Northleaf hires managing director to expand EMEA investor base

Sophia Damianou, who will oversee business development for the region, joins the firm from a London-based hedge fund.

Toronto-based Northleaf Capital Partners is upping the ante on the other side of the Atlantic.

The alternative asset manager has hired Sophia Damianou as a business development managing director that will focus on Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which is a new role. She was previously director of marketing at CapeView Capital, where she oversaw global sales for the firm’s products, which include a long/short European equities strategy. Before that, she worked at Mesirow Financial.

“The main priority is building the Northleaf brand in EMEA,” Damianou told Private Debt Investor, noting that the firm will focus on expanding the current investor base and building a pipeline of new limited partners for successor funds. Potential for product expansion could include a euro-denominated fund or both levered and unlevered vehicles, she added.

Despite the post-global financial crisis boom in alternative investments, Northleaf head of private credit David Ross said, “We are continuing to meet LPs who are looking to increase their exposure.” The firm is also meeting with others “who are still contemplating initial allocations to the asset class”, he added.

In addition, the firm recently expanded its geographic footprint by opening its first office in the Asia-Pacific region last year in Melbourne and expanding its North American outposts with the opening of locations in New York and Montreal in 2017 and Chicago in 2016.

The firm’s newest product is an open-ended, senior debt-focused credit vehicle that raised $500 million. Northleaf received inbound inquiries about an investment vehicle that did not have the common drawdown fund structure found in most credit funds. As a result, the firm designed the open-ended fund that appealed to Canadian mutual funds.

Northleaf oversees $12 billion in assets across private equity, private credit and infrastructure. The firm launched its debt arm in 2016 and raised $670 million for its debut fund.