Narinder Bhatowa joined Mizuho in 2005 and is Head of Asset Management, IAFD. In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, Bhatowa has transformed the quality of Mizuho’s leverage portfolio and introduced a proactive portfolio management philosophy within his team.
“I joined Mizuho because of its established reputation as a top leveraged finance house” says Bhatowa, a veteran in the leveraged finance market.
With previous roles held at ING and Barclays, Bhatowa brings with him over two decades of experience and a clear mandate from the top – “we’re working hard to re-establish ourselves as a top player in this space.”
Founding Stratum Investments
In 2018 Bhatowa was responsible for founding Stratum Investments, Mizuho’s managed account platform that oversees seven funds and over €2billion of assets under management with plans to expand further.
The ability to leverage Mizuho’s reputation as a global financing powerhouse and commit capital on behalf of both Mizuho and Stratum Investments is an attractive proposition for our clients, Bhatowa explains. “We have the ability to invest in size in each leveraged finance deal - this benefits our underwriting business and is seen as one of our key differentiators by our Private Equity clients.”
“We have the ability to invest in size in each leveraged finance deal - this benefits our underwriting business and is seen as one of our key differentiators by our Private Equity clients.”
Head of Asset Management
Since inception, the Stratum platform has launched seven funds and seen great success. Speaking about their performance, Bhatowa comments, “we consistently perform in the top quartile for equity returns vs our cohort. We do this by capitalising on our deep, established relationships with Private Equity Sponsors, Arrangers and corporate clients, which allow us to see every deal in the market. Our strong credit focus then ensures we select the right assets for the funds.”
A long-term strategic partner
When asked about Stratum’s success to date, Bhatowa gives all credit to the disciplined and strong credit focus of his highly experienced team.
“Team stability and high retention rates are rare in our industry and it’s something I am very proud of.” he states. “People I hired shortly after I joined Mizuho in 2005 are still here today.”
The funds senior management team also has over 80 years leveraged finance market experience and a proven track record of investing in and managing leveraged credit through multiple market cycles.
“One of the key pillars of our value proposition is to build long-term, strategic relationships.”
Head of Asset Management
“Before they invest, our Stratum investors spend a lot of time assessing and focusing on the stability, experience and track record of the team. At the end of the day they are paying us to invest and manage their funds, so the strength of the team is of the utmost importance.”
“One of the key pillars of our value proposition is to build long-term, strategic relationships.” Bhatowa continues, “we build those relationships through trust and importantly through an alignment of interest; we invest alongside our investors, provide regular engagement and reporting, plus give them veto rights over each collateral obligation. We have repeat investors and so I think we have got this right.”
After recently generating a lot of interest in South Korea and exploring potential investor opportunities across the MENA region, Bhatowa is confident in the future growth of and interest in the fund.
“We are grateful for the strong institutional support to help grow the business, not just from senior management but also throughout the organisation from our Operations, Risk, Finance, and Global Markets teams”