Marsha Roth remembers a time on Wall Street not so long ago when a woman who wanted work could only get a job as a typist.

One of the original 15 members of Angelo Gordon & Co., Roth is now a senior managing director and probably very wealthy.

She has seen the New York-based firm’s assets under management grow to US$22 billion from $135 million.

Angelo Gordon has about 40 per cent of its portfolio invested in real estate, another 40 per cent in credit and 20 per cent in other investment strategies.

“We’d love to expand” in Australia, says Roth, who has made seven trips “down under” since 2010.

In Australia Angelo Gordon has bought the securities of Centro Properties Group and Channel Nine.

“We’re looking for events and opportunities as a source of capital and deals. We hope for both,” says Roth.

Phillip Filippelis, the only Australian-based member of the firm, has brought his fellow managing director Daniel Pound to Sydney from London to talk to investors about investing in European credit.

Pound estimates European banks have 2.5 trillion euro in non-core loans he thinks they will sell. But it will not be “tidal wave of selling” as banks will not have the profits to be able to write off large amounts of non-performing loans.

Filippelis says there “is more appetite for credit” among investors amid disappointment with the performance of many Australian stock funds.

Roth brushes off the criticism of private equity as “asset strippers” and the partners in firms “greedy” who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Such criticism has become vocal in the wake of Bain Capital’s founder Mitt Romney’s run for the U.S. presidency.

“The American spirit is entrepreneurial,” says Roth. “I believe we should be paid for that. We work hard. We play hard.”

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