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Barings Hires Former Hedge Fund Manager to Head New Institutional Unit

Stewart Russell will help Barings expand its business with institutional investors globally.

Barings, an asset manager owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., has hired a former hedge fund manager to lead a new unit focused on institutional investors.

Stewart Russell, who previously worked at Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital Management, has joined the firm as head of institutional solutions, according to a statement Monday from Barings. Russell will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina and report to global markets head Michael Freno.

Barings, which had more than $325 billion of assets under management at the end of June, is seeking to expand its offerings to institutional investors globally. The firm invests in stocks, bonds, and structured credit, as well alternative areas such as private equity and direct lending.

“There is a significant opportunity to use the depth and breadth of Barings’ global investment platform across public and private asset classes to meet the unique investment needs of insurers, public and private pension funds and other institutional investors globally,” Russell said in the statement.

As part of its push, Barings said it also hired Ann Bryant from Reinsurance Group America to lead insurance solutions within the new institutional group. Bryant, also based in Charlotte, will report to Russell.

In the statement, Freno pointed to Bryant’s “deep insurance knowledge” and Russell’s expertise in portfolio construction across market cycles as adding value to its institutional clients globally. The firm has business and investment professionals in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

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Institutional investors have been flocking to alternative investments in private markets, helping to drive growth in the shadow banking market. Barings was the most active lender for U.S. buyouts last year, according to financial data provider PitchBook. In June, Barings said it closed its first fund focused on private equity and real assets, raising $943 million from institutional investors including pensions, insurers, sovereign wealth pools, family offices, and foundations.

“We are excited to welcome Stewart and Ann to the Barings team as we set out to build an institutional solutions business, strengthening our current partnerships with institutional investors globally,” Freno said in Monday’s statement.

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