It is a rare thing to be able to say that you brought fresh financing techniques to a mature market, but Guy Hands can lay claim to just that in Europe. The former Goldman Sachs “whiz kid,” Hands pioneered securitizations in the UK, enabling his his 70-strong Nomura Principal Finance Group to outbid rivals on undervalued, asset-backed companies and property portfolios. Under his stewardship Nomura became Britain's biggest pub landlord and went on to make a string of investments including betting shops, university housing and army barracks.
By securitizing the future earnings of property portfolios, Hands was able to quickly refinance debt and take substantial profits off the table—after acquiring up to 57,000 homes from the UK's Ministry of Defence, for example, Hands used two securitizations to generate profits of approximately £1.6 billion.
“He spotted opportunities that a lot of people have followed,” said one source. “He led private equity into sectors.”
Things eventually took a turn for the worse at Nomura, and Hands departed to set up his own private equity firm, Terra Firma, where he orchestrated the €7 billion Viterra acquisition, one of the largest private equity real estate deals ever in Europe.
These days, Hands is still deploying the securitization techniques he helped pioneer. Over the summer he pulled off Europe's biggest securitization of its kind by issuing commercial mortgage-backed bonds to refinance debt used in the acquisition of Viterra and other German properties.