Next we established business platforms in Europe and Asia to better pursue the attractive opportunities in the fast-growing global markets. Our approach was to recruit world-class, experienced teams of local investors and operators and couple them with experienced executives from other KKR offices to ensure our best-in-class approach was consistent on a global basis.
Beginning in 2004, we also enhanced our investment flexibility to better meet the needs of our corporate and investment partners. Our ability to source opportunities throughout the world had already emerged as a key differentiator for KKR, and oftentimes over the years we would develop relationships with management teams who would approach us with unique and proprietary investment opportunities. These were companies and industries we knew well, and in which we would be comfortable investing. Yet, many of these companies were not well-suited for a traditional private equity transaction. More flexible capital resources would allow us to partner with these companies, while also providing our investment partners an opportunity with a different risk and return profile than private equity.
Thus, we began to actively pursue debt investments as a separate asset class. This started with the formation of KKR Financial Holdings LLC, a publicly traded specialty finance company. Through the management and operation of KKR Asset Management (KAM), a wholly owned subsidiary of KKR and the external manager for KKR Financial Holdings LLC, we built a strong foundation to grow our increasingly diverse debt operations and to eventually enter into new asset classes.
The formation of our Capital Markets business in 2007 was driven by the needs of our corporate partners. Recognizing the importance of obtaining the best financing terms for our investments, the need to constantly monitor and optimize their capital structures, and the need to carefully approach IPOs as an important tool for realizing value in our investments, we established an internal team to help KKR, our portfolio companies, and our investment partners better navigate the global capital markets. This team applies expertise in a range of capital solutions including arranging debt and equity financing for transactions, placing and underwriting securities offerings, structuring new investment products, and providing capital markets services.
As part of our strategy to continue enhancing our private markets business, we developed an Energy and Infrastructure platform as well as a Natural Resources platform to facilitate our ability to invest behind significant macro-industry trends. We see enormous opportunity in finding and extracting energy resources and building the necessary infrastructure to link them to the places they will be used. To capitalize on this opportunity, we have expanded our team to include professionals with deep industry expertise and experience managing investments in complex and technical areas.
Finally, we also pursued a public listing as an important part of the firm’s evolution. Since July 15, 2010, the common units of KKR & Co. L.P. have traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “KKR.” Having publicly traded shares allows us to attract and retain the best talent and consider a broader set of the most attractive investment and business growth opportunities. Additionally, all of our employees hold equity in KKR, further reinforcing our belief in the importance of aligning our own interests with those of our investment partners.