  • Buy and Maintain Fixed Income – encompassing all long-term, low-turnover solutions for third-party pension scheme and insurance clients – including SmartBeta Credit and accounting constrained.
  • Solutions – a new team under the leadership of Jean-Louis Laforge, which brings portfolio engineering and credit research together with a solutions strategy team responsible for designing solutions across the credit spectrum.
  • AXA Group – a dedicated team led by Gilles Dauphine, focused on work with AXA Group.
  • Structured Finance – organised around two platforms: Loans & Private Debt, and Securitised & Structured Assets, and led by Deborah Shire.

Chris Iggo, CIO and head of fixed income Europe & Asia, leads the European, Asian, and Global teams within Buy and Maintain Fixed Income and Active Fixed Income, with the U.S. teams reporting into Carl Whitbeck, head of fixed income U.S.

Digging down further into the Structured Finance unit, this will be organised around two platforms: Securitised & Structured Assets and Loans & Private Debt, with each split between ‘traded assets’ and ‘illiquid assets’.

Securitised & Structured Assets:

  • Alexandre Martin Min will co-head Securitised & Structured Assets, with responsibility for traded assets. He will also lead a strategy dedicated to integrating structured finance assets into fixed income blended products across the credit spectrum. Within Alexandre’s team, Gaelle Philippe will be responsible for ABS Europe and existing ABS products.
  • Christophe Fritsch will co-head Securitised & Structured Assets, responsible for illiquid assets and the business development of this platform. He will continue to lead the ILS team that he started in 2007, but Francois Divet will take on the direct responsibility for the ILS team.

Loans & Private Debt:

  • Jean Philippe Levilain will co-head the Loans & Private Debt platform for traded assets, and be responsible for delivering AXA’s leveraged loan expertise in funds, mandates, and CLOs, with a team split between Europe and the U.S. He launched AXA’s first CLO post-crisis in the U.S., in 2014.
  • Renaud Tourmente will co-head the Loans & Private Debt platform, with a direct responsibility for illiquid assets, including the mid-cap platform he launched more than two years ago.
  • Laurent Cezard will head the business development team for the Loans and Private Debt Platform. – Staff reports

 

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Credit Value Partners launches new middle market loan fund, hires Keller

Greenwich, Conn.-based Credit Value Partners (CVP) has raised about $200 million of initial capital for a new fund focused on middle-market lending and has hired Michael Keller as partner and portfolio manager to help lead the effort, according to the firm.

CVP defines “middle market” roughly as companies that generate $5-25 million of EBITDA, and says it will extend loans of $5-50 million to any one borrower. The fund will mostly be focused on asset-based loans and restructuring-related credits, but it also will include cash-flow loans, according to Don Pollard, managing partner at CVP.

The new middle-market fund already has closed two transactions: a healthcare deal and $30 million in financing to support SouthComm’s purchase of assets from Cygnus Business Media, a trade publisher based near Madison, Wis. SouthComm, owner of the Nashville Post, announced the closing on Nov. 3.

Two more transactions are expected to close by year-end, Pollard says.

Prior to joining CVP, Keller was president of Shannon Capital Management and held senior positions at CapitalSource and Finova Group.

CVP was formed within Credit Suisse’s asset-management group in 2008 and went independent in 2010 after raising $100 million in seed money.

With the new middle-market platform, CVP now has three business lines, all focused on high-yielding and opportunistic corporate debt: (1) private-equity-style funds with $800 million in assets under management; (2) CLOs, led by Joe Matteo and Brian Conroy; and (3) the new middle-market fund.

CVP launched the CLO platform last year with the hiring of Matteo and since has printed two CLOs totaling $940 million. In October, CVP struck a deal to create a series of CLOs with Macquarie Group, which will provide equity capital, warehouse financing, and structured credit expertise. – Kelly Thompson

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SunTrust Robinson Humphrey adds middle-market offering with 9 hires

suntrust logoSunTrust Robinson Humphrey announced nine hires around the U.S. to expand its offerings to middle-market clients. They report to Brian Peters, the bank’s head of national corporate banking.

John McCrackenSugeet MadanAaron Eichler and Kevin Lowe joined the western corporate banking team, based in San Francisco.

McCracken joins as a managing director from U.S. Bancorp, where he led the bank’s western region banking division for five years. Madan, who also joins as managing director, previously worked at Bank of America/Nations Bank in various marketing and credit assignments.

Eichler was a client manager and senior vice president at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Lowe joins as director. Previously, Lowe was with Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s global industrials investment banking group.

Erik Velastegui and Deborah Ironson Katz have also joined the western corporate banking team, based in Los Angeles.

Velastegui joins as managing director. Previously, he worked at BBVA Compass as a client manager. Ironson Katz has worked in roles focused on middle-market companies.

Mike Chryssikos, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch veteran, joins as managing director in the southwest region, with a focus in Houston.

Will Rowe joins as a managing director in the Boston-based northeast region. Rowe worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and RBS Citizens.

David Nackley joins as a managing director in the New York-based northeast region. Prior to this, Nackley was managing director at RBS Citizens working with capital markets. – Abby Latour

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Highland Capital hires Smith to business development team with CLO focus

Highland_Capital_Management_597435_i0Highland Capital Management has hired Felicia Smith as managing director to its business development team. She will be responsible for identifying and developing new relationships with institutional clients, with a particular focus on raising assets for Highland’s CLO and credit platforms.

Based in Dallas, TX., Smith will report to Josh Terry, head of structured products and trading for Highland Capital Management.

Smith joins Highland from Santander Consumer USA (SCUSA), where she served as vice president of capital markets, and prior to SCUSA Smith worked in sales and trading at J.P. Morgan Chase, and as an analyst at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

Highland Capital Management is an SEC-registered investment adviser which, together with its affiliates, has roughly $19 billion of assets under management. – Staff reports