Press release from Real Estate Capital:
Retaining Property Debt Specialists

Compensation Lenders reward key personnel as their loan books grow. 

As European commercial real estate loan portfolios have grown in volume and complexity, lending organisations have become more focused on retaining property debt specialists, according to the findings of a recent compensation survey, writes Daniel Cunningham.

The survey was compiled exclusively for Real Estate Capital by executive search firm Sousou Partners. By combining compensation data from actual people moves within the property debt market in 2019 with pay scales reported by the firm’s employer clients, Sousou compiled salary and bonus ranges across different types of organisation and levels of seniority, based on 424 data points weighted towards the European market.

The results revealed that lending market professionals with 15 years’ or more experience can earn the highest salaries and bonuses in the investment banking part of the market. At the top end of the scale, the investment banks paid as much as €1.9 million in 2019, including bonuses.

However, Europe’s real estate debt funds were not too far behind in cash compensation; With the most experienced executives earning up to €1.8 million last year.

Property lending businesses within Europe’s insurance sector lag the investment banks and debt funds on compensation, although senior executives could earn as much as €1.2 million last year, at the top end of the scale. Sousou’s data does not include the commercial banking part of the market which, although a large component of the overall market, is fragmented.

Although the data provide a snapshot of compensation across the industry, Sousou’s discussions with market participants provided insight into hiring trends. Serene Hamzawi, London-based managing partner at Sousou, says the firm’s conversations with employers revealed that growth in assets under management across many organisations, particularly in the non-bank sector, is shaping their hiring and personnel strategies.

“As in the wider real assets market, the drive to hire the right people is coming from the pressure to diversify product ranges, either by moving up or down the risk curve,” she explains. “For example, groups which had, until recently, focused on mezzanine debt, are adding senior lending specialists to their teams. We are also seeing equity-focused managers adding debt professionals as they expand into lending. Everyone is trying to offer more to their clients.”

PUBLISHED at, Real Estate Capital – Spring 2020.