AllianceBernstein beefs up its private credit group

The firm has added senior personnel from GE Capital, CIT and Goldman Sachs, among others, to its private credit investors group.  

AllianceBernstein’s private credit investors (AB-PCI) group has been adding senior origination and credit staff and assigning specific roles to existing and new team members in tandem with raising capital for its first direct lending funds, which closed at $1.1 billion earlier this month. Most staff within the originations group are now focused on specific industries or regions, explained Brent Humphries, who leads the group and joined from Barclays Private Credit Partners in April last year.

Humphries’ colleagues, who also came over from Barclays last spring: Jay Ramakrishnan, Patrick Fear and Shishir Agrawal are focused on origination. Ramakrishnan leads the software and technology services sector and also has expertise in the healthcare sector. Agrawal oversees tech underwriting, as well as building out the firm’s direct non-sponsored origination activity. Fear heads up the communications vertical, with a particular focus on infrastructure and related services. Wesley Raper, who also came over from Barclays, acts as the chief operating officer at AB-PCI.

The firm also added Bob Bielinski and Hardeep Saini as managing directors and Drew Miller as a director in the origination group this month. Bielinski was previously a managing director in corporate finance at CIT Group and had been there for seven years. He will lead origination efforts in the restaurant and consumer market. Saini has held senior roles at ICON Investments and ICON Capital Corp., a non-traded BDC, since 2008. He focuses on heavy industrials, including equipment finance and leasing at AllianceBernstein. Miller came on board from GE Capital, where he was a vice president within sponsor and leveraged finance origination since 2004. Miller is the first regionally-focused hire and will help build out the firm’s West Coast coverage. “What we’re trying to do is lead with specialisation as a general rule, but then to layer alongside that regional coverage over time,” Humphries said.

Patrick Gimlett will also start on 1 June and will help the firm build out its energy sector. He joins from the GE Capital Energy Financial Services group, one of the business lines that General Electric will retain following the sell-off of GE Capital. He’s been with GE since 2010, most recently as a vice president in the oil and gas and midstream debt origination group. Before that, he worked in corporate finance at General Electric.

The firm has also made several hires that will focus on underwriting and execution. “We’ve made significant investment in the execution and underwriting side of the business and have been adding senior talent there, which helps free up our origination professionals to focus on driving their respective coverage areas,” Humphries explained. That group added directors Kevin Alexander in January, Justin Grimm in March and Evan Cohen in April. Alexander was previously a director at ORIX Leveraged Finance for four years. Grimm was a vice president at GE Capital in Norwalk, Connecticut, for almost nine years. While Cohen was with Goldman Sachs’ specialty lending group for around 10 years, where he worked with Humphries and Ramakrishnan between 2005 and 2006. 

Most of the team will be based in Austin, where the AB-PCI group is slated to move soon, though Ramakrishnan and Saini will remain at AB’s New York headquarters. Bielinski will be based in Chicago and Gimlett will be based in Houston, where he already works for GE Capital.

The firm has also added two vice presidents and two associates, bringing the total team count to 16. “We’re still actively recruiting senior and mid-level talent and expect to have 20 people by the end of the year with plans for further expansion in 2016,” Humphries told PDI