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Winnington spin-out hires Grady for investments

Timothy Grady becomes the first hire for newly-formed Venator Real Estate Capital Partners as it seeks a future beyond the management of the Trophy Property Development fund.

Venator Real Estate Capital Partners, the Hong Kong-based real estate fund management company spun out from Winnington Capital during the summer, has made its first hire.

Venator was formed this year to manage Winnington’s recently-restructured Trophy Property Development fund after its investors voted to replace the Hong Kong-based private equity real estate firm following years of turbulence amid escalating development costs and delays.

However, in an early sign the new firm is looking beyond the management of the troubled fund, it has hired Timothy Grady, the ex-head of real estate principal investments at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with a view to making future investments.

Grady is expected to start work at Venator as early as next week. He will work closely with the firm’s president, ex-GE Capital and Warburg Pincus Asia real estate head Philip Mintz, who is in charge of its day-to-day operations, and chairman Mehmet Dalman, who was the former chairman of FTSE-miner ENRC.

Mintz told PERE that Grady would be responsible for sourcing and executing new investments for Venator and that the firm already was looking to make a $40 million dollar investment in China.

“We have similar philosophies and mentalities,” Mintz said of Grady, “I’ve always said Venator would have a next chapter. We don’t intend to compete with firms like Blackstone and KKR but there are very few boutique’s in Asia. We would like to create an investment firm along the lines of what I ran in Asia while at Warburg Pincus”. 

Mintz said: “Tim and I both come from very institutional firms and we intend to build a boutique, entrepreneurial firm grounded on best in class risk and asset management.”

In managing the Trophy Property Development fund, Mintz and Grady have access to an investor pool of approximately 150 LPs, ranging from US institutions such as the State of Michigan, TIAA-CREF, the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association and the University of Texas. Multi-managers like Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors and advisors like The Townsend Group are also investors.

Between them, they committed approximately $1 billion to the vehicle in 2008 making it the largest pool of private capital amassed for property development in China at the time.

In Grady, Venator has brought aboard one of Asia’s best known private real estate investors. A former Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing senior executive, he joined rival Merrill Lynch to lead its first pan-Asia private equity real estate fund, the Merrill Lynch Asia Real Estate Opportunities Fund, which collected $2.65 billion from investors in 2008.

Grady, however, left the investment bank in early 2009 as it merged with Bank of America, a merger which precipitated a decision to sell its principal real estate investment business, including smaller European and Americas platforms. The Merrill Lynch fund was not sold but rather absorbed by Blackstone with investors receiving a $650 million dollar settlement from Merrill Lynch.

He Joined Mount Kellet Capital in September 2010 as a managing director and worked for the private equity firm for about 18 months before leaving in March last year