Probitas adds RE pros

San Francisco-based placement agent Probitas Partners, fresh from fundraising for the debut vehicles for KSL and Benson Elliot, is beefing up its real estate team.

Looking to expand further into the real estate and hard assets space, Probitas Partners has hired Alan Bear as a principal and David Wherritt as an associate.

Bear will be responsible for the firm’s real estate investment fund placement, while Wherritt will work with Bear to expand the firm’s real estate practice and source new clients.

“The thought here is to take our market-leading franchise to the next level in terms of real estate,” Bear told PERE.

Bear says the firm plans to take two to three funds to prospective LPs each year. Looking ahead to the first half of next year, he says, the firm will most likely end up working with one domestic and one European vehicle. Beyond that, the firm is also looking at vehicles focused on India and China for 2007.

Bear adds that the firm will focus on funds targeting the $250-million to $1-billion marks. He says many investors who have invested in large opportunity funds are looking for complementary investments to add to their portfolio, particularly from GPs raising their first or second fund.

“That is where the guys are still hungry,” he says of the funds. “They’ve got the fire in their belly.”

Prior to joining Probitas, Bear ran AGB Consulting, his own transactional and strategic investment advisory services business. Before that, he served as a managing director for consulting firm The Roulac Group, where he worked on developing the company’s real estate advisory business. Prior to this, Bear was the director of institutional real estate service at accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Wherritt, formerly an analyst in the real estate private equity group at Credit Suisse’s San Francisco office, has also joined the firm as an analyst in the property division. According to a Probitas statement, the Credit Suisse team has raised more than $17 billion in commitments for 26 transactions since 2002.

Probitas most recently worked for Benson Elliot Capital Management, the private equity real estate firm founded by former Doughty Hanson real estate head Marc Mogull. Benson Elliot raised €335 million for its inaugural fund, which will be focused on pan-European property investment.

Another Probitas client, Denver-based KSL Capital, a KKR spin-off focused on the lodging and recreation industries, raised more than $1 billion for KSL Capital Partners II, its debut fund.