Armen Panossian – Oaktree’s approach to navigating distressed credit

06 May 2024

In this episode David interviews Armen Panossian, co-CEO and head of Performing Credit at Oaktree Capital Management, known for its successful management of distressed debt. Armen outlines his background in finance and his journey at Oaktree since joining the firm in 2007. He discusses Oaktree’s foundation in 1995, its investment philosophy emphasising risk control, and its focus on credit investment. Oaktree primarily manages portfolios in opportunistic credit, aiming for mid-teen returns with robust risk management strategies.

The conversation also highlights the differences between performing and non-performing credit, with the former involving financially stable borrowers and the latter involving distressed entities that may offer enhanced returns. Despite current economic stability, Armen highlights a significant need for tailored capital solutions, especially in sectors like real estate and healthcare. He concludes by discussing potential economic shifts and the importance of prudent investment strategies to navigate uncertain financial landscapes.

Armen Panossian serves as co-Chief Executive Officer, primarily focused on overseeing the organisation and performance of Oaktree’s investment teams.  He is also Head of Performing Credit, where his responsibilities include oversight of the firm’s liquid and private credit strategies and as a portfolio manager within the Global Private Debt and Global Credit strategies.  Mr. Panossian joined Oaktree’s Global Opportunities group in 2007.  In January 2014, he joined the U.S. Senior Loans team to assume co-portfolio management responsibilities and lead the development of Oaktree’s CLO business.  He became head of all performing credit in 2019.  Mr. Panossian joined Oaktree from Pequot Capital Management, where he worked on their distressed debt strategy.  Mr. Panossian holds a B.A. degree in economics with honors and distinction from Stanford University; an M.S. degree in health services research from Stanford Medical School; a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School; and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.  Mr. Panossian serves on the Advisory Board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.  He is a member of the State Bar of California.

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