Private Equity and Credit

We offer clients access to senior and junior private credit, fund investing, equity co-investments, and secondaries with a focus on the North American and Asian private equity markets, where we’ve built a competitive advantage in deal sourcing and underwriting. Our team has been co-investing alongside private equity sponsors since 2006 with a consistent strategy, allowing us to build broad market and transactional knowledge and maintain robust sponsor coverage. We’ve raised six mezzanine funds for institutional investor clients and Manulife since 1998 and raised our first equity co-investment fund in 2016. Investment teams formerly operating independently under Hancock Capital Management and Manulife Capital in the United States and Canada, respectively, combined in 2019, broadening Manulife Investment Management’s private equity and credit team’s depth, reach, and capabilities.

 

Philosophy

Our integrated approach consists of senior and junior debt financing, and equity co-investments. In addition, we commit capital to private equity managers with proven track records, managing these investments on a coordinated basis with a common focus on the North American and Asian middle markets.

Our investment strategy targets companies with meaningful market share, strong free cash flow characteristics, and attractive acquisition opportunities. We look for businesses that can maintain operational and financial flexibility through economic cycles, and sponsors with strong operational expertise and proven track records that are well positioned to add value.

Managed by

Vipon Ghai, CPA, CMA, CFA

Global Head of Private Equity and Credit

Vipon is responsible for a portfolio and team that oversees global private equity, mezzanine, and private credit investments. ​He joined the firm in 2002 and has more than two decades of experience in private equity, four years in corporate and investment banking, and three years of operational experience. He has served as a board director on several public and private companies in the United States and Canada, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Management Accountant, and Certified Public Accountant designations.

  • Education: B.B.A., Wilfrid Laurier University 
  • Joined the company: 2002
  • Began career: 1991
Vipon Ghai, CPA, CMA, CFA

Dan Budde, CFA, FRM

Senior Managing Director, Private Equity Funds

Dan is responsible for coordinating Manulife Investment Management’s private equity fund investment program and for sourcing, evaluating, negotiating, and monitoring private equity fund investments. He joined Hancock Capital Management, now operating as Manulife Investment Management, in 2005. He was previously a partner with ABRY Partners, where he was responsible for the investment activities of ABRY Mezzanine Partners. Prior to joining ABRY in 2001, he was a managing director and a member of John Hancock’s North American corporate finance group, where he spent 11 years focused on investments in the media, communications, and entertainment industries. He currently serves as limited partner advisory committee member for several private equity funds, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and Financial Risk Manager designations.

  • Education: B.A. in Economics, New Hampshire University; M.B.A., Babson College
  • Joined the company: 1989; rejoined in 2005
  • Began career: 1984
Dan Budde, CFA, FRM

Scott Garfield

Senior Managing Director, Private Equity and Credit

Scott has overall responsibility for Hancock Capital Management (HCM), which provides senior debt and junior capital to support the business objectives of experienced management teams and shareholders, and also manages HCM’s equity co-investment activities. Prior to joining the firm in 2002, he was a partner of FinanStar Group, a boutique investment bank. His background also includes numerous merger-and-acquisition assignments and corporate finance transactions while serving in Wachovia’s Capital Markets Group. 

  • Education: B.A. in Economics, Williams College; M.B.A., Duke University
  • Joined the company: 2015
  • Began career: 1988
Scott Garfield

Jeff Hammer

Global Co-Head of Secondaries

Jeff joined Manulife Investment Management in 2019 as global co-head of secondaries. Previously, he was co-head of Houlihan Lokey’s illiquid financial assets practice, a unit he co-founded and built into the leading investment banking group focused on customized transactions for holders of illiquid securities. Prior to that role, Jeff was a senior managing director at Bear Stearns, where he founded, built, and co-led Private Equity Advisors, the private equity fund-of-funds and secondary investing unit of Bear Stearns Asset Management. Earlier, he co-founded BDC Financial, a firm that provided customized private equity investment management and advisory services to institutional and high-net-worth investors. Earlier in his career, he held investment banking positions at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

  • Education: A.B. in Politics, Princeton University; M.B.A., Harvard University
  • Joined the company: 2019
  • Began career: 1985
Jeff Hammer

Joshua A. Liebow, CFA

Co-Head of Junior Credit

Josh co-leads Manulife Investment Management’s junior credit business, which focuses on providing subordinated and second-lien debt and structured equity solutions to private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies. He joined Hancock Capital Management—now operating as Manulife Investment Management—in 2004 and the firm’s private equity and credit group in 2007. He spent the first three years of his career on John Hancock’s North American corporate finance transportation team. Josh holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

  • Education: B.A., Business Administration, Babson College
  • Joined the company: 2004
  • Began career: 2004
Joshua A. Liebow, CFA

Devon Russell

Senior Managing Director, Senior Loans

Devon is responsible for managing the senior credit business of Manulife Investment Management. Prior to joining the firm in 2016, when it operated as Hancock Capital Management, he spent 12 years at Madison Capital Funding. At Madison Capital, he served as a leader and member of the executive and investment committees and was responsible for strategic and capital market activities including loan syndications, third-party asset management, and joint ventures for the firm’s mezzanine and unitranche credit products. Prior to joining Madison Capital, Devon spent 9 years at Banc of America Securities, where he served as a senior structurer in the sponsor leveraged finance group and a loan syndications structurer supporting the middle market group and the media/telecommunications group.

  • Education: B.A. in Economics and Political Science, Indiana University; M.B.A., Indiana University
  • Joined the company: 2016
  • Began career: 1994
Devon Russell

Paul Sanabria

Global Co-Head of Secondaries

Previously, he was co-head of Houlihan Lokey’s illiquid financial assets practice, a unit he co-founded and built into the leading investment group focused on customized transactions for holders of illiquid securities. Prior to that role, he was a senior managing director at Bear Stearns, where he acquired and led the private funds group responsible for originating new third-party fundraising mandates. In addition, he founded and co-led the private equity fund and secondary investing unit. Earlier, he co-founded BDC Financial, a firm that provided customized private equity investment management and advisory services to institutional and high-net-worth investors.

  • Education: B.S. in Engineering, California State University-Sacramento; M.B.A., Harvard University
  • Joined the company: 2019
  • Began career: 1985
Paul Sanabria

Matt Szwarc

Co-Head of Junior Credit

Matt co-leads Manulife Investment Management’s junior credit business, which focuses on providing subordinated and second-lien debt and structured equity solutions to private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies. He joined Hancock Capital Management—now operating as Manulife Investment Management—in 2013. Previously, he was vice president at Pomona Capital, where he focused on private equity secondary and co-investment opportunities. Earlier in his career, Matt held investment positions at AlpInvest Partners and Prudential Capital Group.

  • Education: B.S., Finance and Accounting, Boston College; M.B.A., Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • Joined the company: 2013
  • Began career: 2003
Matt Szwarc

Key facts

  • Inception date

    1998

  • Strategy AUM (USD)

    $10.3B

  • Category

    Private markets

  • ESG

    Evaluation of sustainable investing practices of general partners in our fund of funds

All AUM figures (fair value or net asset value) are in U.S. dollars. All data is as of March 31, 2021, unless otherwise indicated. AUM and investment professionals figures represent North American Corporate Finance and Manulife Investment Management's Private Equity and Credit team. Data includes North American assets managed by Manulife Investment Management and its affiliates on behalf of Manulife’s Canadian and U.S. General Accounts and also certain third-party investors. AUM does not include unfunded commitments; figures can include committed capital. Not all portfolio managers are depicted. U.S. private equity and private credit opportunities are offered to U.S. institutional investors and certain affiliate accounts through Manulife Investment Management Private Markets (US) LLC (“Manulife IM PM (US)”), a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registered investment adviser and subsidiary of Manufacturers Investment Corporation. Manulife IM PM (US)’s North American Corporate Finance and Private Equity and Credit Group manages $3.6B on a discretionary basis and $1.8B on a nondiscretionary basis, as of March 31, 2020. The evaluation of sustainable investing practices of general partners is part of the firm’s investment process for new originations of primary private equity fund-of-fund investments.


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