EXCLUSIVE: MSREI hires global head of research

The real estate investment business of Morgan Stanley has taken advantage of GE Capital’s departure from the real estate market in hiring its replacement for Paul Mouchakkaa.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), the real estate investment arm of the New York-based investment bank, has recruited a new global head of research and strategy, Anthony Charles.

Charles, who currently is head of global research and strategy at GE Capital Real Estate, starts his new position next week. He initially will be based in San Francisco, but is expected to eventually relocate to New York.

He replaces Paul Mouchakkaa, who left MSREI in February to become the new senior investment officer of real assets at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest US public pension system. Mouchakkaa had held the top research post at MSREI since November 2011. Like Mouchakkaa, Charles also will sit on the MSREI investment committee.

Charles is a 10-year veteran of GE Capital Real Estate, the property business of GE Capital, which itself is the financial services arm of US conglomerate GE. He joined the Norwalk, Connecticut-based firm as a vice president of global marketing strategy in 2005. Charles then went on to become vice president of global investment management in 2008, before switching to his current position, where he works with regional sales, risk and asset management executives on portfolio design and asset allocation strategies for the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific; and analyzes global macroeconomic, real estate, capital markets and competitor trends for use in strategy planning and presentations, among other responsibilities.

GE Capital Real Estate is now gradually winding down its operations following The Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo’s announcement in April that they would be acquiring the bulk of the platform’s assets, in the largest private property deal since the global financial crisis. The business currently has 800 employees across nine countries, down from 900 in April.

MSREI, on the other hand, has demonstrated something of a resurgence of late, underlined by its $1.7 billion final closing for its eighth global opportunistic real estate fund which was announced earlier this week. The firm had faced multiple headwinds since the global financial crisis, thanks to poor performing funds leading up to the crisis, changes of senior personnel and curtailing regulation. However, it has been making a strong showing as of late, with investments in its seventh fund and early investments in its eighth fund generating 20-percent-plus returns.