HarbourVest looks to real estate expansion

The global fund of funds manager has hired former Composition Capital managing director Randy Parker to oversee its private equity real estate investments.

HarbourVest Partners may be described as one of the longest established and most respected players in the fund of funds business but it doesn't mean the Boston-based firm is resting on its laurels.

In a bid to broaden its global alternatives investments – which already includes venture, buyout, mezzanine debt and distressed debt – HarbourVest has announced plans to expand into real estate fund investments.

It was, as HarbourVest senior managing director Kevin Delbridge said, a natural extension of the firm's approach and a “continuation” of HarbourVest's development in the field.

“Throughout our history, we have continued to evolve — identifying and evaluating new opportunities around the world, gaining invaluable expertise and developing a strong network of sought-after partners along the way,” he added.

And to that end, the firm has lured former Composition Capital Partners managing director Randy Parker to help grow the asset class.

Parker was managing director at the Dutch fund of funds firm, spearheading Composition's expansion into North and Latin America from a recently opened office in Boston. At the time, Composition said it wanted to establish itself as the “Americas fund of funds.”

In 2007, Parker said the growth of real estate funds had presented institutional investors with a difficult choice. “It's becoming increasingly difficult … to keep track of all the different choices. [Fund of funds are] a way to provide and add value for investors looking at a broader array of real estate managers and a way to spread risk across a wider spectrum.”

Composition Capital was primarily targeting Europe and Asia before opening its office in Boston. Parker had been enticed away from Boston-based Beacon Capital Partners, where he was a senior managing director responsible for capital formation, investor relations and investment strategy, to serve at Composition. Prior to Beacon, where he also served as chairman of the investment committee, he spent eight years at AEW Capital Management, responsible for real estate investments for institutional investors valued at more than $500 million.

HarbourVest founder and senior managing director Ed Kane said Parker's 20 years of experience in the industry would help build the foundations for his firm's expansion. “He will be a tremendous addition to our talented, experienced and cohesive team.”

Parker has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Pension Real Estate Association and the Association of Foreign Investment in Real Estate.

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