Scotia Global Asset Management (Scotia GAM), the wealth management arm of the Bank of Nova Scotia, is reportedly launching a private assets unit.

Scotia GAM head Neal Kerr in an interview to Bloomberg said that the unit will roll out its first private debt fund by year-end.

The fund, which will be developed in partnership with external debt managers, will focus on mid-market companies in the US and Canada.

It intends to land around 200 to 300 basis points in premium that these riskier and illiquid assets are expected to pay, unlike publicly traded fixed income.

“We’d be happy if this got to hundreds of millions of dollars over time,” Kerr has been quoted by the news agency as saying.

He noted that most of Scotia GAM’s investments are currently in public markets with less than 1% of total making up private assets.

According to Kerr, the unit will focus on developing a suite of products, including private equity and real estate.

“What we do next will really depend on the needs of our primary investor population, but real estate is an obvious opportunity,” he said.

Recently, Jarislowsky Fraser, a subsidiary of Scotia GAM, partnered with Boston-based private equity firm HarbourVest Partners to gain access to private markets.

Last November, Scotia GAM strengthened its funds range with the introduction of a new suite that was targeted at clients seeking investment offerings with low carbon intensity.

In June this year, British fund manager Schroders combined its specialist private assets investment capabilities under its new Schroders Capital brand to improve client service.