Jay Mantz to depart MSREI

After more than 17 years with the bank’s real estate group, Mantz is leaving Morgan Stanley to pursue 'other opportunities'. The bank said it remained 'committed' to the real estate investing business.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI) veteran Jay Mantz is leaving the firm after 17 years, PERE has learned.

The vice chairman of MSREI is departing to “pursue other opportunities”, according to an internal memo sent to staff yesterday. He is expected to stay in the private equity real estate industry, although it was unclear at press time whether Mantz was due to join another firm or set up on his own. Morgan Stanley said in the memo though that it remained committed to the real estate investing business.

Jay Mantz

Mantz joined Morgan Stanley Real Estate in 1993 and, within three years, became head of its European funds operations in London. He was promoted to head of investing at MSREI in 1999 and in 2005 was named global co-head of MSREI alongside John Carrafiell. By 2007, Mantz was again promoted, this time to global co-head of Morgan Stanley’s merchant banking division, which oversees the real estate group.

However, in 2009, Mantz and fellow former MSREF head Owen Thomas were drafted back into the real estate group after the-then global head of MSREI, Sonny Kalsi, was placed on administrative leave.

More recently, Mantz stepped back from the day-to-day running of the group, handing over the reins to John Klopp and Olivier de Poulpiquet, who took over as co-chief executive officers and co-chief investment officers in September. Klopp and de Poulpiquet were reporting to Mantz, who had become vice chairman of the platform. Thomas remains chairman of the real estate group, as well as head of Asia for the investment bank’s wider operation.

People familiar with the matter said Mantz’s departure marked the completion of an “unofficial transition” at the top of MSREI, but his presence would be missed. “He was a fantastic leader for MSREI,” one source added.

Mantz was critical to MSREI’s negotiations with LPs over the past 18 months, as the bank-sponsored platform dealt with write-downs and poor performance. In an interview with PERE in June, Mantz said: “We didn’t achieve our performance goals in two of our funds. People are allowed to be disappointed, and they are allowed to be vocal about it.”

In closing its latest opportunity fund, MSREF Global VII, on $4.7 billion and dealing with its legacy portfolios, the firm almost doubled the number advisory committee meetings and investor calls and reports so that it could “walk [LPs] through what’s going on”, Mantz said at the time. “Early on, we began telling investors the issues we were dealing with and how we are dealing with them in terms of our strategies and the resources we are dedicating to them. The toughest time in your business is when you spend the most amount of time communicating,” he added.

In December, PERE revealed MSREI was planning to close its office and investment activities in Korea, 10 years after entering the country. Sources familiar with the matter said MSREI was planning to close down Morgan Stanley Capital Korea (MSCK), the investment entity responsible for making investments on behalf of the Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds series, by the end of 2010. The move was expected to result in MSCK’s approximately 10-strong team, led by Korea head Jin Eu, leaving the business although some were expected to join some of MSREI’s joint venture partners in Korea.