May 17, 2019 / 1:02 PM / a year ago

Brookfield CEO counts on Oaktree's Marks to carry on investing

* Intends to keep Oaktree brand; not to be 100% owner

* Wants Marks to continue his investment work, memos

* Business is “quite complete”, no plan to buy more for now

* Asia-Pacific growing fast, to reach 25% of total long term

By Tomo Uetake and Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, May 17 (Reuters) - Brookfield Asset Management’s (BAM) chief executive wants Howard Marks, the veteran distressed debt guru and co-founder of Oaktree Capital, to continue his investment work, including his letters to clients, for years to come.

BAM announced that it will take a majority stake in Oaktree in March, with the surprise move sparking speculation that Brookfield’s chief executive Bruce Flatt could become an heir to Oaktree’s 73-year-old investing “legend”.

Known in investment circles for his “memos to Oaktree clients”, which he has been writing since the 1990s, Marks counts Warren Buffett as one of his most avid readers.

“We want Mr. Marks to keep doing what he does, we want him to keep writing his letters. He didn’t quite commit to 25 years but I told him 25 years would be helpful,” Flatt told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Tokyo.

Flatt said Toronto-based BAM, which agreed to buy a 62% stake in Los Angeles-headquartered Oaktree Capital for $4.8 billion to creating a rival to players like Blackstone , has no plans to buy other asset managers for now.

The Canadian financier also said he does not plan to increase BAM’s stake in Oaktree to 100%, although the deal allows it to do so after 2022.

“We weren’t interested in a 100% of the company because we wanted them to run the business and we wanted them to remain with the business to keep their stake. Our goal is to keep the Oaktree brand to continue those strategies within Oaktree and differentiate them in that way,” he said.

Brookfield is a leading global alternative asset management firm and has total assets of $365 billion under management in more than 30 countries, with a focus on real estate, renewable power, infrastructure and private equity.

Asked if there would be more acquisitions in the coming year, Flatt said “we have no intentions of doing more. Our business is quite complete for what we want to do.”

“But you never say never,” Flatt added.

Flatt flagged close investment philosophies at Oaktree and BAM, which he said was growing fast in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Our Asian business is modest compared to the total scale of our build today but will grow significantly in the next 10 years. Longer term, I think 25% of our business will be in Asia. Currently its about 10% for the Asia-Pacific,” he said. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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