Lazard loses real estate fundraiser

The financial advisory and asset management firm saw the departure of a senior member of its real estate placement team about two weeks ago.

Lazard has lost another real estate placement agent, the third such departure from its private funds advisory group in the last few years. Josh Overbay, who served as a director, left the firm two weeks ago, and PERE understands that he will be joining Almanac Realty Investors in February as head of capital raising and investor relations. Lazard declined to comment.

Overbay joined Lazard in October 2010 as a vice president and was promoted to director in January 2013. Prior to Lazard, he worked as a vice president at Perseus Realty Partners, a Washington, DC-based private equity real estate investment manager, for nearly three years.

Overbay is the third defection from Lazard’s real estate fundraising team in the last couple of years, following the exits of director John Marshall and vice president Sofia Vasileiadou in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Vasileiadou joined Park Hill’s private equity distribution group as a principal last year; Marshall’s present occupation is unclear.

Current members of Lazard’s real estate fundraising team include directors James Jacobs and Edward McDonald, both of whom are based in London and handle the group’s European assignments. Meanwhile, director Stephen Chase, based in Lazard’s New York office, and vice president Dan Drake, based in Chicago, work on North America fundraises.

Lazard’s private funds group is led by William Riddle, a former Merrill Lynch managing director who left the New York-based investment bank with fellow managing director Benjamin Sullivan in 2003 to establish a new placement business at Lazard. The lift-out, which also included seven of the pair’s Merrill Lynch colleagues, was one of the largest defections among placement teams. Sullivan, who had been based in London, left Lazard last year.

Lazard’s private funds group focuses on three investment areas: real estate, private equity and secondary advisory, the last of which includes both sales of fund interests and restructurings of general partners in real estate and private equity. Comprising 35 to 40 professionals in New York, Chicago, London and Singapore, the division is expected to expand across all three business lines.

Earlier this month, Lazard hired Sarah Sandstrom as a managing director. Sandstrom, formerly a partner at Atlantic-Pacific Capital, will be based in New York and work primarily with real estate and private equity general partners.

The group is said to have seven dedicated real estate professionals, and that team has raised capital globally for property funds that invest in a wide range of strategies, include value-added and opportunistic; distressed debt and equity; performing and non-performing loans; fund recapitalizations and secondaries; and residential/commercial loans and securities, according to the firm’s website.

Recently, the team raised capital for Tristan Capital Partners’ latest fund, European Property Investors Special Opportunities III. As PERE reported last month, Tristan had surpassed its €750 million ($1 billion) target for the fund and was nearing its hard cap of €950 million.