Ares taps KBW analysts for financials fund – exclusive

Troy Ward and Greg Mason, formerly senior analysts covering BDCs at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, have joined Ares where they will manage a fund dedicated to financial stocks, including BDCs.  

Ares Management has hired two senior equity analysts from Keefe Bruyette & Woods (KBW) to lead a new strategy dedicated to financial equities.

Troy Ward (pictured) and Greg Mason, who previously worked at KBW covering business development companies (BDCs), have joined Ares as managing directors and portfolio managers in the Ares corporate strategy group, which is led by Ares president Michael Arougheti. The group works on M&A, new business initiatives and other areas that don’t fit within the firm’s three other business lines: private equity, credit and real estate.

The duo will raise and manage a fund dedicated to financial stocks, including BDCs, according to sources. Arougheti declined to comment on fundraising, but said there has been a significant sell-off in the BDC space and other financial stocks which presents a “pretty compelling investment thesis.” *

Ward and Mason are expected to start out by investing in BDC stocks, but will eventually broaden the strategy out to real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other financial stocks.

The two analysts, in their coverage of Ares’ own BDC, the Ares Capital Corporation (ARCC), usually rated it highly. Arougheti declined to say whether the group will be able to invest in ARCC stock.

Ward was a managing director at KBW for three years. He joined the firm from Stifel Nicolaus, when Stifel acquired KBW. He had worked at Stifel as a director since 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, he held senior roles at AG Edwards.

Mason followed the same path. He was an equity analyst at AG Edwards between 2001 and 2007, before joining Stifel as a managing director and senior equity analyst in 2007. He moved to KBW with Ward following the acquisition in 2013.

They were both based in St. Louis with KBW and will remain there, according to their biographies on Ares’ website.

*This story was updated on 4 March with comments from Michael Arougheti.