TowerBrook launches $700m lender

Canadian pension plan OMERS is among co-investors in the European venture, which will be led by Tim Flynn, Goldman Sachs’ former European head of leveraged finance.

TowerBrook Capital Partners has partnered with two Canadian pension schemes to launch a $700 million commercial lending institution.

Haymarket Financial – or “HayFin” – will be based in London and lend to mid-market companies in Europe. The lender will look to take advantage of “structural changes in the market” to provide capital for growth and acquisitions as well as debt refinancing and balance sheet restructuring. It will be funded by permanent capital of $700 million.

TowerBrook has lured the former head of European leveraged finance at Goldman Sachs Tim Flynn to lead the venture. Jeff Sockwell, another Goldman Sachs alumni, joins as head of direct lending and Steve Zander, formerly Merrill Lynch’s head of distressed and high-yield trading joins as chief investment officer.

“The management team believes that the supply of credit, particularly to mid-sized companies in Europe, will remain disrupted for some time,” TowerBrook said in a statement.

The two Canadian co-investors are the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, which has over C$34 billion (€21 billion; $32 billion) under management and OMERS Private Equity, the private equity arm of the C$43 billion Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS).

OMERS recently revealed a plan to shift a larger portion of its C$4 billion private equity plan away from indirect investments via funds towards direct investments. Currently, OMERS’ private equity portfolio is 65 percent invested through fund managers and 35 percent through direct investments. Its goal is to reverse this ratio to 80 percent direct and 20 percent via funds.