Oaktree Capital Management

Oaktree Capital Management, Inc.
Traded as NYSE: OAK
Industry Financial services
Founded April 1995 (1995-04)[1]
Founders Howard Marks, Bruce Karsh, Steve Kaplan, Larry Keele, Richard Masson, Sheldon Stone[1]
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, USA
Number of locations
Key people
Howard Marks
Bruce Karsh
(Co-Chairman and CIO)
John Frank
(Vice Chairman)
Jay Wintrob
AUM US$97 billion (as of 31 December 2015)[3]
Website www.oaktreecapital.com

Oaktree Capital Management is an American global asset management firm specializing in alternative investment strategies. Oaktree emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented, and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate and listed equities. As of December 31, 2015, the company managed $97 billion, primarily on behalf of public funds, pension funds, foundations, corporate and insurance companies, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds. On April 12, 2012, Oaktree Capital Group LLC became listed on the NYSE: OAK.[3][4]

The firm was co-founded in 1995 by a group who had formerly worked together at the TCW Group starting in the 1980s. Oaktree quickly established a reputation in the high-yield and distressed-debt markets.[5] As of December 31, 2015 it has over 900 employees[6] and 17 offices in Los Angeles, where it is headquartered, London, New York City, Hong Kong, Stamford (Connecticut), Tokyo, Luxembourg, Paris, Frankfurt, Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, Amsterdam, Dubai, Houston, and Shanghai.[3]

Firm overview

Oaktree is headquartered in the Wells Fargo Tower in Los Angeles, seen here as the building on the left

With headquarters in Los Angeles,[7] the firm has over 900 employees[6] and offices in 17 cities worldwide (Los Angeles, London, New York City, Hong Kong, Stamford (Connecticut), Tokyo, Luxembourg, Paris, Frankfurt, Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, Amsterdam, Dubai, Houston, and Shanghai).[3]

Investment philosophy

Oaktree has a value-oriented investment philosophy, emphasizing risk-control, consistency and specialization, with a focus on opportunities that offer a margin of safety.[3] On November 12, 2011, the Financial Times said of Oaktree’s approach: “the heart of risk management Oaktree-style, with its emphasis on living to fight another day, is simple. Oaktree eschews overly complicated hedging strategies.”[8] The firm specializes in off-the-beaten-path and contrarian investments,[9] and favors companies with tangible assets.[10] The firm's motto is “if we avoid the losers, the winners will take care of themselves.”[11]

Investment focus

Oaktree invests across the capital structure, with an emphasis on senior debt in companies and markets where it has what it calls a “knowledge advantage.” Distressed or otherwise ailing companies, according to Oaktree, provide such opportunities. The company’s co-chairman, Howard Marks, has been described as “one of the savviest investors in the world,”[8] and is known in the investment community for letters to investors called the "Oaktree memos”.[12]

Since its 1995 formation, Oaktree has become the largest distressed-debt investor in the world.[13][14] In 2008, it raised $10.9 billion for what was the largest-ever distressed debt fund, its Opportunities Fund VIIb.[15] As reported in The Washington Post on June 26, 2011, Oaktree’s 17 distressed-debt funds (which do not use leverage) have averaged annual gains of 19% after fees for the past 22 years.[16]

In addition to credit investments in distressed debt and high-yield bonds, Oaktree also invests in areas such as private equity, real estate and listed equities. In recent years, the company has expanded its real estate activities.[3]


Oaktree’s clientele includes 75 of the 100 largest U.S. pension plans, 39 states in the United States, 434 corporations and/or their pension funds, approximately 370 university, charitable and other endowments and foundations, 16 sovereign wealth funds and over 300 other non-U.S. institutional investors.[17] According to the Wall Street Journal, Oaktree has “long been considered a stable repository for pension-fund and endowment money.”[18]

The company’s distressed-debt funds are often over-subscribed, and in 2010 Oaktree turned down potential investors due to self-imposed limits on fund size.[19] By law, clients are required to be so-called accredited investors, however, sub-advisory relationships with mutual funds such as The Vanguard Group and Russell Investment Group provide smaller investors access to Oaktree’s portfolio managers.


Early years (1995–1999)

Oaktree was founded in 1995 by a group of principals who first joined together at the TCW Group in the mid-1980s[20] to manage high yield bonds, convertible securities, distressed debt, real estate, and principal investments.[21] Within three months of its founding in 1995, “more than 30 TCW clients transferred $1.5 billion in assets to Oaktree.”[9][22]

Oaktree has formed various sub-advisory relationships since 1995. In 1996, Oaktree was selected as the sub-advisor for the Vanguard Convertible Securities Fund.[21]

Since 1995, Oaktree has created what it refers to as “step-out” strategies, usually coincident with the opening of new offices around the world. Its growth in strategies has largely focused on expanding into European and Asian markets. Between 1997 and 1999, Oaktree created 3 new strategies: Emerging Markets Absolute Return in 1997, European High Yield Bonds in 1999, and Power Opportunities in 1999.[17] Oaktree was one of the first U.S.-headquartered alternative asset managers with dedicated European investment teams focused on credit.[21]

Expansion (2000–2010)

In 2001 Oaktree continued to introduce new "step-out" strategies, starting with Mezzanine Finance. Asia Principal Opportunities (2006) and Asia Special Situations (2007) followed, along with European Principal Investments (2006), U.S. Senior Loans and Value Opportunities (2007), European Senior Loans (2009), Global High Yield Bonds (2010), and Emerging Markets Equities (2011).[21][23][17]

In 2005 the Securities And Exchange Commission ordered Oaktree to pay a fine, interest, and disgorge profits after the SEC ruled they had "sold securities short" before the five legal business days after a public offering pricing had gone public. Oaktree was required to put in place policies and procedures to prevent violations in the future.[24]

In 2008, the firm raised $11 billion for their distressed debt fund.[15][25] In 2009, Oaktree was selected by the U.S. Treasury, along with eight other managers (BlackRock, Invesco, AllianceBernstein and others)[26] to participate in the government’s Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP).[27] At the time of Oaktree’s inclusion in the PPIP program, The New York Times reported: “Howard S. Marks is the sort of financier who Washington hopes will help fix the nation’s tumbledown banks.”[28] Partnering with Oaktree in PPIP are the Inupiat Eskimos of Alaska’s North Slope, whose Arctic Slope Regional Corporation invested some $10 million alongside Oaktree’s PPIP fund. As of December 31, 2015, the Oaktree PPIP Fund, L.P. had a gross return of 28%.[23][29][17]

Recent years (2010-present)

Relationship expansion

In recent years, the company has formed several strategic relationships. In 2009, Oaktree acquired a 22% stake in DoubleLine Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm specializing in mortgage-backed fixed income portfolios. In 2011 Oaktree partnered with Sabal Financial Group, a company focusing on the acquisition and valuation of portfolios of real estate loans.[30] Oaktree had been an investor in Sabal’s portfolios since 2009 prior to acquiring a non-controlling equity stake in the company.[31]

Its relationship with Vanguard was expanded in 2011, when Oaktree was selected as one of four firms to manage Vanguard’s Emerging Markets Select Stock Fund. In 2010, Oaktree was named one of three advisors to the Russell Global Opportunistic Credit Fund and was selected as a manager for the Credit Suisse (Lux) I Fund in 2011.[21]

European sovereign-debt crisis

Seeking investment opportunities created by the European sovereign-debt crisis,[32][33] Oaktree started its European Principal Fund III in November 2011 with committed capital of some €3 billion.[34]

Other recent funds

According to the company’s published financial results, during the year ended December 31, 2015, Oaktree raised $10.5 billion for Oaktree Opportunities Funds X and Xb (“Opps X and Xb”).[17] Like its other Opportunities funds, Fund X and Xb will focus on “market pricing inefficiencies resulting from company reorganizations and restructurings, and the senior and secured debt of operationally sound, overleveraged companies in the United States and Western Europe.”[35] New strategies, such as Global High Yield Bonds, Strategic Credit, European Private Debt, Emerging Markets Total Return, Emerging Markets Opportunities, Real Estate Debt and Value Equities were also added to the platform.[17]

NYSE listing

On April 12, 2012, Oaktree became a publicly traded partnership with shares listed on the NYSE.[4] The company was previously listed on GSTrUE, a private over-the-counter exchange run by Goldman Sachs[36] which officially ceased operations[37] in 2012 after Oaktree, along with Apollo Global Management (in 2011), de-listed and moved to the NYSE.[38]

Investment funds

Oaktree’s current investment activities are divided across six main asset classes: distressed debt,[39] corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate and listed equities. Fund structures within each asset class vary, and are organized into closed-end, open-end, or so-called “evergreen” fund types.

Oaktree’s fund offerings are organized into three broad categories based on liquidity and lock-up period:

The following tables list the company’s strategies and funds since inception (including TCW funds directed by Oaktree managers before they left TCW to found Oaktree in 1995):

Closed-End Funds

Fund Inception Date Committed
Capital ($m)
Distressed Debt
TCW Special Credits Fund I, L.P. Oct-1988 $97
TCW Special Credits Fund II, L.P. Jul-1990 $261
TCW Special Credits Fund IIb, L.P. Dec-1990 $153
TCW Special Credits Fund III, L.P. Nov-1991 $329
TCW Special Credits Fund IIIb, L.P. Apr-1992 $6447
TCW Special Credits Fund IV, L.P. Jun-1993 $394
OCM Opportunities Fund, L.P. Oct-1995 $771
OCM Opportunities Fund II, L.P. Oct-1997 $1,550
OCM Opportunities Fund III, L.P. Sep-1999 $2,077
OCM Opportunities Fund IV, L.P. Sep-2001 $2,125
OCM Opportunities Fund IVb, L.P. May-2002 $1,339
OCM Opportunities Fund V, L.P. Jun-2004 $1,179
OCM Opportunities Fund VI, L.P. Jul-2005 $1,773
OCM Opportunities Fund VII, L.P. Mar-2007 $3,598
OCM Opportunities Fund VIIb, L.P. May-2008 $10,940
Special Account A Nov-2008 $253
Oaktree Capital Management Opportunities Fund VIII, L.P. Oct-2009 $4,507
Special Account B Nov-2009 $1,031
Oaktree Capital Opportunities Fund VIIIb, L.P. Aug-2011 $2,692
Oaktree Opportunities Fund IX Jan 2014 $5,066
Oaktree Opportunities Fund X Jan 2016 $2,955
Oaktree Opportunities Fund Xb TBD $7,530
Global Principal Investments
TCW Special Credits Fund V, L.P. Apr-1994 $401
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund, L.P. Jul-1996 $625
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund II, L.P. Dec-2000 $1,275
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund III, L.P. Nov-2003 $1,400
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund IV, L.P. Oct-2006 $3,328
Special Account C Dec-2008 $505
Oaktree Capital Principal Fund V, L.P. Feb-2009 $2,827
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund VI, L.P. Nov-2015 $1,223
European Principal Investments
OCM European Principal Opportunities Fund, L.P. Mar-2006 $495
OCM European Principal Opportunities Fund II, L.P. Dec-2007 €1,759
Oaktree Capital European Principal Fund III, L.P. Nov-2011 €3,168
European Private Debt
Special Account E Oct 2013 €379
Oaktree European Dislocation Fund Oct 2013 €294
Oaktree European Capital Solutions Fund Dec 2015 €98
Power Opportunities
OCM/GFI Power Opportunities Fund, L.P. Nov-1999 $449
OCM/GFI Power Opportunities Fund II, L.P. Nov-2004 $1,021
Oaktree Capital Power Opportunities Fund III, L.P. Apr-2010 $1,062
Oaktree Capital Power Opportunities Fund IV, L.P. Nov-2015 $1,106
Real Estate Opportunities
TCW Special Credits Fund VI, L.P. Aug-1994 $506
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund A, L.P. Feb-1996 $379
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund B, L.P. Mar-1997 $285
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund II, L.P. Dec-1998 $464
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund III, L.P. Sep-2002 $707
OCM Real Estate Opportunities Fund IV, L.P. Dec-2007 $450
Special Account D Nov-2009 $256
Oaktree Capital Real Estate Opportunities Fund V, L.P. Mar-2011 $1,283
Oaktree Real Estate Opportunities Fund VI Aug 2012 $2,677
Oaktree Real Estate Opportunities Fund VII Jan-2016 $2,104
Real Estate Debt
Oaktree Capital PPIP Fund, L.P. Dec-2009 $2,322
Oaktree Real Estate Debt Fund Sep 2013 $1,112
Mezzanine Finance
OCM Mezzanine Fund I, L.P. Oct-2001 $808
OCM Mezzanine Fund II, L.P. Jun-2005 $1,251
Oaktree Capital Mezzanine Fund III, L.P. Dec-2009 $1,592
Oaktree Mezzanine Fund IV Oct 2014 $842
Infrastructure Investing
Highstar Capital IV Nov 2010 $2,346
Emerging Markets Opportunities
Oaktree Emerging Market Opportunities Fund Sept 2013 $384
Special Account Jan 2014 $253

Open-End Funds

Fund Inception Date AUM ($m)
Open End Fund
U.S. High Yield Bonds Jan-1986 $14,542
U.S. Convertibles Apr-1987 $3,965
High Income Convertibles Aug-1989 $767
Non-U.S. Convertibles Oct-1994 $2,084
European High Yield Bonds May-1999 $1,127
U.S. Senior Loans Sep-2008 $1,987
European Senior Loans May-2009 $1,554
Global High Yield Bonds Nov-2010 $4,090
Emerging Markets Equities Jul-2011 $3,019

Evergreen Funds

Fund Inception Date AUM ($m)
Evergreen Fund
Emerging Markets Absolute Return Apr-1997 $146
Value Opportunities Sep-2007 $1,291
Value Equities May 2012 $307


Current as of December 31, 2015: (Capitalcapital.com/about/ source)[17]

Assets by client type
Client type % US$
Public Funds 27 25,753
Corporate and Corporate Pensions 24 23,783
Sovereign Wealth Funds 8 8,237
Endowments and Foundations 7 6,481
Insurance companies 9 8,298
Private - HNW/Family Office 5 5,399
Sub-Advisory - Mutual Funds 7 6,692
Fund of Funds 3 2,480
Unions 2 2,062
Oaktree Capital and Other 8 8,174
TOTAL 100 97,359
Assets by asset class
Type % US$
Corporate Debt - 35,755
Convertible Securities - 6,817
Distressed Debt - 25,941
Control Investing - 16,179
Real Estate - 9,091
Listed Equities - 3,576
TOTAL 100 97,359

Current investments

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See also


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  2. "Oaktree's global presence". Los Angeles: Oaktree Capital Management. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "About Oaktree". Los Angeles: Oaktree Capital Management. Retrieved 2010-05-12. Financial figures as of 31 March 2010.
  4. 1 2 Lattman, Peter (April 12, 2012). "Private Goldman Exchange Officially Closes for Business". Business Day: DealBook.
  5. Capitalcapital.com/about/investment-philosophy.aspx "Oaktree Capital's investment philosophy" Check |url= value (help). Los Angeles: Oaktree Capital Management. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  6. 1 2 "Oaktree Capital Management Group, LLC; Oaktree Capital Appoints Marna Whittington to Board of Directors". Investment Weekly News. July 21, 2012.
  7. Vincent, Roger (November 14, 2014) "Oaktree Capital agrees to expand offices in downtown Los Angeles" Los Angeles Times
  8. 1 2 Sender, Henry (November 12, 2011). "MF Global Reminds us we have much to learn from crisis". Financial Times.
  9. 1 2 Sender, Henry (November 12, 2011). "MF Global reminds us we have much to learn from the crisis". Financial Times.
  10. "Oaktree Capital Management Company". International Directory of Company Histories. Saint James Press. 2005.
  11. Thomas, Brad (June 4, 2012). "Why I Don't Currently Own Shares In REITs". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
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  13. Atlas, Riva (2001). "Company in Trouble? They're Waiting". New York Times.
  14. "Finance and Economics: The vultures take wing; Investing in distress". The Economist. March 31, 2007.
  15. 1 2 Arnold, Martin (May 17, 2008). "Oaktree Capital raises 11bn for distressed debt fund". Financial Times.
  16. Wee, Gillian (June 26, 2011). "Marks puts Oaktree Capital Management on path to IPO". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Oaktree Capital Group, LLC" 10-k form.
  18. Sender, Henry (May 10, 2007). "Oaktree Capital to Try A New Twist For Share Sale; Use of Goldman Market Avoids Regulations, Doesn't Cede Control". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  19. Cox, Rob (May 19, 2011). "A Balancing Act at Oaktree Capital Management". New York Times.
  20. Rundle, Rhona (March 16, 1995). "TCW's Junk-Bond Chief, Marks, Others, to Start Their Own Firm -- Departures Are Major Blow and Could be Followed by Client Defections". Wall Street Journal.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 Capitalcapital.com/about/Oaktree Capital-story.aspx "The Oaktree Capital Story" Check |url= value (help). Oaktree Capital. 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
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  26. Shieber, Jonathan (November 2011). "PPIP Brings Investors Narrow Opportunities, Nice Returns". The Private Equity Analyst.
  27. Protess, Ben (January 24, 2011). "Bad Asset Purchase Program Turning a Profit; DealBook". New York Times.
  28. Kouwe, Zachery (February 10, 2009). "Washington Hopes 'Vulture' Investors Will Buy Bad Assets". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  29. Paletta, Damian (July 9, 2009). "Treasury unveils a trimmed down PPIP - Nine fund managers picked for $30 billion program to buy toxic securities; Pimco backs out". Wall Street Journal.
  30. "Sabal Financial Group, L.P. Milestone Asset Resolution Company Expands with Investment from an Affiliate of Oaktree Capital Management, L.P". Real Estate Weekly. July 8, 2011.
  31. Casacchia, Chris (July 4, 2011). "Newport Firm in Deal with Oaktree Capital". Orange County Business Journal.
  32. Deng, Chao. "Oaktree Capital's Marks Says Investors Should Insist on 'Low Prices' in Europe". LBO Wire. July 3, 2012.
  33. Kreutzer, Laura (February 9, 2012). "Washington to Recommend $1B in Private Equity Commitments". LBO Wire.
  34. Kuo, Patricia (March 6, 2012). Capital-is-said-to-raise-4-billion-fund-to-buy-distressed-european-assets.html "Oaktree Is Said to Raise $4 Billion Fund to Buy Distressed European Assets" Check |url= value (help). Bloomberg. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  35. Davis, Levi (March 30, 2012). "SF Employees Considering Distressed Debt". Money Management Letter.
  36. Sender, Henry (May 10, 2007). "Oaktree Capital to try a new twist for share sale; use of Goldman market avoids regulations, doesn't cede control". Wall Street Journal.
  37. Sender, Henry (June 18, 2011). "Oaktree Capital Management files for $8bn NYSE listing". Financial Times.
  38. Lattman, Peter (April 12, 2012). "Private Goldman Exchange Officially Closes for Business". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  39. Sender, Henry (May 17, 2011). "Oaktree Capital Management sows seeds for listing on NYSE". Financial Times.
  40. Hausmann, Daniel (2010-04-23). "Carlyle's Flightplan: Betting On An Aviation Recovery". Private Equity Beat. Dow Jones. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
  41. "Investissement, mais coupe claire aux Verreries de l'Orne". L'Usine Nouvelle (in French). Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
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  44. CONNELLY, LAYLAN. "Quiksilver, free from bankruptcy, talks booze and boardshorts". Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  45. Fickling, David and Angus Whitley. "Billabong Sees Revival with Oaktree-Centerbridge Debt Plan." Bloomberg
  46. Nadgir, Santosh (2010-05-13). "Aleris reorganization plan confirmed by court (UPDATE 1)". Bangalore. Reuters. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
  47. "Almatis Group Files Pre-packaged Chapter 11 Cases to Implement Agreed Financial Restructuring" (Press release). Frankfurt: Almatis Group. 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
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Further reading

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