Fifth Streets Buffone heads to Freedom 3 – exclusive

Fred Buffone, who for the past three years worked at Fifth Street Asset Management as head of capital markets, has joined Freedom 3 Capital in New York.

Freedom 3 Capital, a New York-based mid-market credit firm, has hired Fred Buffone as a principal, PDI understands. Buffone was previously head of capital markets at Fifth Street Asset Management (FSAM), the Greenwich, Connecticut-based credit manager that mostly handles BDCs.

Buffone didn’t return a call seeking further comment.

He joined Fifth Street in August 2013 to head up capital markets and syndications for the firm’s two BDCs, the Fifth Street Finance Corp (FSC) and Fifth Street Senior Floating Rate Corp (FSFR).  Before that he was at TD Securities, where he was responsible for structuring, pricing and syndicating senior and junior leveraged-loan products. Buffone had similar responsibilities for five years with Jefferies prior to TD, and with CIBC World Markets between 2000 and 2004.

Fifth Street has suffered reputational blows lately, as its two BDCs have been the subject of shareholder criticism and lawsuits accusing the firm of gross underperformance and mismanagement. The BDCs, as well as the publicly traded FSAM asset manager, have seen their stock values decline sharply over the years. As such, many people at the firm are said to be looking for other jobs. Founder Len Tannenbaum is also said to be shopping the firm, or some of its parts, to potential buyers.

Leon Han, formerly a managing director in technology lending at Fifth Street, recently joined AB-PCI, AllianceBernstein’s Private Credit Investors group in San Francisco to work on software origination.

Matt Tier, who was a vice president and a senior credit underwriter at Fifth Street, also moved to Owl Rock Capital Partners as a vice president, according to the firm’s website. Owl Rock is the new private debt firm set up by former GSO Capital Partners’ founder Doug Ostrover and KKR’s former head of energy and infrastructure, Marc Lipschultz.