Allianz GI’s new €18bn alts head: 'Everything is on the table'

Allianz GI's Deborah Zurkow

Deborah Zurkow took over as head of the alternatives team at Allianz GI in June

In her first interview since assuming the role on June 1, Deborah Zurkow told Financial News that “everything is on the table” in terms of expansion options for the firm’s alternatives unit. In July, Andreas Utermann, Allianz Global Investors’ chief executive, said that the €521 billion German fund manager was looking to add to its liquid and non-public market capabilities.

Zurkow, who headed the firm’s infrastructure debt platform before taking on the alternatives role, said: “In private debt, we are actually very actively in discussions with some people, private debt is clearly a place [which] fits well into our DNA.

“On liquid alts it is hard to say, but we have a lot of very successful strategies that are meeting capacity, so there are two or three ways to look at it. The first is to extend and expand the existing strategies, two is to pivot off expertise into new strategies [and] for that maybe hire teams, and then opportunistically we will look at firms as well.”

She continued: “It could be a team lift-out, there is nothing to say we won’t make acquisitions. Clearly we made the Rogge acquisition [which completed in June] that was incredibly successful, so the [Allianz] group has said they are open to it. Everything is on the table.”

The acquisition of fixed income specialist Rogge Global Partners also helped grow Allianz Global Investors‘ UK presence.

Zurkow, who has previously been named as one of the most influential women in finance by Financial News, declined to comment on timings for such developments but indicated that the alternatives division could announce something before the end of the year.

In December 2014, Allianz Global Investors decided to bring its alternatives strategies under one roof, with assets under management having more than doubled from €7.9 billion since.

According to a report by Preqin earlier this month, funds invested in private equity, property and infrastructure have outperformed active equity managers over the past decade.

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