POBA seeks mid-market direct lending managers

The Korean institutional investor plans to hire European managers by late February

Korea’s Public Officials Benefits Association, a Seoul-based savings fund, is seeking fund managers for its Europe-focused mid-market direct lending strategy this month, according to a public disclosure last week.

POBA requires investment managers to submit their marketing materials via local asset management companies in South Korea. Interested parties are asked to mail their applications to the savings fund’s financial investment team by 30 January.

More details on planned allocations to direct lending funds were not disclosed.

The Korean investor is looking for funds planning to invest more than 70 percent of their capital in senior and unitranche loans. The investment team will exclude BDC vehicles and CLO platforms from the search. In addition, managers’ track records in senior floating rate term funds and high yield bond investments will not be considered for this hiring process.

POBA’s typical senior credit fund investment size is about $30 million although its actual commitment size may change depending on managers’ proposals and investment opportunities, a source familiar with the matter told PDI on Friday. POBA’s existing private credit managers are allowed to submit applications, the source added.

As PDI reported in July 2018, POBA has a large private debt manager roster which includes Alcentra, Antares Capital, Ares Management, Barings (rebranded from Babson Capital Management following a merger in September 2016), Benefit Street Partners, Golub Capital Partners, Guggenheim Partners, Medley Private Debt, Park Square Capital and Permira Debt Managers as of H1 2018.

The savings fund is an investor in Ares Capital Europe IV, a €6.5 billion-sized senior debt fund which held a final close in July 2018, PDI data shows. The savings fund also committed $30 million to Guggenheim Private Debt Fund 2.0. The fund held a final close on $2 billion in October 2017.

The savings fund managed $11.9 billion in assets and allocated 54.7 percent to global alternative assets as of October 2018.