Gaw's former North America head moves to Owl Rock

Tim Walsh was tapped for new role, formed with mandate to seek out LPs for large separate accounts.

The former North America head of Gaw Capital Partners has moved to Owl Rock Capital Partners, PERE's sister publication, Private Debt Investor, reported Tuesday.

Owl Rock hired former New Jersey investment director Tim Walsh as its head of strategic partnerships. The firm declined to comment on his appointment.

Walsh had left the New Jersey Division of Investment (NJ DoI) in 2013 to head up the North America business for Gaw, the Hong Kong-headquartered real estate investment firm. He left the firm at the end of last year and has been working as an external investment advisor to the Alaska Permanent Fund since February 2016. Walsh is retaining that role while working at Owl Rock, PDI understands.

Before New Jersey, Walsh was the chief investment officer for the Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund. That pension fund and the Indiana Public Employees Retirement System have since been combined into one $30 billion Indiana Public Retirement System.

Pension funds and other large institutional investors often line up “strategic partnerships” with investment managers for large broad mandates that can invest across the firm’s strategies and funds in exchange for more LP-friendly terms and fees.

New York-based Owl Rock has already lined up one such partnership with the $71.9 billion New Jersey pension fund, where Walsh worked as director of investments between 2010 and 2013. The Garden State pension fund is investing $600 million in Owl Rock’s BDC and a co-investment vehicle with very low fees, as PDI reported earlier this month. New Jersey’s current director of investment, Chris McDonough, declined to elaborate on the Owl Rock mandate aside from what was posted in the pension fund’s meeting materials.

While it’s unusual for public pension funds to invest in BDCs, New Jersey has invested in the TPG Specialty Lending (TSLX) BDC when it was still private and in the TCW Direct Lending Fund, which could later become a public BDC.

The pension fund has also invested large amounts of money with several investment managers in the form of strategic partnerships in exchange for preferential fees and terms. Over recent years, those included mandates with Blackstone, Cerberus, Och-Ziff and TPG, among others.

Owl Rock is the private debt firm formed earlier this year by one of GSO’s co-founders, Doug Ostrover, and KKR’s former head of energy and infrastructure, Marc Lipschultz. The duo are currently raising money for a non-traded BDC, as well as co-investments and separate accounts. The firm expects to have $3 billion to $5 billion in assets, including leverage, soon, according to New Jersey’s documents. Owl Rock gathered $1.7 billion in equity commitments so far, per a Form D filed with the SEC last week.