AEW Europe has appointed Jonathan Stevens to the newly created role of head of private debt, and added the existing private debt business of Natixis Investment Managers International to its team.
The firm said the move was part of a strategy to grow its existing private debt platform, entering new sectors including infrastructure.
Stevens will be based in London and will report to AEW’s European CEO, Rob Wilkinson. He will also join AEW’s European executive committee.
In addition to Stevens joining, the existing private debt business of Natixis Investment Managers International will be transferred to AEW along with a team of 21 professionals including chief investment officer Denis Prouteau, who has been with the team since 2018.
Stevens will be responsible for shaping the strategic direction and growth of AEW’s enlarged private debt platform, including the creation of innovative investment products that meet institutional clients’ requirements for long term secure income with low volatility, capital efficiency and strong relative value.
He was previously Blackrock’s head of infrastructure debt (Europe) and deputy chief investment officer of the global business and brings over 20 years’ experience in the infrastructure sector as an adviser, lender, asset manager and business leader on a global basis.
Before joining Blackrock in 2014, Stevens also held senior roles at CIBC, BNY Mellon and West LP AG, having started his career at PwC.
Wilkinson commented: 'With the changing interest rate environment, we believe that the broader private debt market represents an increasingly compelling opportunity for our clients with long term investment horizons.
'We have therefore identified private debt and infrastructure in particular as a strategic growth opportunity for our business, where we already have an existing and established footprint in real estate debt. Our vision is for the AEW platform to provide our clients with access to an even broader spectrum of real asset products.
'Jonathan Stevens is a true heavyweight in the industry and his appointment to lead our private debt platform is testament to the scale of the opportunity before us. I look forward to working closely with him and our new colleagues joining us from Natixis Investment Managers International, as we develop and grow this part of our business.'
Said Stevens: 'I am excited to be joining AEW. Carefully selected infrastructure and real estate debt have the attractive features of real asset collateral, low economic correlation leading to low incidence of default and high recovery rates.
'AEW is a global business of significant scale with a 40-year track record. The expansion into infrastructure debt represents a great opportunity and I look forward to working with the team as we embark on this journey.'