Schroders joins the private assets mania

Firm hires alternatives specialist Georg Wunderlin as global head of private assets

Schroders

Schroders has become the latest manager to develop its private assets expertise with the appointment of a global head of private assets.

Georg Wunderlin (pictured) joins from alternatives manager HQ Capital where he was chief executive. At Schroders he will take on the newly-created role to develop its global private assets strategy.

Wunderlin will report to Schroders group chief executive Peter Harrison, who said client demand was behind the decision to develop the private asset business.

“Clients are increasingly looking to invest in illiquid assets which deliver stable and consistent returns that are uncorrelated to public markets,” he said. “Schroders already boasts a wealth of investment expertise in private assets from infrastructure debt to real estate and the firm is now well-placed to leverage these capabilities on a global scale.”

Private debt has become trendy

An increasing number of fund managers have sought to bring private market products to the UK wholesale market or boost their teams in this area in recent months as investors grapple with increasingly volatile equity and bond markets.

Last month, Hermes Investment Management added private debt expertise to its fixed income team. Speaking to Portfolio Adviser at the time, Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at Willis Owen, said hiring private debt experts has become trendy as the bond bull market has arguably peaked and yields have started to pick up from their lows.

In November last year M&G unveiled a Credit Income Investment Trust, aimed at the wholesale market, which invests in a diversified portfolio of public and private debt, targeting 70-80% in private market assets over the longer term. It initially raised £100m before adding £25m last month.

Last Word Research conducted around the same time revealed illiquid asset classes surged in popularity among European fund selectors in Q3 2018. Private equity was the most popular with a quarter of fund selectors surveyed saying they were looking to increase their allocation to the asset class over the 12 months to September 2019.

Prior to HQ Capital, Wunderlin worked at Auda International in 2012 as its chief operating officer, a role he retained after Auda, Real Estate Capital Partners and Equita were combined in 2015 to form HQ Capital. He has led HQ Capital since 2016.

Wunderlin said: “I am convinced the firm is well-positioned to build on these credentials in this attractive market. It is my privilege to have the opportunity to join this firm and to lead Schroders’ private assets businesses.”

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