MaxCap Group, the Australian commercial real estate (CRE) debt investment manager, has made two new hires after issuing A$310 million ($227 million; €200.4 million) of loans across 17 deals since the beginning of the year – triple the amount issued in the same period last year.
Tony Woods has been appointed chief risk officer for the Melbourne-based firm and Matthew Perrott has been hired as its first Western Australia investment director, a new territory for the investor.
The appointments come as MaxCap takes advantage of growth in the Australian real estate debt sector driven by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) tightening of property lending criteria imposed on the major retail banks.
“Our institutional platform has grown substantially increasing from 18 staff at the beginning of the year to 27,” said Felicity Ambler, head of distribution at MaxCap. “The Australian CRE debt cycle is in its early growth phase and this is a goldilocks period for non-bank lenders.
With the banks overweight in CRE debt and APRA flexing their muscle, we have witnessed strong relative value as gearing ratios drop and lending covenants tighten.”
Among the funds raised so far this year are significant institutional mandates which have moved to fill the gap left by the retail banks, added Ambler. The firm also plans to launch its first debt fund in the second half of the year, targeting around A$300 million and returns of 10 percent.
The two most recent appointments are already in place at MaxCap. Woods takes over from Brett Corfield, who remains in a senior risk position at the business, and brings 25 years’ experience in the Australian credit market to the role, including previous executive positions at National Australia Bank and ANZ.
He will focus on credit policy and monitor the risk of investments made across the firm’s business including separate accounts, funds and co-investment products for institutional and private clients.
“Tony’s strong institutional banking, strategic leadership skills and risk background are critically important at a time when non-bank CRE debt continues to gain global attention, and credibility as a standalone asset class within institutional portfolios,” said MaxCap’s managing director, Wayne Lasky.
Perrott, who comes from four years as an investment director at Singaporean-based fund manager, Crest Capital Asia, will be responsible for leading opportunities in the state of Western Australia. He will also help Ambler launch the debt fund to Australian and offshore investors.
MaxCap manages more than A$4 billion of commercial real estate mortgages for its domestic and international institutional clients and private funds.