Mercury hires Guggenheim exec

The New York-based placement agency is growing its online fund platform, which has a minimum $100,000 investment.

Mercury Capital Advisors is expanding its digital distribution platform with a new hire, the firm said last week.

The New York-based placement agent has tapped Donal Mastrangelo as head of its US iFunds distribution. Mercury launched the platform in January to allow limited partners who want to invest as little as $100,000 to access alternative investments, including real estate and secondaries strategies.

Mastrangelo joins Mercury’s headquarters after six years at Guggenheim Investments, where he worked on business development and client services, according to his LinkedIn profile. Previously, he founded investment manager NorthRoad Capital Management, now a subsidiary of Madison Investment Holdings.

iFunds currently has about 30 offerings across product types, with plans to include four or five real estate funds by the end of the first quarter.

“We have a wide range of products, but we’re not a Cheesecake Factory. We’re not giving an investor 200 options,” George Lucaci, a Mercury partner who also works on iFunds, told PERE. “This new private wealth marketplace is a new language, but the knowledge of the funds still applies. That’s one of the reasons we brought in Donal, because he understands the private funds marketplace.”

Mastrangelo said his goals are to increase client access and education about the platform.

“Maintaining client relationships and client contact is critical,” he said. “I’ll be managing the sales team and helping to get people on platforms, but first and foremost it’s about working with the existing clients I’ve worked with over the years and help new clients navigate this landscape.”

Another New York-based placement agent executive said he has not seen peer firms launching digital distribution platforms similar to iFunds. He cited cost of development and a reluctance to pivot from traditional capital-raising strategies as barriers to entry.

Mercury spun out from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2009. The firm has helped place funds including Walton Street Real Estate Fund VIII, which closed on $1.3 billion in March, and Gaw Capital Partners’ Gateway Real Estate Fund V, which corralled the same amount in March along with $500 million in sidecar commitments.