The company is run by 76-year old financier Wilbur Ross, who recently appointed Greg Stoeckle and Stephen Toy as its new leaders. The stated target of $1-2 billion would follow on from the $640 million raised for a fund formed in 2012, as well as the $4 billion raised for its fourth fund, which began in 2007.
Wilbur Ross on succession plans
Following the appointment of Toy and Stoeckle in March, Ross will remain as chairman, as well as assuming the title of chief strategy officer. Stoeckle previously worked at Atlanta-based money manager Invesco Ltd. (NYSE:IVZ), which acquired WL Ross in 2006.
“With Stephen leading the investment side of our business and Greg in charge of all the other aspects, I will now have more time to devote to developing and implementing the macro strategies that have always been central to our portfolio decisions,” Ross stated.
Fund performance and the effects of low interest rates
According to a source, Wilbur Ross’s 2012 fund had a 24% net internal rate of return as of June 30, while the 2007 edition had a 9.9% net return rate.
The reported $1-2 billion that Ross will seek does not include separate accounts or side-by-side capital, the source continued. Invesco spokesman Bill Hensel refused to comment on the fundraising.
The fund announced its plans at a difficult time for distressed-debt focused funds, with historically low interest rates and low numbers of defaults. According to industry insiders the world’s largest distressed-debt investor, Oaktree Capital Group LLC (NYSE:OAK), is looking to raise $3 billion in funds, with an accompanying $7 billion reserve pool, which would be deployed in the event of a rise in defaults.
Wilbur Ross started WL Ross with $440 million in committed capital, after leaving his post as a restructuring adviser at global investment bank Rothschild Inc.. His funds have previously concentrated on distressed holdings in steel, coal, textiles and auto parts.
Wilbur Ross made it onto Forbes August 2014 list of the world’s billionaires, with a net worth of $2.9 billion.