Clarion hires global capital-raising head from MSREI

Hugh Macdonnell has joined Clarion Partners, effective today, to lead its global capital raising operations after more than 14 years at Morgan Stanley.

Clarion Partners has hired Hugh Macdonnell, a veteran of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), to head up its capital raising efforts. He joins the New York-based real estate investment firm, effective today, as a managing director in charge of global fundraising and client management operations.

As Global Head – Client Capital Management, Macdonnell will oversee all of Clarion’s capital raising activities across its open- and closed-ended funds in the US, Brazil and Mexico. He will also serve on Clarion’s investment and operating committees.

A 14-year veteran of MSREI, Macdonnell recently served as global head of investor relations. He also spent five years as Americas portfolio manager for Morgan Stanley Real Estate’s Special Situations Fund III, as well as working on the advisory side of the bank’s real estate arm, in capital raising and M&A.

Macdonnell told PERE he joined Morgan Stanley out of business school and had “a great run” at the bank. “I have spent much of my adult life at Morgan Stanley and have loved working there,” he said. “But Clarion offered me the opportunity to do something more entrepreneurial, and I’ve been very impressed by the leadership of Clarion chief executive officer Steve Furnary and his team. ”

In February, Furnary and the Clarion management teamed up with private equity firm Lightyear Capital to regain control of the business they founded in 1982. The buyout of what was then known as ING Clarion came after Dutch insurance giant ING Groep was ordered to sell off non-core operations by European regulators. Richard Ellis acquired the European and Asian operations of ING Real Estate Investment Management along with Clarion Real Estate Securities, the listed real estate securities business built by Clarion and Furnary.

In the wake of the management buyout, Clarion has set about growing the $23 billion platform, including the exploration of several potential new investment options, Macdonnell noted.  “In particular, our clients are interested in value-add strategies and are asking us to expand our value added programme.  Given our outlook and what we are seeing in the market, this is something we are looking hard at.” 

Speaking about the general capital raising markets, he added: “A decade ago, capital largely flowed from the large US public and corporate pension plans but today capital flows from all over the world and is flowing not just from the US pension plans but also the sovereign wealth funds, from hedge funds, and from an aging population wanting individual exposure to real estate. It’s challenging and exciting to be part of the evolution of the capital raising markets.”