Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI) is restructuring its US and Latin America divisions and consolidating them into a unified Americas platform, PERE has learned. As part of this integration, the real estate investment management arm of Prudential Financial has reshuffled several senior management roles in the region.
Kevin Smith, formerly the head of PREI’s US business, has been named head of Americas for the firm, according to an email sent to investors last week and seen by PERE. Meanwhile, Alfonso Munk, formerly head of Latin America, now will serve as chief investment officer for the Americas. Both appointments are effective immediately.
Despite the consolidation of the two teams, the firm is expected to retain all of its existing employees in the Americas. While Smith and Munk initially will be more focused on the US and Latin America, respectively, they are eventually anticipated to spend more time in both markets. Smith now will be sitting on the investment committee for Latin America, while Munk will be a member of the investment committee for the US. Additionally, a number of staff now will be working on transactions in both regions. However, PERE understands that the real estate investment manager will continue to raise separate funds for the US and Latin America.
Eric Adler, PREI’s chief executive officer and global chief investment officer, is understood to have initiated the integration in an effort to bring its Americas operations more in line with the firm’s Europe and Asia businesses, which have already been operating as unified regional platforms. The consolidation of the US and Latin America teams is intended to make overall operations in the Americas region more efficient by maximizing the use of resources.
“The changes reflect a combination of planned succession and PREI's effort to create a more consistent and efficient business model,” a PREI spokesman said in an email to PERE. “Capitalizing on its strong and deep management team, PREI made the decision to align its business by geography in order to deliver better investment results and more seamless service to our clients.”
Smith had served as head of the US business since 2012 and previously was the senior portfolio manager for PREI’s flagship core and value-added PRISA funds. He has been with the company for more than 30 years in numerous portfolio and asset management roles. Munk joined PREI in 2012 as chief investment officer for Latin America and subsequently became head of the region. Prior to PREI, he worked at Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing for a decade in various positions in Europe and South America.
Additionally, Cathy Marcus, who took over from Smith as senior portfolio manager at PRISA, now has assumed the role of global chief operating officer. A 15-year veteran of the company, Marcus will oversee PREI's operations, including finance, fund operations, systems and operational risk management. She replaces Ken Warman, who had served in the post since January 2013 and will be moving into a new position within Prudential but outside PREI. Meanwhile, Frank Garcia, who was a core portfolio manager under Marcus, will replace his former boss as PRISA’s senior portfolio manager. Both of those executive moves will occur in January.
PREI, which began investing in the US in 1970, currently has 367 employees and AUM in North America with a gross value of $35.7 billion and net value of $27.9 billion as of March 31, according to its website. The firm has been investing since 2000 in Latin America, where it maintains a staff of 86 and manages assets with a gross value of $3.9 billion and net value of $2.4 billion. Worldwide, it has 704 employees and gross AUM of $55.8 billion and net AUM of $41.8 billion.