Oaktree’s credit head departs for ‘new opportunities’

The departure of Scott Graves comes while the firm has sidelined record amounts of capital. 

Scott Graves, Oaktree Capital Management’s head of credit strategies, will leave the Los Angeles-based financial firm at the end of the year after a decade and a half of working there.

The distressed debt investing behemoth announced the exit in a statement on Tuesday. Bruce Karsh, Oaktree’s co-chairman and chief investment officer, will assume Graves’ responsibilities. The firm said Graves is leaving to “pursue new opportunities.”

“From his many years as a key member of our distressed debt group to his newer roles as head of credit strategies and portfolio manager of multi-strategy credit, few people at Oaktree have contributed in such a variety of ways,” Karsh said in the statement.

An Oaktree spokesman could not be reached for further comment.

The departure comes as the firm has expanded its presence in Brazil and is holding a record amount of yet-to-be deployed capital.

On its second-quarter earnings conference call with investors in July, Oaktree announced it has $22.8 billion in dry power, a good portion of which is with the Opportunities Fund X and Opportunities Fund Xb, two distressed debt funds. Fund X holds $3.2 billion, of which only $486 million has been invested. Fund Xb’s $8 billion won’t be tapped until 2017, management said on the call. Of its $98 billion in assets under management, $25.9 billion is allocated toward distressed debt.

On Tuesday, Oaktree also said it formed a partnerships with Virtus BR Partners, an advisory firm with experience in restructuring scenarios and distressed debt.

In September 2013, Oaktree launched an emerging market distressed debt fund that listed $384 million in total committed capital as of June 30, according to its latest quarterly earnings report filed with the SEC. The document also showed a special account for emerging market distressed debt, launched in January 2014, with $253 million.