Forum Partners Investment Management has hired a former portfolio manager from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) as part of its plans to expand its presence in the European debt space.
According to a statement issued by the global real estate investment management firm, Forum Partners has appointed Enda Farrell as its representative in Ireland. In this newly-created post, Farrell will perform a number of roles for Forum, including sourcing loans from Irish financial institutions and creating new products for investment in Ireland.
In addition, Farrell will be responsible for helping assist the Crown Group, a European loan servicer, build a platform for Irish banks. Forum controls Crown through Forum European Realty Income III, a value-added vehicle that closed on €443 million in equity in 2009. Crown services more than £3.8 billion (€4.6 billion, $6 billion) in commercial and residential mortgage loans in the UK and Germany.
Russell Platt, chief executive officer of Forum Partners, told PERE that Farrell’s appointment in this new position is indicative of the firm’s intentions to expand its presence in the European debt space. Indeed, Forum has been active in acquiring, servicing and advising on European debt for the past four years, beginning with its investment in Crown in early 2008. Since then, the firm has acquired stakes in €1 billion in nonperforming real estate loans in the UK and Germany and is now looking to expand its nonperforming real estate activities to Ireland.
“We’ve been looking to enter the Irish market for some time, and steps have been taken by the Irish government to restructure to market to a point where there may be intriguing investment propositions there,” Platt said. “We thought hiring someone from within that network made sense.”
According to Platt, there are three opportunities that arise from Forum entry into the Irish market. “The first is to identify acquisition opportunities from Irish financial institutions,” he said. “The second would be to introduce the servicing capabilities of Crown to Irish financial institutions, as there are no home-grown servicers like Crown in the Irish market today. Third, we want to connect a variety of foreign investors seeking to invest in Ireland to fund opportunities.”
Farrell joins Forum from Ireland’s workout agency NAMA, where he was responsible for due diligence on a €74.2 billion portfolio of property-related loans acquired from a number of Irish financial institutions. Prior to NAMA, he worked for the National Pensions Reserve Fund of Ireland, as well as Pramerica Real Estate Investors and UK-based developer Hammerson.
Farrell, who started his new role this week, is based in Dublin. He will work closely with his colleagues in the London office and report directly to Andrew Walker, head of Europe.