US house Babson Capital targets Asia buildout

The fixed income firm has hired Giselle Lee, formerly of Man Investments, as managing director to help drive its business development across Asia ex-Japan.
US house Babson Capital targets Asia buildout

US-based fixed-income house Babson Capital Management is set to announce it has hired Giselle Lee, formerly of Man Investments, to help drive its business development in Asia.

Lee joined Babson Capital as a managing director last month based in Hong Kong. She now reports to Duncan Robertson, Asia-Pacific head of sales for the firm.

It comes as Babson, which has $180 billion in AUM including affiliates, strives to build out its global capabilities in Asia, where it has offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney and Melbourne.

At the end of last year Asia accounted for 4% of its global asset base, or $6.5 billion. That excluded $1.9 billion in Australia, while it had $11 billion in Europe and the Middle East.

Anthony Sciacca, head of global business development for Babson Capital, describes Lee’s hire as an “important step as we extend Babson’s reach in Asia”.

He points to her experience in institutional and wholesale distribution across asset classes. Previously Lee has held business development roles at Man Investments, where she spent nearly nine years, Deutsche Asset Management (five years), Allianz Global Investors and JP Morgan Asset Management.

Founded in Boston in 1940, Babson Capital is an institutionally focused fixed-income firm, with 37% of its AUM in the asset class. It has 144 institutional separate accounts and 96 funds, and lists its strengths as global high yield, global mezzanine debt, structured credit and investment grade strategies.

It also offers equity and alternatives, including real estate, private finance, real assets and closed-end funds, and provides financing and customised solutions such as CDO monitoring, CDO and CLO manager replacement and insurance asset management.

At the end of last year Babson Capital was managing $123 billion itself; its subsidiaries are commercial real estate manager Cornerstone ($36 billion) and alternatives firm Woodcreek Capital Management ($1 billion). It lists affiliated managers as Affiliated Asset Managers and OppenheimerFunds.

Overall it has over 900 staff globally, including 84 portfolio managers, 229 analysts and 21 traders.

Insurance firms make up the majority of its asset base by client type, followed by sub-advisory, structured funds and corporate pensions.

It had $8.3 billion in public funds last year, with the remainder of its assets shared among superannuation, endowments, closed-end funds and family office/high-net-worth clients.

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