Realty consultants beef up investment banking teams as big deals pop up

International and domestic property consultants are increasing their capital market and investment banking teams as big real estate deals pop up.

Recently, JLL India hired senior executives for its real estate investment and capital market services business. Hardeep Dayal was hired as chief operating officer, capital markets; Amit Gupta as head, debt markets; and Mohammed Aslam as head, mid-markets. JLL acted as a banker in the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s investment in IndoSpace.

Earlier, Shobhit Agarwal, managing director, capital markets at JLL, quit to set up his own firm, ANB Capital Advsiors.

Agarwal has hired half-a-dozen senior executives for his firm. His firm appointed Kingshuk Chakraborty as president, banking advisory. Chakraborty was country head of loan syndication at Yes Bank earlier.

ANB hired Vishal Srivastava as president , corporate finance, and Aditi Watve as president of investment sales and Reit Advisory. It also hired veteran Raj Changrani as a consultant. 

Ramesh Nair, chief executive officer (CEO) and country head, JLL India, said, “We are committed to exploring formats and avenues to channel real estate investments in order to drive liquidity into realty. As India becomes more attractive to global capital, we welcome the opportunity to be at the forefront in channelising foreign and domestic investments.”

Real estate has seen some big deals in recent times. Singapore's sovereign fund, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation bought 40 per cent in the DLF’s rental arm for $1.4 billion. It bought 40 per cent in Prestige estates’ rental portfolio for an estimated $250-$300 million. Blackstone bought 20 per cent in K Raheja Corp's rental arm.

“After the 2008–09 financial crisis, the market has witnessed a record level of investment. Asset allocation to real estate has witnessed an increased interest, both internationally and in India, with the country evolving as a global investment destination,” added Nair. Shobit Agarwal, managing director at (MD) ANB Capital Advisors said the real estate industry was undergoing a makeover with changes in legislation and demand. There is a dearth of quality professional expertise in the real estate investment banking business.

“With this in the background, the idea of creating a fresh and vibrant platform  came to our mind. This platform will seek to address the capital market needsof developers and capital providers,” he said.

Asset management firms have also hired senior executives for its real estate funds business.

Global investor Mirae Asset has hired Puneet Bhatia as director and head of strategy, investments and asset management. He was the former executive vice-president at Edelweiss Finance before. It is planning to float a real estate fund through the alternative investment fund route and invest in residential properties in metros. 

Mirae has set up a separate capital markets firm and is in the process of hiring people. 

Axis has hired real estate fund management veteran Balaji Rao to head its real estate funds business. It is building a core team of eight to 10 people in the investment and asset management verticals. Before joining Axis, Rao was the MD of Indic Capital Advisors, supervising the $630 million Sun Ares Real Estate Opportunity Fund. He also served as the MD of Starwood Capital.

“Real estate is on the cusp of a turnaround. This is the right time for domestic funds to participate in the financialisation of real estate assets,” Rao said. 

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