Transatlantic capital

13th March 2017

Placement agents continue to expand their services to better integrate with clients and the market: Sound like someone we know? By Robin Marriott

The European placement agent industry became fractured after 2008 and although it still remains somewhat fragmented, we are slowly but surely observing this segment of the private equity real estate industry taking shape.  

Though there are many firms claiming to operate, in truth we only see a handful of viable businesses that are managing to operate successfully against headwinds such as AIFMD and the majority of capital flowing to a minority of managers. 

We note at least three ways in which such placement agents have shaped their businesses in order to mirror both their clients and the market (and indeed Langham Hall has also accomplished all three): 

  1. They have chosen to broaden their services by working for a wider spectrum of clients including operating partners and developers and are also offering additional services such as sourcing equity for single asset transactions, programmatic investing, as well as debt advisory, m&a, secondaries and even principal investing. 
  2. In some cases, placement agents are relying on becoming multi-asset class by raising funds for debt, infrastructure, private equity and real estate groups. 
  3. They have opened offices and made hires to expand their global footprint. 

Following on from the third point, we note two recent examples of this, CBRE Capital Advisors have hired Aikta Jain from Lazard to join its New York team which marks the first time CBRE’s equity placement group have appointed a dedicated European real estate specialist in the Big Apple that can educate and converse with US investors about specific European markets and opportunities. In another example, Shelter Rock Capital Advisors have hired Dominic Field to spearhead Europe and are said to be close to its first deal. Shelter Rock’s aim is to increase bandwidth to help import European capital for its US mandates as well as launch European mandates.

Similar to Langham Hall, who opened a New York officelast year; these groups are playing into the long term trend of transatlantic movement of capital by having experts on both sides of the pond. We see this movement ourselves reflected in our depositary work as North American clients look to certain European countries such as Germany and Denmark to help diversify their investor base.   

The transatlantic trend can also be seen from statistical evidence. INREV’s 2017 Investment Intentions Survey revealed in January that North American investors are expected to double allocations to Europe this year from 8.3% to 16.3% while allocations by European investors to the US are also expected to rise from 11.1% to 22.3%. It is therefore no wonder that managers are looking to operate in a more transatlantic fashion. 

When Langham Hall speak to such groups we often hear how they want trusted, specialist, global advisors to help them remain nimble in an uncertain and fast-changing environment.  

This is particularly the case today due to the extreme level of uncertainly whereby managers are not only contending with issues such as Brexit but now Donald Trump. The Leader of the Free World was recently described by Thomas Friedman, the three time Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times columnist, as a “chaos candidate” that could herald a “chaos Presidency”. 

One can only imagine that this predicted chaos will permeate trade, which is why seasoned managers will look more than ever to groups such as Langham Hall that can offer an integrated and reliable service. 

If you would like to discuss this or any other matter, please contact:

Robin Marriott - Business Development Manager
T. +44 20 3597 7940
M. +44 75 5712 3515

Rob Short - Managing Partner
T. +44 20 3597 7900
M. +44 77 7580 6308