Mark Okada, Jack Yang and Trey Parker launched Sycamore Tree Capital Partners, an asset manager specializing in private and alternative credit.
Okada will serve as CEO, Yang will serve as president and head of business development, and Parker will serve as chief investment officer.
John Muse and Ken Hersh are strategic investors in the firm’s initial fund launches and also will serve on the management company advisory board to help shape long-term strategy.
Drawing on the founders’ experience across both traded and private markets, Sycamore Tree will meet the growing demand for institutional quality managers with multi-strategy credit capabilities. The firm’s initial strategies will include traded credit, structured products and special situations. Sycamore Tree’s launch is funded by its co-founders and the firm is headquartered in Dallas.
“Credit has become an integral part of asset allocation models in a sustained low growth and low rate environment. We’re building Sycamore Tree based on a foundation of our deep experience across multiple cycles and a culture of client focus, integrity, excellence and trust,” Okada, Yang and Parker said in a joint statement. “Given the unique challenges and opportunities that have emerged this year, now more than ever, experienced and reliable managers, who can navigate complexity, manage risk and identify value, are essential.”
Okada has more than 35 years of experience developing markets and products for investors around the world. He is a regular commentator on broadcast television, including Bloomberg and CNBC, regarding markets, fixed income and credit. Previously, Okada was co-founder and chief investment officer of Highland Capital Management, a multibillion-dollar alternative investment firm specializing in credit. He oversaw institutional and retail investment activities, including CLOs, SMAs, private equity, listed funds and ETFs.
Yang has more than 35 years of experience in alternative credit, having built businesses at both investment banks and asset management firms. He began his career at Chemical Bank, where he helped launch the LBO, syndicated finance and high-yield bond groups. He also founded the loan syndication business at Merrill Lynch and subsequently headed global leveraged finance. He was the managing partner at Highland Capital Management and Onex Credit Partners, where he developed and executed growth strategies for the firms’ investment and capital formation capabilities. Most recently, he was head of the Americas and global head of business development at Alcentra Group, where he helped more than double the firm’s AUM to approximately $40 billion over six years by focusing on private and alternative credit. He served as a director and vice chair of the Loan Syndications and Trading Association for 10 years.
Parker has more than 20 years of experience in leveraged finance and private equity investing. He has experience in loans, CLOs, high-yield bonds, multi-strategy credit, mezzanine debt and private equity across par and distressed markets. He began his career in sales and trading at First Union and Morgan Stanley and then was a mezzanine debt and private equity professional at BMO Merchant Banking. He subsequently joined the Hunt Special Situations Group, where he was involved with a range of control-oriented, distressed private equity investments. Prior to joining Sycamore Tree, he was a partner at Highland Capital Management. Over a 13-year tenure, he held leadership roles, including co-chief investment officer, head of private equity, head of credit and portfolio manager. Parker has served on numerous company boards across industries, bringing a combination of financial, operating, M&A and strategic expertise.
Hersh is an investor, advisor and philanthropist, and he currently serves as chairman of his family office, Hersh Family Investments, where he directs investment across industrial, service and entertainment businesses. He also serves as the president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a Dallas-based non-partisan institution, which houses the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. Hersh is the co-founder and former CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management, a private equity investment franchise in the natural resources industry managing more than $20 billion of cumulative committed capital since inception in 1988. Under Hersh’s leadership from 1988 through 2015, NGP invested more than $12 billion. Hersh is a senior advisor to The Carlyle Group’s natural resources division, and he sits on the boards of the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Citizens Council. In addition, Hersh serves on the board of overseers of the Hoover Institution, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute and the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School.
Muse has more than 25 years of experience as a private equity investor and industry veteran. Muse currently serves as the chair of the Lucchese Boot Company and Free Flow Wines, a packaging and logistics company serving the wine on tap segment. Muse co-founded HM Capital in 1989 and currently oversees his family office, Muse Family Enterprises. He is also on the board of directors of Nexstar Media Group and CSM Bakery Solutions. His has served on the board of visitors for the UCLA Anderson School of Management and has been a Fidelity Charitable Trustee since November 2014.