Barings, the latest incarnation of the British merchant bank that was sold to ING for £1 in 1995, has reached a final close of $943 million on its first private equity and real assets commingled fund, according to a company announcement.
The pooled vehicle, known as Barings Asset-Based Income Fund, or BABIF, will invest in real assets and asset-based businesses, and has already deployed capital in aviation leasing, media and entertainment, pharmaceuticals, and financial services.
“Our platform has over a decade of experience managing capital for some of the world’s most sophisticated institutional investors,” said Jon Rotolo, head of Barings’ private equity and real assets team. “With BABIF, we’re able to offer clients access to a differentiated opportunity set while drawing upon our deep industry contacts to deploy capital.”
50% of Financing Already Allocated
Barings said in its announcement that BABIF and related accounts had raised capital from institutional investors in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific, with public and private pensions, insurers, sovereign wealth, family offices, and foundations all making commitments.
The fund had already amassed $757 million from 27 investors by August 2018, a year after official paperwork had first been filed for the pooled vehicle, according to an SEC amendment filed in August 2018 by Barings.
Among this initial tranche of investments was a commitment of $50 million by SERS, as reported in IPE RA last year.
In an email to Mingtiandi today, Barings confirmed that more than half of the fund’s assets had already been allocated through investments in the US and Europe, but declined to name clients as a matter of confidentiality.
Exploring Investments in Asia Pacific
The close of BABIF comes twelve months after the investment management firm, which is now a subsidiary of US insurer MassMutual, gave the Asia Pacific arm of its business a boost by appointing Pius Ho as managing director across its real estate, private equity and real assets strategies in Hong Kong.
Anthony Sciacca, head of Barings’ alternative investments team, which has $42.4 billion real estate assets under management, said that Ho’s appointment reinforced Barings’ commitment to Asia Pacific.
“The team’s proven investment strategy along with our ability to identify long-term trends through research makes Barings a compelling partner for investors,” Sciacca said in yesterday’s announcement, adding that the fund addressed a need faced by institutional investors to seek access to unique real assets. “This strategy has, and will continue to be, an area of focus and growth for our alternatives business,” he said.
Barings Joins a Crowded Asia Fund Universe
Barings’ interest in Asia Pacfic comes as other funds are ramping up their presence in the region’s real estate markets.
Less than three weeks ago Warburg Pincus filed paperwork for the first of the NY-based firm’s funds to include a focus on Southeast Asia, with the China-Southeast Asia II fund reported to already be nearing its target of $4.25 billion.
Five days earlier, Singapore-based SC Capital Partners reached a final close of $850 million on its latest Asia Pacific real estate fund.
The firm’s fifth discretionary private equity fund, known as RECAP V, had already deployed $280 million across Australia, Japan, China and Southeast Asia, at the time of its final close.
Manhattan-based Blackstone, another private equity heavyweight operating in Asia and one of Warburg Pincus’ biggest rivals, forged the largest-ever fund dedicated to property investments in Asia in June of last year.
Blackstone Real Estate Partners Asia II (BREP II), which held a final close of around $7.1 billion of capital commitments, was the firm’s second opportunistic real estate vehicle in Asia.