JLL now has a full senior leadership team for its global fund advisory business and is set to finish all hiring for its Americas team, PERE has learned.

Zaahir Syed: leading the west coast

The Chicago-based global real estate services firm has rounded out the senior leadership team for its fund advisory business by hiring two new directors. Zaahir Syed, former vice president in the real estate group for New York City- headquartered Lazard Private Capital Advisory, has been tasked to lead JLL’s west coast effort from Los Angeles. Meanwhile, former New York City-based advisory firm Shelter Rock Capital Advisors’ vice president Molly Mahoney will lead distribution efforts from New York.

Both executives will report to Jerry Cain, who leads the Funds Advisory business in the Americas. Cain joined in August 2018 after spending four years as a director at Lazard’s private capital advisory group, PERE previously reported.

JLL’s global advisory business has now grown to 24 people since its inception in 2017, according to Matilde Attolico, JLL’s global head of the fund advisory team. JLL told PERE in August that the firm aimed to have the largest team globally by the first quarter of 2019, with approximately 25-30 dedicated staff members. It now has a fully staffed team in Asia and in Europe. Meanwhile, the Americas team currently has 6 members and the firm intends to hire three more in total.

Molly Mahoney: leading distribution efforts

In March 2017, JLL kicked off hiring for the new business vertical by appointing former Hodes Weill managing director Matilde Attolico and Zeynep Fetyaci. Attolico was brought on board to lead the global fund advisory team and Zeynep Fetyaci was appointed as a director. Then in October 2017, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing’s executive director and head of capital raising for Asia Martijn van Eldik was brought on as head of funds advisory for Asia Pacific.

With most of the positions in the fund advisory business filled, JLL is looking to start taking on advisory and capital raising mandates, according to Attolico. Advisory mandates will include asset under management growth strategies and product development strategies. On the capital raising side, the firm will essentially help place capital for commingled funds, club deals, recapitalizations and joint ventures. It is currently assisting in capital raising efforts for Toronto-based real estate investment firm Slate Asset Management’s Slate European Real Estate Fund III.

“The focus is all on indirect real estate,” Attolic told PERE. “We’ve built a very senior team focused on covering the largest institutional investors around the world.”

As a brokerage firm with a global reach, the fund advisory business will keep JLL relevant, according to Attolico. The market for placement agents is still fragmented and she estimates the top three placement agents have 7-13 percent market share at best. As capital consolidates among the largest real estate investment managers, the middle market is getting cut out, she explained.

“I would argue that in a competitive environment for middle market managers to raise capital, our services are perhaps even more relevant,” Attolico said.