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Barings sues Corinthia Global Management and pauses private credit investment

Investment manager Barings has filed a lawsuit against Corinthia Global Management and former employees Ian Fowler and Kelsey Tucker after the Nomura Holdings-backed private credit asset manager recruited over 20 employees from Barings in recent years, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The lawsuit alleges Fowler and Tucker misused confidential information for the recruitment of Barings employees to Corinthia, describing the lift as “one of the largest corporate raids at an asset manager in years”.

Fowler previously co-led the global private finance group at Barings until 8 March, while Tucker served as Global Head of Operations until his departure in January 2023.

As part of the case — in full, Barings LLC vs Ian Fowler, 24CV012798-590, Mecklenburg Superior Court in North Carolina — Barings aims to stop the poaching of more employees, seeks damages resulting from the team lift and to block the soliciting of its customers.

The report quotes a Barings spokesperson: “Barings has today commenced legal proceedings seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent them from continuing to target our clients and employees, and stop the ongoing misappropriation of our trade secrets and confidential information.

“This legal action has been taken as a result of the defendants’ blatant disregard of their fiduciary and contractual obligations, which goes against Barings’ codes of conduct and ethics.

“Barings will not sit idly by and allow the defendants’ misconduct to occur.”

In response, Barings has appointed Bryan High as Head of Global Private Finance; Eric Lloyd as Chairman of said division; Tyler Gately as Head of Private Credit in North America; and Stuart Mathieson as Head of Private Credit in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

As a result of the departures and during the transition to new leadership, Barings will pause new investments across certain private credit funds, according to another report by Bloomberg citing a client letter, which read: “In accordance with and as permitted by the fund documents, we will continue to call capital to pay down financing facilities, to honor previously committed or approved deals, add-ons or unfunded facilities, or for expenses.

“For our commingled private funds and our private segregated funds, regardless of whether a key person event has been triggered, we are pausing on making brand new investments while we continue the transition to new investment leadership. We will continue to fund existing commitments.”

While certain private credit funds are paused, the firm will still invest across vehicles including its business development company and other funds across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Corinthia officially launched last Thursday after hiring Barings employees from London and the US.

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