Henderson hires head of RE debt

The global property investment firm has appointed John Feeney to head up the real estate debt division, a segment of the market that it believes is poised for growth.

To prepare for what it believes will be a growth sector in the coming months, Henderson Global Investors has recruited a former senior vice president at Bank of America Merrill Lynch to head up the firm’s real estate debt division within its secured credit team. 

According to a statement, the London-based property investment firm has hired John Feeney as head of real estate debt, a newly-created position. In his new role, Feeney will work with Henderson’s property business as well as the fixed-income team to drive business growth in real estate debt. He will report directly to Colin Fleury, Henderson’s head of secured credit. 

A spokeswoman for Henderson told PERE that the position was created “as a response to the opportunity that we have recognised in that sector.” The firm also said it is looking to more actively pursue the real estate debt space “as traditional lenders retreat” from the market.

“Investor interest in real estate debt continues to increase, aided by a retraction in bank lending and attractive risk-adjusted returns,” added Andrew Creighton, director of Henderson Global Investors Property. “The experience and expertise that John brings with him to the Henderson team will add great value to our development model as we look to drive this area forward.” 

Feeney said: “The characteristics of the real estate debt market and the scale of the opportunity make this an investment sector to watch in 2012 and beyond. Secured debt offers diversification benefits for a traditional institutional portfolio, whereas access to quality stock in the direct market is poised to remain ultra-competitive among global investors.”

Prior to joining Henderson, Feeney headed Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Asia real estate special assets group, where he was responsible for the region’s legacy debt book. In 2004, he co-founded Bank of America’s European and Asian real estate lending platforms.