Aksia, the US-based institutional consulting firm, has strengthened its private credit research and monitoring capabilities with hires in two newly-created roles.
Leo Fletcher-Smith joined as a strategy head of European Private Credit in London, focusing on corporate lending, distressed and opportunistic strategies. He will also work with the firm’s clients on their private credit allocations.
Sylvia Owens (pictured), who is based at the firm’s New York headquarters, joined as a senior portfolio advisor, specialising in private credit and opportunistic strategies. She will work with institutions on the construction and implementation of their private credit and opportunistic investment programmes, Aksia said. She reports to Matthew Mullarkey, head of advisory for the Americas.
Fletcher-Smith previously worked as an associate director at the debt advisory practice at Deloitte. He was there for 10 years, providing advice to private equity sponsors and portfolio companies on debt raising. At Aksia, he reports to Patrick Adelsbach, head of credit strategies, and Valérie Bénard, the firm’s London-based Europe head.
Owens most recently worked at Puissance Capital, a New York-based long/short equity hedge fund investing in the US and China. She was a managing director and head of client relations at Puissance for about a year. The hedge fund was founded by Ted Wang, previously a partner at Goldman Sachs, in 2015.
She spent 15 years in a variety of roles at GS, primarily focused on convertible bonds, between 1992 and 2007. After Goldman, she was head of business development at Credit Value Partners for two years before joining placement agent XT Capital.
“Leo and Sylvia’s relationships across GPs, LPs and other market participants, combined with their in-depth industry knowledge, are tremendous additions to our private credit franchise. We are confident that their expertise will complement our substantial effort in this growing asset class,” Adelsbach said.
“We are thrilled to welcome both Leo and Sylvia,” added Bénard. “As we continue to see an increasing appetite for fixed-income substitute and opportunistic credit solutions, having a large global team of experienced professionals augments our capabilities.”
Aksia was launched about 10 years ago by Jim Vos and several other senior Credit Suisse fund of hedge funds professionals. The firm began by providing advisory services to institutions on hedge funds and has since expanded to cover private credit and opportunistic investments. It has recently been doing more research on private debt, particularly in Europe.
Aksia’s clients have about $67 billion committed to alternatives. In addition to New York and London, Aksia also has offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo.