A significant portion of the alternative investments sourced and to be sourced by access for investment by our investors are in discrete asset classes that have bespoke natures. We have identified the following asset classes that we believe possess uniquely attractive opportunities for our investors:
- The Transportation Sector
- Commercial Aircraft
- Surface Transportation (trucks, containers, etc.)
- The Real Estate Sector
- Infrastructure Sector (cellphone towers, toll roads, etc.)
- Life Sciences
- Sports and Entertainment
Whether it is aircraft, cellphone towers, railcars, or maritime vessels, each of these asset classes is of a specialized character. Not only are these asset classes of a unique nature in terms of construction, operation, and usage, they operate in industries where there is a somewhat closed circle of players (investors as well as business operators) who are active. In order for us to participate in these sectors in the most profitable and effective manner, access has teamed up with best-in-class industry partners that specialize in their respective industry verticals and, in some cases, specific asset classes within those verticals.
We call them our Vertical Partners. These partners are industry experts in their particular fields and, typically, are active participants in their respective industries (trading and managing assets for their own account and/or on behalf of others). Teaming up with these experts, then, gives access a decided edge in the related industry. Our Vertical Partners perform what we see as seven roles for us:
- The Vertical Partner finds and initially vets for us (together with our own in-house experts) sound, well-structured and suitable transactions to offer our investors. As an active participant in their respective fields, they are in a prime position to see the vast majority of transactions in the market.
- Once a transaction has been approved by access’ Investment Committee and successfully placed on the access Platform, this industry expert acts as servicer for that transaction. As servicer, the Vertical Partner will monitor compliance by the related lessee/obligor of its obligations.
- The Vertical Partner, as an active industry participant, advises access on industry trends and developments. Based on this advice, access may decide to reevaluate its strategy and act accordingly. For example, if the Vertical Partner senses, say, a downturn in its industry, access may determine to exit the asset ahead of the forecasted downturn.
- The Vertical Partner will advise access in making end-of-transaction disposition decisions (for example, whether to sell the asset, or re-lease the asset and, if a re-lease, whether to lease the asset to the current lessee or a different lessee).
- The Vertical Partner will assist access with the process of taking an asset back from its lessee at the end of a lease term, including managing end-of-lease compensation issues and helping to ensure that an asset meets the return conditions.
- The Vertical Partner will be tasked with selling or re-leasing the asset by marketing the asset to potential buyers or operators.
- The Vertical Partner will assist access with the operators of the relevant assets if an operator defaults on its obligations or requires a “work-out”. As well, the Vertical partner will facilitate repossession of an asset should that be the desired remedy in a default situation.
As an example, access has two Vertical Partners in the commercial aircraft sector, and each has been delegated the portion of that sector in which they have the greatest strengths:
- AAR CORP., (“AAR”) is the access vertical partner and servicer for (i) 12+ year old and end-of-life fixed-wing commercial aircraft; (ii) fixed-wing commercial aircraft and engines acquired for part-out or disassembly; and (iii) stand-alone aircraft engines acquired on lease or for leasing. AAR (NYSE: AIR) is a global aerospace and defense aftermarket solutions company with approximately 4,500 employees in 60+ locations around the world. Founded in 1955 and headquartered in the Chicago area, AAR is the largest independent maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) provider in North America and among the top three globally.
- Certain affiliates of SkyWorks Holdings, LLC (collectively, “SkyWorks”) act as the vertical partner and servicer for access with respect to commercial aircraft (and associated leases) under 12 years of age at the time the aircraft is placed on the access platform. SkyWorks provides both investment banking & advisory services and leasing & asset management services exclusively to the aviation industry. SkyWorks has performed services encompassing over 10% of the global commercial jet fleet. SkyWorks’ client base includes commercial airlines, aircraft owners, and other investors in aviation. Established in 2002 and headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, SkyWorks operates globally with offices in Dublin and Singapore, and with senior team members located in other regions around the world.
Having Vertical Partners, is an important and unique feature of the access investment model, enabling us to offer institutional-quality investments to our investor base.