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Highland Capital Management expands business development team

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Alternative investment manager Highland Capital Management has added two institutional business development professionals to its team – Laurie Whetstone as managing director, and Kieran Brennan as director.

The appointments have been made in anticipation of increased opportunities in distressed credit.
The firm currently operates stressed and distressed credit strategies within various portfolios across the platform. Highland established a dedicated distressed private equity fund during the last credit cycle, focusing on control-oriented investments in senior secured loans of companies in complex distressed situations. Capitalising on opportunities that arose from the aggressive issuance of non-investment grade debt in the years prior, and employing Highland’s turnaround and restructuring expertise, the fund has generated a MoC of 2.3x, ranking in the top quartile of distressed funds of a similar vintage.
“Given the size of the high yield credit market today, even minor disruptions could create considerable opportunities in the distressed space, which is one of Highland’s biggest strengths,” says Trey Parker (pictured), Highland’s co-chief investment officer. “The expanded team will connect us to the investors and allocators who understand this dynamic and recognise the need to position capital in anticipation of this opportunity.”
Whetstone joins Highland from Bernstein Private Wealth Management, an integrated investment arm of AllianceBernstein. She brings to the role nearly two decades of experience as a trusted advisor to institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Additionally, Whetstone offers unique perspective on the needs of allocators, having served on the Affiliate Committee of the State Association of California County Retirement Systems (SACRS).
“The opportunity to join Highland came at an ideal time,” says Whetstone, who is based in San Francisco. “With the vast expansion of debt markets post-crisis, we are entering an environment where Highland’s deep credit and workout expertise will be invaluable.”
Prior to her career in the asset management industry, Whetstone served in the United States Army. During her three years of service, she earned numerous awards, including the Army Achievement Medal. She received a Bachelor of Science in applied economics from the University of San Francisco.
Whetstone is a long-standing member of both the Financial Women’s Association of San Francisco and 100 Women in Finance.
Brennan joins Highland as a director in the firm’s New York office. He comes to Highland from Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group where he served as vice president on the US institutional sales team of the Canadian-based asset manager. Brennan started his career in the institutional sales and marketing group at First Eagle Investment Management. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and English from Williams College. 

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