Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE: ARES), founded in 1997 and headquartered in Los Angeles, is a publicly traded asset management firm with a focus on alternative investments. The company invests in three principal areas: credit, private equity and real estate. Ares offers asset management services globally, and in addition to its Los Angeles headquarters, has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and several other cities worldwide. As of the end of 2015, the company has more than $90 billion in total assets under management (AUM). Ares serves primarily large institutional investors, including pension funds, financial services firms, endowments and sovereign wealth funds.
The firm was co-founded by investment professionals Michael Arougheti, John Kissick, David Kaplan and Bennett Rosenthal. Ares raised its initial dedicated private equity fund in 2003, and in 2004, it launched the specialty corporate finance firm Ares Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: ARCC), which, as of September 2015, is the largest single business development corporation as measured by assets and market capitalization.
Investing at Ares Management
The investment philosophy at Ares Management is founded on the belief that the company's multi-asset investing provides it with an edge in generating maximum returns on invested capital. The firm's investment professionals focus on taking advantage of cyclical market trends to deliver superior risk-adjusted returns. Ares looks for high-quality business and real estate assets where there are well-structured investment opportunities. The credit group pursues investment opportunities in both liquid and illiquid credit, including high-yield bonds and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). The private equity funds at Ares seek out opportunities to invest in undervalued companies with strong management teams and superior growth potential throughout North America, Europe and China, and it has an average investment horizon of five to seven years. Ares also has four private equity funds focused on the U.S. energy market sector. The real estate group provides both debt and equity financing.
Professionals at Ares Management
The key executive and investment leadership personnel at Ares Management are supported by approximately 870 employees worldwide, including professional analysts and client relations staff in each area of the company's investment expertise.
Michael Arougheti, one of the co-founders of the firm, serves as president of Ares Management. He is a member of the management committee, a partner in the company's credit group and co-chairman of Ares Capital Corporation. Before working at Ares, Arougheti already had several years of financial services experience, having been employed in the mergers and acquisitions (M&As) department of Kidder, Peabody & Company and worked as a managing partner of the Principal Finance Group at RBC Capital Partners. Arougheti, who earned a bachelor's in ethics, politics and economics from Yale University, is a board member of Investor Group Services, and of Operation Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to opening economic opportunities in underdeveloped communities.
David Kaplan, another co-founder of the firm, is a partner at Ares, a member of the management committee and co-head of the private equity group. Prior to serving at Ares, Kaplan was a senior principal of Shelter Capital Partners LLC, a position he accepted after a 10-year stint as a senior partner of Apollo Global Management, LLC (NYSE: APO). Kaplan's other prior experience includes employment in the investment banking department of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. Publicly, Kaplan serves on the board of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and is a member of the President’s Advisory Group of the University of Michigan, where he graduated with a degree in business administration with a concentration in finance.
Bill Benjamin, who earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, is a firm partner, member of the management committee and the head of the real estate group at Ares. Benjamin came to Ares in 2013 after working for 18 years as a senior partner at AREA Property Partners until Ares acquired the company. He was previously employed as a principal at Bankers Trust Corp.
Victoria Aparece, who holds an MBA from Columbia University, is the vice president and relationship manager for the company's North America operations. Before coming to Ares in 2016, Aparece worked as an executive director for the entertainment industries group at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM). She had previously worked as analyst for the Syndicated and Leveraged Finance Group and as a vice president of the Equity Capital Markets department at JPMorgan, with a specialty focus on the health care sector.
Mark Affolter, holder of a bachelor's in economics from Washington University, came aboard at Ares Management in 2008, and he is now a partner in the credit group. Affolter is specifically focused on U.S. direct lending investments. He also serves as an investment advisor at Ares Capital Corporation. Affolter's prior work experience includes various executive roles at CIT Group, Inc. (NYSE: CIT), General Electric (NYSE: GE), LaSalle Bank and Heller Financial, Inc., where he specialized in mezzanine financing and syndication loans.