BNP Paribas Asset Management has created a private debt and real assets investment group.

It brings the asset manager’s teams for real estate debt and infrastructure lending together with its SME lending and structured finance teams.

BNP Paribas has combined investment teams for syndicated loans, direct loans, and private bonds that finance corporates or real assets.

The three teams involved are: real assets, SME lending and structured finance; global loans; and “SME Advanced Solutions”. 

The latter is a new team, headed by Fabrice Susini. It consists of an alternative pan-European SME lending platform. 

BNP Paribas AM, which rebranded from BNP Paribas Investment Partners just over a week ago, said the platform would enable it to offer clients access to scale in direct lending “by providing a powerful origination engine to ramp up SME loan funds”. 

The global loans team is headed by Vanessa Ritter, while the real assets, SME lending and structured finance team is headed by Laurent Guenier.

BNP Paribas has hired heads for all of these areas bar structured finance in the past three months. It hired Philippe Deloffre and Karen Azoulay as heads of real estate debt and infrastructure debt in March and April, respectively, while Christophe Carrasco joined as head of SME lending in May.  

The structured finance team is led by Stéphane Blanchoz.  

David Bouchoucha, who is leading the new private debt and real assets group, said: “Private debt and real assets are increasingly becoming an essential part of investors’ asset allocation, because they bring steady income and diversification of credit exposure.

“Within this area we aim to provide value to our clients through a unique ability to source assets by combining the BNP Paribas Group’s origination with innovative external origination channels; a robust process based on strong credit analysis, quantitative techniques, and ESG.”