Franklin Templeton adds two RE hires

The real estate, infrastructure and real resources investment platform of Franklin Templeton Investments has recruited two new real estate-related staff, including its first real estate hire in London.

Franklin Templeton Real Asset Advisors has recruited two new real estate professionals, as well as a new infrastructure investment manager, to help bolster the firm’s global investment and distribution capabilities amid growing investor interest in private real estate, infrastructure and real resources.

“These hires reflect the growing demand for real estate, infrastructure and real resources expertise that is emerging from the global economic recovery,” said Jack Foster, the firm’s head of real assets, in a statement.

Witsard Schaper has joined Franklin Templeton as its first real estate professional in London. As vice president, he will focus on identifying private real estate fund and co-investment opportunities in Europe and report to Raymond Jacobs, managing director and head of the firm’s European property investments and portfolio management. He replaces Ilkka Tomperi, who was based in the firm’s Frankfurt office and left to join CapMan, a Finnish private equity firm, as a partner last year.

Before joining Franklin Templeton, Schaper was executive director of Forum Partners, where he was responsible for originating, structuring and managing European investments. Prior to that, he was a vice president responsible for European acquisitions with Credit Suisse Real Estate Capital Partners.

With the addition of Schaper, “we get a lot more expertise in-house on the direct real estate side, which is important in underwriting co-investment and joint investment opportunities,” Jacobs, who is based in New York, told PERE. “That is where we see the growth coming from.”

The San Mateo, California-based firm also has hired Christopher Casey as an institutional portfolio manager, who will be responsible for business development and client relations for the private real estate, infrastructure and real estate securities groups. He succeeds Dan Fulop, who accepted a new position as managing director at The Related Companies last year.

Casey previously served as chief operating officer of Post Oak Energy Capital, a Houston-based oil and gas private equity firm, and prior to that was a managing director at AIG Global Real Estate.