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Standard Life hires head of commercial real estate debt

Neil Odom-Haslett joins from Deutsche Pfandbriefbank to lead a push into real estate lending in the UK.

Standard Life Investments (SLI), the asset management arm of insurance group Standard Life, has appointed Neil Odom-Haslett as head of a new real estate lending business in the UK, it confirmed in a statement.

The firm, which manages £10.9bn (€12.8 billion; $16.6 billion) of direct real estate investments worldwide, is looking to move into real estate debt financing. 

Haslett, who starts on 28 August, has previously worked for Natwest, Fortis, Eurohypo and RBS, and most recently spent six years at German lender Deutsche Pfandbriefbank (formerly Hypo Real Estate). He is also a director at the Association of Property Lenders. 

He will reportedly lead a team of around 30 professionals at Standard Life Investments and will report to David Paine, head of real estate. 

“The real estate lending market across Europe is continuing to experience a structural shift as non-bank lenders increase their market share in seeking to address the imbalance between supply and demand for real estate debt,” Paine said in the statement. “This development has been fuelled by growing interest from institutions in the asset class as they look to further diversify their fixed income and real estate portfolios whilst maintaining and often enhancing yields and risk adjusted returns.”

Insurance group Standard life boasts an established real estate lending business in Canada, with offices in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary. SLI will look to leverage this expertise, as well as that of its existing real estate equity platform in the UK and Europe. 

Paine added: “Over the past 12 months we have been working closely with our colleagues in Canada to develop a platform capable of originating and supporting commercial real estate loans in the UK, drawing upon their considerable knowledge, experience and capability in the asset class built up over many years.”