Celtic tigers

Former Anglo Irish Bank duo Pat O'Hara and Tom Daly are back with a new property fund — and a new name.

The great Irish “buyaspora” looks set to continue as former Anglo Irish Bank directors Pat O'Hara and Tom Daly gear up to launch their second Anglo Irish UK property fund.

The two have worked together for the last 15 years, beginning at Bank of Ireland where Daly was a generalist trader and bond lender and O'Hara was in the corporate banking division. O'Hara left to join Anglo Irish Bank (AIB) in 1992; Daly joined him, by way of a stint at GE Capital, four years later.

Until 2003, they ran two of the four lending teams at AIB as associate directors, before leaving the bank in October 2003 to set up their own firm, Anglo Irish Private Equity. Their debut fund, the First Anglo Irish UK Property Fund, raised £55 million in 2003. AIB was a cornerstone investor, with a commitment of £15 million.

Now, as the firm gears up to launch its second fund, it is also launching a new name: Tyburn Lane. Daly says that confusion over AIB's relation to their—independent— company precipitated the change. “We wanted to make it clear that we're nothing to do with Anglo Irish Bank, although they will invest £15 million in the second fund, as they did with the first,” says Daly.

Daly and O'Hara expect to raise another £60 million, taking the fund size to £75 million, and will invest in joint ventures with existing asset managers. “We don't buy property directly,” adds Daly. “We're backing shopping and industrial property experts. We're leveraging off of other people's experience, expertise and knowledge of the market.”

Daly also confirmed that the first fund has an estimated IRR of almost 40 percent, significantly higher than its original annual target return of 15 percent. The first fund saw commitments from over 60 investors, most of whom Daly hopes to lure back for a second time. “They're investing in our ability to find the best joint venture partners,” says Daly, adding that the first fund's investor base is “mainly, but not strictly Irish.”

There has been considerable demand in recent years from Irish investors keen to acquire property overseas. In April, Quinlan Private, the investment vehicle of former Irish taxman Derek Quinlan, purchased a 3.5 acre Knightsbridge estate for around €770 million, and in October, Cheval Properties, owned by Dublin businessman Tony Kilduff, paid €139 million for 12 British properties from Henderson Global Investors.

And not to be outdone, another Anglo Irish Bank employee looks to have his eyes set on overseas property. In September, the bank announced that John Rowan, chief executive designate of the group's UK operations, would leave at the end of the year with the intention of pursuing private equity opportunities in European real estate.