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AllianzGI to start new Asian private credit team based out of Singapore

ACTIVE investment manager Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) is launching an Asian private credit capability with its new team to be based in Singapore, it announced on Thursday morning.

It is a move that broadens the geographic reach of AllianzGI's global private debt platforms, amid what AllianzGI deems to be "attractive fundamentals" in the Asia private debt markets. 

AllianzGI said in a statement: "With the retrenchment of banks due to regulatory pressures and inefficient debt capital markets, AllianzGI believes Asia’s mid-cap companies are currently particularly underserved, lacking access to credit despite their strong fundamentals and compelling growth stories."

The team is expected to begin investing shortly, with Allianz as an initial investor, and will target a senior secured debt strategy and mezzanine financing strategy with a diversified portfolio in mind.

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It will be led by Sumit Bhandari, who now has the title of managing director for Asia Private Credit at AllianzGI.

He said: “The ability to invest across the capital structure provides for complete financing solutions to borrowers and unlocks an abundant deal flow with an attractive risk/return profile. We are excited to be able to help our clients unlock the potential of Asian private debt markets.”

One other hire announced on Thursday is Weizhong Yun. Both joined from The Abraaj Group, the Dubai-based private equity dealmaker that recently collapsed. AllianzGI will increase the headcount of this team in the coming months.

Deborah Zurkow, global head of alternatives at AllianzGI, said: "Adding Asian private credit to our platform provides our investors with an access point to another unique set of cash flows that are inaccessible through public markets.

"Given the abundant growth in Asian debt, it is critical we have the right expertise to identify the deals that we believe will help meet our investors’ portfolio return and diversification objectives, so I’m delighted to have two such highly experienced local market experts leading the build out of our team."

She added that AllianzGI will explore further extending the range of emerging market credit clients can gain access.