William Blair Investment Management announced Friday that it had hired a team of 12 senior investment professionals from Dutch manager NN Investment Partners to run the firm's first emerging market debt strategies.
The team will join William Blair in January, led by Marcelo Assalin, formerly head of emerging market debt at NN Investment Partners, and Marco Ruijer, formerly lead portfolio manager for EM debt hard currency and frontier market debt strategies, confirmed Tony Zimmer, a William Blair spokesman, in an email.
"William Blair was able to attract most of the (NN Investment Partners' emerging markets debt) team, including the lead portfolio managers," Mr. Zimmer said. Members of the firm's new emerging market debt team will work from offices in New York, London, Singapore and the Netherlands.
Mr. Zimmer said titles for Messrs. Assalin and Ruijer were not available, and he did not provide the names of the other former NN Investment Partners' staff who will join William Blair.
Mr. Assalin will report to Stephanie Braming, global head of William Blair Investment Management.
"Marcelo, Marco and the team have a well-documented track record of success (and will) enhance our global footprint and give William Blair a unique opportunity to broaden our successful emerging markets equity franchise to (include) fixed income," Ms. Braming said in a news release.
Mr. Assalin said in the news release that he is "delighted to be joining a firm that is client-focused, empowers its investment teams … where we will have investment autonomy and be able to incorporate sustainable factors in a holistic and tailored approach that's beneficial for clients."
William Blair managed $54.2 billion as of Sept. 30, of which $1 billion was managed in traditional fixed-income strategies.
Marlie J. Zuidgeest, a spokeswoman for NN Investment Partners, said in an email that the firm has appointed an interim team to manage the firm's €$10 billion ($11 billion) in emerging market debt strategies.
"We are confident that we have the right people in place to stabilize the performance and provide the required liquidity," Ms. Zuidgeest said.
Edith Siermann, NN Investment Partners' head of specialized fixed income and responsible investing, was named acting head of the emerging market debt team.
Joep Huntjens, head of Asian fixed income and lead portfolio manager of the firm's Asian debt hard currency strategy, was named interim lead portfolio manager for the emerging market corporate debt strategy.
Jaco Rouw, senior portfolio manager LDI and rates, is interim lead portfolio manager of the firm's emerging market debt local currency strategy. Sylvain de Ruijter, lead portfolio manager for LDI and rates, now also is interim lead portfolio manager for the firm's emerging markets debt local currency strategy, Ms. Zuidgeest said.
NN Investment partners decided to “further align” the investment strategies of its emerging market debt portfolios with its responsible investing beliefs, Ms. Zuigeest said in an email. As a result, Messrs. Assalin and Ruijer and other investment professionals from the firm’s emerging market debt team left the firm, she said.
NN Investment Partners manages a total of €287 billion.