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Woman of the moment: Trish Barrigan

The second managing partner of Benson Elliot talks about replacing one of the industry’s most famous names.

Eleven years after co-founding London-based private equity real estate firm Benson Elliot with the firm’s supremo Marc Mogull, incumbent managing partner Trish Barrigan says her main priorities are to retain the stability and the quality of talent that has characterized the firm in recent years.

In May, PERE revealed that Mogull, one of the industry’s most famous names in Europe, would not be continuing to manage the business, though he would carry on as chief investment officer and executive chairman.

Barrigan admits it will be no easy task taking over from Mogull. “It will be tough to fill his shoes,” she said. “But the change in my title reflects the role that I have been taking on over the last few years. I’ll certainly benefit from having Marc next to me for many years to come. We have enjoyed a great partnership over the last 11 years and I certainly don’t see that changing in the future.”

Despite the long shadow cast by her predecessor, Barrigan believes her priorities are clear. “Even though the environment is constantly changing, the top priorities remain the same,” said Barrigan. “It’s always to maintain stability and the high level of talent.”

The seeds of Barrigan’s promotion were sown two years ago when the firm altered its key man provision for its latest fund BEREP IV, which closed on €640 million – its largest ever capital raise – in June 2016.

“We launched Fund IV in 2015, so that was when we changed the key man clauses to include myself and other senior executives because we wanted to ensure the business evolved,” said Barrigan.

Barrigan brings a wealth of real estate experience to the table. Prior to forming Benson Elliot with Mogull in 2006, Barrigan worked at Dubai Investment Group between 2004 and 2006, firstly as head of global real estate and then chief strategy officer. Before that, between 1994 and 2004, she was vice president and head of acquisitions at Goldman Sachs, where Mogull also began his career in 1993.

Benson Elliot invests in what Barrigan describes as the “big four in the big five,” namely retail, residential, office and hotels in Europe’s five major markets: the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

For Barrigan, the company’s strategy is straightforward – it will continue to buy, fix and sell assets. “We manage our investments to a lower level of leverage than some opportunistic strategy,” she said. “Everything we do has a significant value-added component, transforming €1 of rent today into €2 tomorrow.”