KKR’s Private Credit Unit Makes Hires in Bet on Asset-Based Debt

KKR & Co. boosted its private credit team with two hires as it looks to expand its footprint in asset-based financing.

The firm added Jim Lees and Vaibhav Piplapure as managing directors focusing on sourcing opportunities in specialty lending and asset-based finance, according to a Wednesday statement. Lees and Piplapure will be based in New York and London, respectively.

“We are energized by the growth and evolution of non-corporate private lending,” KKR’s co-head of private credit Dan Pietrzak said in the statement. The firm said it plans to continue to add senior resources to its team as it taps into the opportunity set in the asset-based finance market.

KKR previously said it sees room to run in the roughly $4.5 trillion private asset-based finance market, expected to grow to $6.9 trillion over the next five years. Firms including Ares Management Corp. and Marathon Asset Management have raised funds to provide financing to borrowers that struggle to secure funds from traditional sources of capital.

Lees, 55, joins KKR from Wells Fargo Securities, where he was a managing director in the asset-based finance business. Piplapure, 46, was most recently co-head of specialty finance at M&G Investments.

Since 2016, KKR has deployed more than $4 billion in asset-based finance investments globally. The firm’s credit business managed about $156 billion, including about $49 billion in its private-credit platform as of Dec. 31.

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