AllianzGI hires two Abraaj directors for Asian private credit

The new senior hires come as the firm goes about building up its global private debt team.

Allianz Global Investors, the global investment management firm, has hired two senior directors from Abraaj Group to build up its Asia private credit team.

The new recruits are Sumit Bhandari, a former director and portfolio manager in the Asia – Credit Strategies Group at Abraaj and Weizhong Yun, who directed the firm’s southeast Asian private equity coverage based in Singapore.

Bhandari will lead the Singapore-based team. He started his career at Lehman Brothers in New York and moved to Singapore when he joined BlackRock as a director in the portfolio management group in May 2010.

Dubai-based Abraaj Group used to be one of the largest private equity fund managers, operating across six continents. However, on 19 June, the group announced it was restructuring and its fund management businesses had entered a liquidation process led by Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

AllianzGI’s Asian private credit team will initially focus on creating an investment thesis with Allianz Capital Partners (ACP), the group’s alternative asset management arm, a Hong Kong-based spokesperson from AllianzGI confirmed to PDI. It is not clear if ACP will launch a third-party capital fund as the spokesperson declined to comment further on the matter.

AllianzGI launched its most recent vehicle, Allianz UK Infrastructure Debt II, in January 2017, according to PDI data. The fund is targeting £500 million ($645.3 million; €567 million).

Its predecessor, Allianz Infrastructure UK Debt Fund, was launched in July 2014 and held a final closing in September 2015, raising over £265 million, PDI data show. London Borough of Haringey Pension Fund, a pension fund in the UK, and Nippon Life Insurance Company, a Tokyo-headquartered insurance firm, are recorded as limited partners in the fund.

AllianzGI has over 700 investment professionals in 25 offices worldwide and manages around €524 billion in assets for individuals, families and institutions.