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LaSalle revamps separate accounts business

The Chicago-based real estate investment manager is expanding and rebranding the group in the Americas amid increasing demand from domestic and foreign investors.

LaSalle Investment Management is expanding and rebranding its separate accounts business in the Americas as the Custom Accounts group. As part of this initiative, it has tapped Karen Brennan, a 15-year-veteran of the firm, to lead the new business unit. 

The new Custom Accounts group will expand LaSalle’s former separate accounts business in the Americas to also include one-off joint venture investments as well as club deals. The firm’s separate accounts businesses in Europe and Asia would remain unchanged for the time being.

“We’re seeing an increasing flow of domestic and international investor capital toward customized single-investor or club-style investment strategies,” said Jason Kern, LaSalle’s chief executive for the Americas. “Our new Custom Accounts group addresses this shifting landscape by supporting our fundamental principle of developing customized investment solutions for our clients, while allowing us to bring in additional international capital and manage it through appropriate structures.”

Brennan most recently served as managing director and head of strategic partnerships for the Americas at LaSalle. Prior to that, from 2008 through 2012, she was based in the firm’s Singapore and Hong Kong offices, where she served as a portfolio manager for LaSalle Asia Opportunity Funds II and II and also worked on investment structuring and due diligence for Greater China. Before that, Brennan held roles in acquisitions, asset management and fund management at LaSalle’s Baltimore and Chicago offices since joining the firm in 1999.

In her new role, Brennan will be responsible for driving growth and profitability of the Custom Accounts business through existing and prospective mandates. Additionally, she will continue working with LaSalle’s acquisitions and global client capital teams to connect international investors with real estate opportunities across the Americas. She takes over the Americas separate accounts business from Wade Judge, who will continue to manage investments on behalf of the firm's open-end core fund, LaSalle Property Fund, and remain chief investment officer of LaSalle's North American investment committee.

LaSalle’s direct separate account mandates range in size from $100 million to more than $3 billion and cover core, value-added and opportunistic investment strategies. Separate accounts currently represent the largest business for LaSalle, accounting for $22.1 billion of its $47 billion in assets under management at the end of the third quarter 2013, according to a November 2013 investor presentation. By comparison, fund management represents $14.2 billion and public securities clocks in at $10.4 billion.