DoubleLine Capital is starting the New Year with a pair of new hires from an old rival.

Brendt Stallings and Husam Nazer have joined the firm as portfolio managers and partners in DoubleLine Equity LP, a newly created affiliate of DoubleLine, as the firm expands its product line-up into equity investment strategies.

Stallings and Nazer were previously Group Managing Directors at TCW, where they managed $5 billion in broadly invested and sector focused funds. The two portfolio managers expect to hire at least five investment professionals this year, according to a statement from the firm.

Nazer said he and Stallings “will immediately begin building out the dedicated research team that our strategies demand.”

“The timing could not be better to launch a new equity investment platform,” Nazer said. “Equities have been disfavored relative to other asset classes for many years. It is for exactly this reason we and DoubleLine believe this is an opportune moment to launch DoubleLine Equity.”

DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach, who previously served as chief investment officer of TCW, said: “In my 24 years at TCW, I knew well the firm’s many equity groups and styles; Brendt and Husam stood out as the most talented and versatile of those investment teams. During several years of the most treacherous markets in generations, working with me as chief investment officer, they delivered returns of over 40% against a flat result for the S&P 500.”

Gundlach, who launched DoubleLine in December 2009 with more than 40 of his former colleagues, added that the firm will continue to “explore other complementary partnerships and acquisitions to diversify our business and serve our clients.”

DoubleLine currently manages more than $53 billion in asset allocation, bond and now stock strategies.

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