Apollo veteran Josh Harris starts a $5 billion investment group

Josh Harris, the billionaire private equity manager who left Apollo Global Management last year after a chaotic succession battle, is returning to the investment industry with a firm that aims to be a competitor in the financial markets, including private equity, credit and… Insurance.

The company, dubbed 26North, will launch with $5 billion in assets under management and a team of 40 executives, according to a release Friday.

Among the newly announced employees is Mark Weinberg, a Brookfield Asset Management and Lehman Brothers veteran who will lead the firm’s private equity practice.

Brendan McGovern, who left Goldman Sachs earlier this year after senior positions in the credit department of the bank’s wealth management arm, will assume responsibility for 26North’s direct lending platform.

Harris spent most of his career at Apollo, the private equity firm founded in 1990 by billionaire financier Leon Black with a group of partners from failed investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert.

Since then, what began as a rocky investment partnership focused on distressed companies has grown into an institutional manager with $515 billion in assets, including a huge portfolio of corporate bonds.

Many of those investments are linked to Athene Holding, the pension company that Apollo founded in 2009 and with which it merged earlier this year.

Harris’ company will also manage assets for clients in the pension and insurance industries, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Black resigned as CEO of Apollo last year after a law firm hired by the private equity group concluded he had paid the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein $158 million in exchange for tax advice, art transaction assistance and other professional services.

The controversy sparked a succession battle in which Harris ultimately lost to his Apollo partner Marc Rowan. Black failed to convince a judge earlier this year that Harris conspired with a Russian model to publicize fabricated sexual abuse allegations that led to his departure as CEO of Apollo.

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