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StepStone hires Courtland research director

Jay Morgan is moving to the New York-based firm to focus on research and investments.

StepStone Real Estate has tapped a former Courtland Partners executive as a managing director, the firm said Wednesday.

Jay Morgan started at StepStone Real Estate last month in the firm’s New York headquarters. He is focusing on research, manager selection and primary and secondaries investments in private real estate funds.

Morgan spent nearly six years at Cleveland, Ohio-based Courtland, where he was a portfolio manager for three private equity real estate fund of funds, research director and investment committee member. Prior to his time at Courtland, he was the director of research and a principal at Hartland & Co, a Cleveland-based advisory firm.

“What Jay's doing is bringing a strong expertise in strategic and tactical planning for institutional investors, helping them to determine their asset allocations, portfolio construction and investment pacing,” Jeff Giller, head of StepStone Real Estate, told PERE.

In the face of a changing real estate advisory space, with spin-outs, mergers and acquisitions and other transitions for multiple firms over the first half of the year, Giller said StepStone's most recent hire represented a commitment to its clients.

“We’ve been really building our advisory service practice as a complement to our asset management business for the last several years,” he said. “Jay, as former head of research at Courtland and an important, seasoned professional, is part of that expansion, part of that strategy.”

StepStone most recently closed its latest fund, StepStone Real Estate Partners III, on $700 million in February, PERE previously reported. The firm also attracted approximately $400 million in co-investment capital for its strategy of investing in special situations in the US and Europe.

StepStone Real Estate was formed in 2014 when private markets firm StepStone acquired Clairvue Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based real estate secondaries firm founded by Giller, Brendan MacDonald and Josh Cleveland.

StepStone Real Estate is the real estate division of StepStone, which also invests in private equity, infrastructure and real assets, private debt and hedge funds. It has $31 billion in assets under management.