JPMorgan names first Brazil RE head

The asset management arm of JPMorgan Chase is aiming to take advantage of opportunities arising from the country’s political and economic troubles.

JPMorgan Asset Management has appointed Rossano Nonino as chief investment officer and head of its Brazil real estate business.

In the newly created position, Nonino, who will be based in São Paolo, will manage JPMorgan’s eight-person real estate investment team in Brazil. He will report both to Kevin Faxon, the firm’s New York-based head of real estate Americas, and Vital Menezes, the locally-based chief executive of Global Investment Management LATAM.

JPMorgan is making the appointment at a time when real estate values in Brazil have plummeted against a backdrop of political and economic woes; it is in the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades, and its president, Dilma Rousseff, has been suspended while facing an impeachment trial over improperly managing government accounts. Meanwhile, the interim government, which took over in May, is battling corruption allegations of its own.

“Brazil’s political and economic structural upheaval has contributed to a 50 percent decline in real estate values in local currency terms since the market peak in 2011,” said Joe Azelby, head of global real assets at JPMorgan Asset Management.

“As the dominant economy in Latin America, we see opportunity in this market. With more than 16 years of experience and a proven track record of success in Brazil, Rossano will help our clients access local investment opportunities, while growing our regional presence.”

Nonino previously worked at Gávea Investimentos, which he joined in 2012 to establish its real estate investment arm, Gávea Real Estate. At Gávea, Rossano oversaw more than 1 billion reais ($306,500; €274,700) of investments in properties, development projects and real estate securities.

From 2002 to 2012, he was managing director at Brazilian Capital and responsible for more than 3 billion reais in real estate investment funds in Brazil for international and domestic institutional investors. He has also been a managing director and partner at Rio Bravo Investimentos Group, where he oversaw the structuring of Brazilian real estate investment funds and mortgage backed securities.

In 2010, Gávea sold a majority stake in the company to JPMorgan through the latter’s alternative asset management unit, Highbridge Capital Management. In March, Gávea finalized the repurchase of JPMorgan’s equity interest. JPMorgan, however, retained Gávea Real Estate, which subsequently became part of JPMorgan Asset Management’s global real assets group that same month. Nonino previously managed the Gávea Real Estate team prior to the transition.

In May 2015, JPMorgan, through Gávea, was seeking to raise a fund of at least $200 million for commercial real estate opportunities in Brazil, according to Bloomberg.

JP Morgan Asset Management’s global real assets division currently has more than 400 professionals in 19 offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company’s Brazilian real estate team currently manages 523 million reais of assets, comprising 10 investment properties across eight states.