Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ex-bankers launch new property venture

Trio of ex-Morgan Stanley veterans set up GreenOak Real Estate

(LONDON) Three of the world's most accomplished real estate bankers John Carrafiell, Sonny Kalsi and Fred Schmidt have launched a new investment and advisory firm as the pace of restructuring in the property sector ramps up.

The trio of ex-Morgan Stanley veterans has set up GreenOak Real Estate ahead of an expected surge in distressed loan disposals, asset firesales and mortgage-backed security (MBS) workouts in its core target markets of Europe, Japan and the United States.

GreenOak has secured US$110 million of seed capital, comprising a US$10 million working capital loan and a US$100 million co-investment commitment from Amsterdam-listed investment company Tetragon Financial Group Limited, the closed-ended investor said in a statement yesterday.

Tetragon's investment will fund a limited fixed percentage amount of any GreenOak investment deal and will take a 10 per cent equity stake in GreenOak under terms of the arrangement.

Entities linked to Tetragon, including Polygon Management LP, are considering additional infusions of capital into GreenOak in the future, the Tetragon statement said.

'We think there are significant opportunities in the real estate market, including widespread distressed opportunities, and gaining further exposure to this asset class especially at attractive fee levels is very appealing,' Paddy Dear, a director of TFG and Principal of Polygon Credit Management LP, TFG's investment manager said.

GreenOak is initially likely to focus on securing advisory mandates in complex property restructuring cases across Europe and make an immediate play for distressed physical real estate and mortgage buys in Japan as a principal investor, market sources said.

It will pursue both strategies in the US from the outset, the sources added.

Mr Carrafiell stepped down as joint global head of Morgan Stanley's real estate group in December 2008, setting up his own advisory firm, Alpha Real Estate Advisors.

Mr Kalsi, who replaced Mr Carrafiell, and Mr Schmidt, who headed up the bank's Japanese property operations, left the bank in October 2009 and February 2010 respectively. -- Reuters

Source: Business Times, 3 Aug 2010

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