Lender of the year
1. Huatai International
2. Partners Group
3. CLSA Capital Partners
Huatai International, the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Huatai Securities, was set to have deployed around $400 million in 2019, financing more than 10 deals. Among these was a financing package for Evergrande Group, China’s second-largest property developer by sales, in a deal that consisted of HK$4 billion ($515 million; €475 million) of asset-backed private notes. Huatai’s structured finance and principal investment team, established in 2014, works with corporates and private equity sponsors targeting the mid-market across Asia-Pacific.
Distressed debt investor of the year
1. SSG Capital Management
3. Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors
SSG Capital Management’s grip on the pan-Asian distressed debt and special situations segment remains firm, and in January, Ares Management announced it was acquiring a majority stake in the firm. “Through the combination of our expertise in the region and the resources of the entire Ares platform, we believe we can better serve our growing investor base as many of our clients seek to increase their allocations to Asian alternative investment strategies,” said SSG chief executive Edwin Wong when the deal was announced.
Fundraising of the year
1. Partners Group
2. SSG Capital Management
Partners Group launched a listed private debt investment trust, Partners Group Global Income Fund, on the Australian Securities Exchange in September 2019. The offer was strongly oversubscribed, raising a total of A$550 million ($370 million; €340 million). The trust will straddle Partners Group’s existing private debt strategy, including first-lien, second-lien and subordinated loans, with select special situations investments globally. “We see continued interest in private markets from distribution partners and private individuals,” said André Frei, Partners Group co-chief executive officer.
Infrastructure debt manager of the year
1. Allianz Global Investors
2. Asset Management One Alternative Investments
3. AMP Capital
At the end of 2018, AllianzGI launched its Asian private credit effort at the same time as making two key hires in Sumit Bhandari and Weizhong Yun. Bhandari, with 18 years’ experience, heads the team, which is based in Singapore. The team cranked up its activities in 2019, partly thanks to the further hires of Siddharth Rao and Paul Schrecongost, and now has four senior executives covering the firm’s activities in south-east Asia, south Asia, and Australia.
Real estate debt fund manager of the year
1. InfraRed NF Investment Advisers
2. Everstone Capital
3. Diamond Realty Management
By the end of 2019, InfraRed had grown its loan security portfolio to more than $3 billion in gross development value across seven cities in Greater China. The platform committed more than $150 million in structured financing to three development projects and a mature office asset in 2019. “China’s long-term de-leveraging continues to create compelling risk-adjusted returns for us both in the value-add and mezzanine space,” said Stuart Jackson, InfraRed NF chief executive officer.
Deal of the year
1. SSG Capital Management (Indonesian property developer)
2. CLSA Capital Partners (Korean peer-to-peer lender)
3. HPS Investment Partners (P2P of an Australian business)
SSG Capital Management, which also won Asia-Pacific Distressed Debt Fund Manager of the year, arranged and anchored a $127 million senior secured facility for an Indonesian property developer. The facility enabled the borrower to refinance several existing loans and bond instruments in a short timeframe and was secured at a low loan-to-value ratio.
Law firm of the year
1. Clifford Chance
2. Kirkland & Ellis
One of the world’s legal behemoths, Clifford Chance steals this year’s top spot from 2018 winner Kirkland & Ellis. The firm has long had a leading presence in Asia-Pacific and a strong reputation in the region for its expertise across the alternatives space. Today, the firm has more than 400 lawyers operating out of eight offices across the region – in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Perth and Sydney. Dechert takes third place again in this category.
Placement agent of the year
1. Evercore Private Funds Group
2. Campbell Lutyens
3. Credit Suisse Private Funds Group
Private Debt Investor’s placement agent of the year – Europe has also won the plaudit for Asia. Evercore Private Fund Group advised pan-Asian fund manager OCP Asia on its Orchard Landmark III direct lending fund, which held a final close on $511 million. This represents a 190 percent increase in fund size compared with its predecessor, which reached $200 million in March 2017. Commitments included a re-up from Montana Board of Investments, which provided $75 million.
Investor of the year
1. Temasek Holdings
2. Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Company
3. Public Officials Benefit Association
Temasek Holdings is a runaway winner, garnering more 50 percent of the vote. With a total $440 billion assets under management, the Singaporean state-owned company has some heft in the private debt market, with a 4 percent allocation to the asset class. During 2019, the institution broadened its private credit scope, and it now has exposure to closed- and open-end vehicles, structured credit products, including US-originated collateralised loan obligations, and direct investments.