Pacific Alliance Hires Four Ex-Deutsche Execs

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Pacific Alliance Group (PAG), an Asia-focused alternative investment manager, said on Tuesday that it hired four former senior Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) executives to expand its distressed asset investment team.

The four former Deutsche bankers are Anshumann Woodhull, Kanak Kapur, Anil Gorthy and Stuart Blieschke and all the four worked at distressed asset investment-related divisions at the German bank in Hong Kong, according to PAG’s announcement.

“We continue to believe the opportunities in credit, distressed debt and other stressed and distressed assets across Asia are profound,” said Chris Gradel, Managing Partner of PAG.

Among the four, Woodhull was formerly Head of Origination, Structuring and Special Situations in the Distressed Products Group at Deutsche Bank. Woodhull has more than 13 years of experience in reorganisation, restructuring and corporate workout.

Kapur was formerly Head of Asia Distribution in the Distressed Products Group at Deutsche Bank. He has more than 15 years experience in distressed asset and debt-related areas.

As private equity and hedge funds are expanding into the distressed asset business, global banks are reducing or closing distressed asset teams as they need to refocus on core businesses such as retail and commercial banking amid the financial crisis.

Michel Lowy, an influential veteran distressed asset and debt investor and former head of Deutsche Bank’s distressed products and strategic investments group for the Asia-Pacific, also quit the German bank early this year to pursue his personal interest.

The hiring of the four Deutsche bankers came after the recent appointment of a new head of PAG’s Japan unit and its around $45 million investment in local partner Secured Capital Japan early this year as PAG was also keen on Japanese distressed assets.

On Monday, PAG’s new Japan chief executive Anthony Miller, told Reuters in an interview that it may spend as much as $500 million in the next two to three years in Japan as it seeks to buy distressed assets there.

PAG currently has $4 billion in assets under management.

Besides fast growing private capital in the distressed asset market, Asia’s sovereign wealth funds such as the $200 billion China Investment Corp are also diversifying into the riskier arena of distressed asset investments.

By George Chen
(Additional reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo)

(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)