Over the years we have evolved our investment methodology to make it more effective under all market conditions and efficient to implement in a timely manner.
As long-term investors, aligning our investment principles and processes to mitigate risks based on market cycle and positioning accordingly in a state of risk aversion or state of risk appetite have resulted in achieving our objective of sustainable return generation through all market cycles.
In keeping with our portfolio construction philosophy, we invest in CLOs to provide our investors with a core of stable earnings that can withstand all phases of an economic cycle. Depending on where we are in an economic cycle, we invest in CLO Debt or Equity tranches to benefit from supportive market conditions.
We have been applying this investment philosophy since 2000 and have invested in various CLO tranches through all market cycles, including the 2008-09 financial crisis. We have developed distinctive expertise based on investment experience and proprietary research within US CLO market.
Sustainable performance management is the result of several elements aligning to deliver the intended results.
Central to these elements we believe is the Team.
At Lakemore Partners we have more than 11 nationalities that constitute a diverse team.
Our approach to performance management drives our ability to attract the best talent from around the world and to open up possibilities for the team to excel.
Phoenix/London/Dubai, April 28, 2022 – Lakemore Partners Ltd. and its group entities (“Lakemore”), a leading private credit investment firm primarily investing in control CLO equity, today announced it has named Sheila Finnerty, CFA, to its Board of Directors as an Independent Board Member. With more than 30 years of Wall Street experience, Ms. Finnerty is a financial markets thought leader and recognized expert in fixed income, structured credit and financial instruments.
An established global business manager, Ms. Finnerty brings deep credit, investment, product and distribution expertise in the insurance and asset management industries to Lakemore. She most recently served as a founding member of both the Leadership Team and Investment Committee at Liberty Mutual Investments (LMI), where she helped transform its asset management business into an integrated investment platform that nearly doubled in size to $80 billion. In her roles at LMI, including as Head of Credit Strategies and Strategic Initiatives, Ms. Finnerty underwrote and approved public and private market investments while also contributing to LMI’s compensation design and talent strategy. Her many accomplishments include guiding LMI’s ESG team to establish Liberty Mutual as the first U.S. property and casualty insurer to sign to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing in 2020.
“We are very pleased to welcome Sheila – a highly qualified business leader and widely respected investor with a proven record of creating and executing effective strategies to achieve consistently strong results that outperform benchmarks and peer groups,” said Ahmed Farid, Chairman and President of Lakemore. “Expanding our Board with Sheila, which closely follows our recent appointment of Howard Tiffen, collectively brings to our Lakemore team two loan and CLO industry veterans, each with more than three decades of leveraged finance investment and asset management experience.”
Ms. Finnerty currently holds various board and professional association positions, including as an Independent Director and Audit Committee Member at TCW Direct Lending VIII LLC; Investment Committee Chair, Finance Committee, Governance and Nominating Committee at Manhattanville College Board of Trustees; Philanthropy Committee Member at May Institute; and as a Founding Member of Women in Alternative Debt.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to join Lakemore’s Board of Directors and am confident my expertise in capital markets, financial instruments, private credit and private equity will bring value to both the firm and its global investors,” said Sheila Finnerty. “I look forward to leveraging decades of experience as a steward of both capital and people, while identifying new ways to diversify exposures and grow asset value.”
Previously, Ms. Finnerty held multiple positions at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, including Managing Director and Division Head, High Yield Bonds and Leveraged Loans, where she led the turnaround of the High Yield business into a top performer. She served on the leadership team, providing strategic planning for the asset management business, and regularly interacted with the Morgan Stanley Fund Board of Directors to review strategy and performance, as well as being responsible for the fund governance process. She began her career at Presidential Life Insurance Company and Shearson Lehman Global Asset Management. Ms. Finnerty holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and a BA in Management from Manhattanville College. She is also a CFA® Institute Charter Holder.
Phoenix/London/Dubai, April 6, 2022 – Lakemore Partners Ltd. and its group entities (“Lakemore”), a leading private credit investment firm primarily investing in control CLO equity, today announced it has named Howard Tiffen to its Board of Directors as an Independent Board Member. Mr. Tiffen is a recognized loan and CLO industry leader with more than 40 years of credit, portfolio management, and product experience.
Mr. Tiffen began his career in the high yield and structured capital markets in 1972. He has held senior credit management positions at Continental Bank, Bank of America, Pilgrim Investments (now Voya Investment Management), Van Kampen (now Invesco), and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Mr. Tiffen has also been associated with the Eaton Vance Management Bank Loan Team in an advisory capacity, and as a Client Portfolio Manager for the Leveraged Finance Investment Team at First Trust Advisors. Throughout his career, Mr. Tiffen has managed loan portfolios and built global products and distribution systems in North American, Europe and Asia.
“Howard’s exemplary knowledge of and expertise in the high yield capital markets is unparalleled in the industry,” said Ahmed Farid, Chairman and President of Lakemore. “His insight, experience and relationships will be invaluable to Lakemore in supporting our business management decisions. We are excited to welcome Howard to our Board and are eager to begin leveraging his unique, in-depth perspectives as we strengthen our ability to provide international investors with compelling U.S. CLO equity investment opportunities.”
“Lakemore is an admired and respected leader in U.S. CLO equity investing, driven by a team of talented professionals with a culture built on teamwork, respect and support that is second-to-none in the industry,” said Howard Tiffen. “I look forward to working closely with the Board and the entire Lakemore team as the firm continues its global expansion.”
Mr. Tiffen holds an AM from the University of Chicago, and a BS from Northwestern University.
Phoenix/London/Dubai, March 10, 2022 – Lakemore Partners Ltd. and its group entities (“Lakemore”), a leading private credit investment firm primarily investing in control U.S. CLO equity, today announced it has named Arno van den Heiligenberg Managing Director and Head of Business Development Europe.
In this newly created role, Mr. van den Heiligenberg will focus on further developing Lakemore’s business and client relationships in Europe, providing European financial firms with access to Lakemore’s unparalleled U.S. CLO investment opportunities. The addition of Mr. van den Heiligenberg builds on Lakemore’s global expansion following the establishment of its U.S. presence in Phoenix, Arizona last year.
“Arno is a successful, highly respected and trusted executive who has built outstanding relationships grounded in his client centric approach and deep understanding of financial markets,” said Mohamed Seif, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lakemore. “With more than two decades of business building experience for some of the world’s leading financial institutions, Arno is a valuable addition to our firm as we look to serve our clients and prospective investors across Europe. His extensive relationships in Europe fully align with our forward-looking strategy, and marks another key milestone in our continued global momentum. We are thrilled to welcome Arno to our Lakemore team.”
Mr. van den Heiligenberg brings to Lakemore strong relationships and partnerships with many of Europe’s leading institutional and wholesale investors. Most recently, Mr. van den Heiligenberg served as the Global co-head of Investment Fund Sales at UBS Wealth Management, where he managed a team of professionals, helped define lead product offerings, and presented UBS’ clients with world class alternative and traditional investment solutions. Before UBS, he held positions at ING Investment Management, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup.
“I am honored and excited to join the Lakemore team,” added Mr. van den Heiligenberg. “Lakemore is uniquely focused on bringing its extensive experience in control CLO investing to a growing clientele worldwide as evidenced by their global expansion. I look forward to being part of Lakemore’s inclusive and collaborative culture, and know my background will help to further their commitment to developing long-term and mutually rewarding relationships with its clients. In addition, the extensive experience of the Lakemore investment team has resulted in a stable and compelling track record – an opportunity I am particularly excited about expanding upon.”
Mr. van den Heiligenberg obtained his MSc in Business Administration from Erasmus University Rotterdam and participated in the CEMS Master programme at Stockholm School of Economics. Arno is a CFA, and CAIA Charter Holder.
London/Dubai/Scottsdale August 24, 2021 – Lakemore Partners Ltd. and its group entities (“Lakemore”), a leading private credit investment firm primarily investing in control CLO equity, today announced it has successfully closed Aquatine IV at US$400 million as a result of strong investor demand.
Aquatine IV is Lakemore’s fourth CLO fund within the Aquatine platform, which invests in control equity positions in U.S. CLOs, and is currently one of the market’s largest dedicated CLO control equity funds. The Fund’s investors are a diverse group of institutional investors representing private banks, fund of funds, insurance companies, family offices and high net worth individuals, many of whom have invested in previous Lakemore Aquatine Funds.
“The successful close of our Aquatine IV fund is an important milestone for Lakemore as we further strengthen our position as a global leader in CLO investments focused on delivering high risk-adjusted returns across market cycles,” said Mohamed Seif, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Lakemore.
“The significant interest and commitment to Aquatine IV highlights the trust and support our clients place in us,” said Hisham Ghouth, Partner and Head of Business Development. “Our investors recognize our long-standing partnerships with top-tier CLO managers, and we continue to experience strong demand from a range of global clients looking to access reliable and defensively managed credit portfolios.”
“Our team continues to deliver outstanding deal execution in 2021 through our involvement in more than 10 control equity transactions representing over US$6 billion in CLO size,” added Somnath Mukherjee, Partner and Head of Investments. “We would like to thank our collateral managers and arranging banks for their partnership in helping us to secure a robust pipeline during an incredibly active year, and for contributing to long-term, sustainable value for investors in our Aquatine Funds.”
Leading CLO equity investment firm establishes new U.S. office to further enhance global operations
London/Dubai/Scottsdale August 3, 2021 – Lakemore Partners Ltd. and its group entities (“Lakemore”), a leading private credit investment firm primarily investing in control CLO equity, today announced it has named Dan Norman Managing Director and Head of its U.S. business operations. In this role, he will focus on growing Lakemore’s investment platform globally from its recently established U.S. office in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Mr. Norman joins Lakemore following his retirement last year from Voya Investment Management (“Voya”) where he most recently served as Group Head and Senior Managing Director. While at Voya, he founded the firm’s Senior Loan Group in 1995 and co-managed the Group’s global loan platform including its global CLO business, which by the end of 2020 had managed 46 CLOs with a combined size of over US$22 billion.
“Dan is a successful, highly respected and cycle-proven executive who has established himself as one of the leading experts in broadly syndicated corporate loans and CLO management,” said Mohamed Seif, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Lakemore. “With more than 35 years of global business-building and investment management experience, Dan is the perfect fit for our firm as we continue to strengthen our relationships with leading U.S. CLO managers and look to serve the needs of current and prospective investors in the U.S. and around the world. We are thrilled to welcome him to Lakemore.”
Throughout his career, Mr. Norman has structured and managed over 80 loan funds and accounts with total combined assets of over US$50 billion. He has created extensive distribution networks and more than 300 investor relationships around the world.
As part of his role, Mr. Norman will oversee Lakemore’s on-the-ground U.S. presence from its newly established office located in Scottsdale, which will further enhance the firm’s ability to seamlessly operate on a global scale. Lakemore currently has 27 professionals worldwide overseeing US$1.1 billion in credit assets under management.
“I’m honored to join such a diverse and well-respected firm that has established a leadership role in the CLO marketplace through its sound strategic approach and commitment to client service,” added Mr. Norman. “Lakemore’s strong culture of respect and support for its team members deeply resonates with me and is core to a successful business. I look forward to working alongside the experienced professionals at Lakemore as we continue to expand our presence both in the U.S. and around the world.”
Mr. Norman currently serves as a Board Member of the Business Loans Coalition, the Loan Syndication and Trading Association’s (“LSTA”) grassroots advocacy affiliate, and as an advisory Board Member of the Maricopa Partnerships, which manages diverse business and investment interests. He previously served as Board Member of the LSTA and the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers.
We publish monthly research reports providing an overview of current market conditions, relative value within leveraged loans and CLO debt and equity tranches. A summary of our latest report can be found below.
To receive our research reports, please email: email@example.com
For media inquiries, please email: Dukas Linden, Public Relations at Lakemore@DLPR.com
Current Lakemore Insights – February / March 2022 report:
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – February/March 2022 report, we note the ways in which the significant ratchet higher in geopolitical tensions between Ukraine and Russia has impacted US Leveraged Loan and CLO markets, in addition to other risk assets. We also conduct a deep dive into the impacts of inflation on several sectors in the US leveraged loan market.
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – January 2022 report, we note that anticipated rate hikes from the Federal Reserve have resulted in strong outperformance for the leveraged loan market. While the loan primary market delivered a busy start to the year, we expect new issue CLO activity to ramp up in the second half of Q1. As anticipated, in our view, the Sofr transition has not had a material impact to date on CLO equity arbitrage, which continues to hover around historical highs of 20%.
Outlook for 2022 and Beyond
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – Outlook for 2022 and Beyond, we outline our views on the US CLO and Leveraged Loan markets and provide our forecast on key market metrics, like default rates, loan spreads and primary issuance. Within the report, we discuss the impact of macroeconomic drivers and risk factors, like tightening monetary policy and geopolitical risk, on the leveraged loan and CLO asset classes. We also detail why we view the current environment as extremely attractive for a CLO equity investor, and offer insight into the benefits of supermajority control CLO equity investing.
In this short edition of the Lakemore Insights – October 2021 report, we note the record-breaking full year primary issuance volume seen in the leveraged loan market year-to-date, driven by a fundamentally strong loan market and attractive technicals. Meanwhile, we review CLO equity arbitrage, which reached more than 21% in October.
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – September 2021 report, we note the record-breaking year seen in CLO primary, which has been driven by what is, in our view, arguably the most attractive CLO equity arbitrage conditions in history. Meanwhile, we observe that leveraged loans delivered a robust performance through the month, despite volatility in other risk assets, as a fundamentally strong market and floating rate benefits continued to attract investors. Finally, we consider the impact of inflation on various sectors.
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – August 2021 report, we discuss the drivers of current CLO equity arbitrage conditions, which continued to improve on their already extremely attractive levels through August and resulted in the highest month for CLO new issuance by volume since last year. We offer an analysis of Q2 earnings season, which shows that US corporates’ EBITDA have not only recovered but improved upon their pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, we explain why the leveraged loan market continues to flourish, due to plentiful upgrades, ultra-low defaults and an active primary market. In our view, current market conditions are a strong tailwind for CLO equity, and we continue to anticipate that 2020-2022 vintages are likely to be among the strongest on record for the asset class.
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – July 2021 report, we review the way in which inflation concerns and the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 have begun to weigh on sentiment. With CLO equity arbitrage remaining at historical highs, warehouse activity is plentiful, and we anticipate any future volatility to further enhance CLO equity attractiveness. Meanwhile, the loan market continues to be fundamentally strong, with the last twelve-month default rate falling well below 1% and upgrades soaring ever higher above downgrades.
May / June 2021
Given relatively sanguine market conditions in recent months, we amalgamated the May and June 2021 editions of the Lakemore Insights report. In this report, we review the positive impact of volatility on CLO equity yields following the pandemic and evaluate the attractive conditions in the loan market, which has been further bolstered as investors seek to hedge inflation and benefit from the floating rate nature of this fundamentally strong asset class.
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – April 2021 report, we analyze senior loan new issues, historically high CLO equity arbitrage levels and the benefits of CLO equity vintage diversification, showing that investing in CLO equity on a five-year rolling basis increases median IRRs and reduces standard deviation of returns. We also examine CLO liability costs and offer our outlook for the direction of liability pricing in the coming months. Meanwhile, we note that primary loan issuance has improved in quality post pandemic, with loan spreads also wider than pre-Covid-19 levels, which should benefit CLO portfolios. Moreover, loan market default rates have fallen below their long-term historical average.
In this edition of the Lakemore Insights – March 2021 report, we discuss the record-breaking primary issuance in both the leveraged loan and CLO markets, in addition to the declining default rates and softening in loan prices and liability costs through the month. We also analyze historic US unemployment data and Federal Reserve rate hikes.
In the Lakemore Insights – February 2021 report, we provide an update on market conditions and data through February, including the buoyant leveraged loan and CLO primary markets, and the rise in resets and refinancings as CLO managers and equity investors seek to take advantage of tight liability pricing.
Outlook for 2021 and Beyond
In the Lakemore Insights – Outlook for 2021 and Beyond report, we share our views and analysis on our outlook for the CLO and Leveraged Loan markets for 2021 and the years that follow, in addition to reviewing key highlights from 2020. Key discussions include our leveraged loan market default outlook, and the multiple tail winds driving return expectations on CLO equities for 2021 and 2022 vintages to above-average levels.
In the Lakemore Insights – December 2020 report, we provide an update on market conditions and data through December. For more information on what we expect from the year ahead, we will shortly publish our Lakemore Insights – Review & Outlook 2020/2021 report, which will contain in-depth analysis and views on our outlook for the CLO and Leveraged Loan markets for 2021 and review the key highlights from 2020.
In the Lakemore Insights – November 2020 report, we examine the impact of a series of Covid-19 vaccine breakthroughs on markets and why we believe that current market conditions are highly favourable for CLO equity IRRs and, in fact, 2021 CLO equity vintages could be the most attractive vintages in recent times. We also review Q3 earnings season and CLO prepayment rates.
In the Lakemore Insights – October 2020 report, we analyze the trend of upgrades in the leveraged loan market and consider how the current low rates environment may affect CLO investors. We also update on the impact of the US election and the latest vaccine phase 3 breakthrough on markets.
In the Lakemore Insights – September 2020 report, we examine why heightened distress in the loan market may present an opportunity for conservative CLOs and distressed funds as we review two high profile restructurings. We consider what the impact of the phasing out of Libor by the end of 2021 is likely to mean for CLO equity investors and highlight how defensive managers are benefiting in the current environment.
In the Lakemore Insights – August 2020 report, we review Q2 earnings season and the market response, in addition to the resurgence of M&A-related leveraged loan issuance activity. Other key highlights include: an examination of the increase in CLO warehouses and analysis of improving CLO return drivers. We also consider market conditions through the month.
In the Lakemore Insights – July 2020 report, we examine the presence of an overexuberant recovery in the leveraged loan market and the attractive opportunity evolving within new CLO equity transactions as CLO arbitrage hits a sweet spot. Other highlights include: an analysis of post-Covid-19 leveraged loan defaults, as well as a review of market conditions in the month.
In the Lakemore Insights – June 2020 report, we examine the volatile market conditions seen intra-month, Q2 2020 earnings expectations and why we believe defensive investing is key amid the current market uncertainty. Other highlights include: an analysis of how changes to the covenant-light (cov-lite) cycle could impact leveraged loan investors and the effect of distressed investors on CLO portfolios.
In the Lakemore Insights – May 2020 report, we discuss current market conditions, relative value within leveraged loans and CLO debt and equity tranches. As most asset classes continue to rally, despite deteriorating growth forecasts, we explore the increasing disconnect between underlying fundamental data and market movements. Other highlights include: the existing and future opportunities in leveraged loans for active selection and attractive risk-adjusted returns amid spiking loan amendments and the reopening of the primary market; and the trend towards normal reinvestment periods within the CLO new issue market, following a flurry of static issuances in April.
In the Lakemore Insights – April 2020 report, we discuss current market conditions, relative values within leveraged loans and CLO tranches, and track performance of Defensive CLOs vs. Aggressive CLOs. The analysis shows defensive CLOs are performing better on risk metrics as levels of stress continue to increase in the leveraged loan market. This continues to emphasize the need for an overall focus on risk stabilization as core to the generation of higher risk-adjusted performance.
In the Lakemore Insights – March 2020 report, we illustrate how volatile market conditions have helped defensive CLO portfolio constructions add portfolio spreads over time and build IRR. We examine why defensively constructed CLO portfolios are expected to outperform as they benefit from relative value and reinvestment trades within the loan books and generate strong IRRs for CLO equity investors.
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