Mariner Investment Group, an $8.6 billion alternative investment firm in New York, has hired Curtis Arledge to serve as its chairman and chief executive officer and to head up the asset management platform of ORIX USA, Mariner’s majority shareholder.
As such, one of Arledge’s roles will be to tap ORIX USA’s internal pipeline of investment teams — and its origination capital — to develop new business lines for Mariner. This will be an expansion of earlier efforts along these lines, specifically Mariner’s launch of a collateralized loan obligation business launched approximately four years ago, when Mariner hired the 13-member corporate credit team out of ORIX USA and opened up the team’s strategies to external capital.
The move is something of a homecoming for Arledge, who worked at Mariner from 1993 to 1996. After his departure, Arledge maintained a personal and professional relationship with Bill Michaelcheck, Mariner’s long-serving chief investment officer.
“We’ve stayed in touch continuously for the past 26 years, and while I took on other roles at large companies, I was always very attracted to what Mariner was doing with its clients, which was focusing on risk-adjusted returns in the marketplace,” said Arledge in a phone interview.
Arledge most recently worked as senior research associate with the Forum for Growth & Innovation at Harvard Business School. Before that, he served as CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management and led the firm’s markets group. He was previously chief investment officer for fundamental fixed income portfolios at BlackRock.
“It’s very exciting for Mariner that Curtis has joined us,” said Michaelcheck. “Curtis worked here at Mariner several years ago. He and I have remained close friends since that time, and he’s gone on to have a very significant career in finance and asset management, particularly in fixed income, which is where Mariner focuses.”
Michaelcheck will continue as Mariner’s chief investment officer and will continue running the firm’s multistrategy hedge fund. That fund has continued a recent strong run of performance, returning 4 percent year to date after a nearly 10 percent gain in 2018, according to people familiar with its performance.
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Arledge and Michaelcheck said Mariner is expecting to launch new products that will cater to institutional investors with increasing appetites for alternative investment products as the economic factors that propelled passive investment strategies recede.
“The simple index trading of fixed income or equities has been attractive over the years — we think that’s shifting,” said Michaelcheck. “Most people have been overweighted with directional beta, and most are now concluding that it’s time to reduce that exposure and have more diversifying strategies. That is the conversation we are having with many institutional investors right now.”
ORIX USA and its subsidiaries control $64 billion in assets. The company, which acquired a majority interest in Mariner in 2010, is a subsidiary of ORIX Corp., a Tokyo-headquartered financial services company that is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.