The Round-Up, October 2023

Navigating the Current Operational Landscape

To our valued clients and friends, 

After an admittedly “slow” summer, and as we approach the end of an intriguing year across the financial landscape, this version of our newsletter brings a more optimistic outlook on our prospects for the coming months. The consensus among industry experts suggests a softer (than expected) landing, steering clear of the recession clouds in the expanse of the US market. According to the most recent outlook from Goldman Sachs, the probability of a 12-month recession has gone down from 25% to 20%, citing a more confident view for the next year. Growth in the U.S. is also getting a sizable boost from a recovery in real disposable income and stabilization in the housing market.

Best wishes
George Giannopoulos

As we navigate the dynamic landscape of the real estate market, it is essential to acknowledge the current challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The ongoing persistence of elevated interest rates and high property pricing has ushered in a period of introspection within the real estate sector. Consequently, we find ourselves at a juncture where the pace of AUM growth has slowed down for a second consecutive year. The synergy of these market dynamics, coupled with increased pressure on compensation structures, has created an environment where astute management and strategic decision-making has become paramount.

Managers are now confronted with a challenge—maintaining operational efficacy in the face of slowing AUM growth trajectory, with the vast majority of the market avoiding layoffs and instead re-allocating resources. In this environment, the imperative for organizational efficiencies has never been more crucial. Efficiency, in this context, goes beyond mere cost-cutting; it entails a holistic approach to how we structure, operate, and optimize resources in the new era of the real estate world.

In this edition of our newsletter, we shed light on the prevailing conditions influencing the industry and the strategic imperatives they present to us. We are excited to feature two conversations that bring unique perspectives. Munther Hilal, Founder and Managing Director at Gate Capital, shares insights into the current status and growth of the KSA market. Additionally, Josephine Jones, Head of Strategic Advisory Capital at Knight Frank, discusses her transition into the real estate capital advisory world and her take on the current alternatives market.

Expert Opinion

Interview with Josephine Jones

Josephine Jones is Head of Strategic Capital at Knight Frank, and sits on Knight Frank Capital Advisory Board, covering capital finance sourcing and structuring across all sectors and from debt through to equity. Josephine has nearly two decades experience of originating, structuring, executing and advising on private debt finance, and has held roles including Head of Credit & Lending, Asia Pacific, and MD, Real Estate Finance, Asia for HSBC’s Global Banking division.

Over her banking career she has led over $30bn in transactions across Europe, Australasia and Asia, predominantly for large institutions. Her experience spans leveraged finance, infrastructure finance, corporate M&A and real estate finance. As a thought leader, she has led a number of firsts including the first Term Loan B in Australia, the first LBO in the Maldives, and the first cross-collateralised green real estate portfolio financing in India. Josephine holds an MA and BA from Oxford University, a diploma in Italian Language and Culture, the CFA designation, and a Level 7 Diploma in Non-Executive Board Directorship.

Josephine Jones

View from the Middle East

Munther Hilal

Sousou Partners were delighted to sit down with Munther Hilal as part of our series ‘View from the Middle East.’ In these interviews, we’ll be looking at the transformation happening in the region through the lens of real assets, showcasing the unique perspectives of individuals on the ground.

Munther Hilal is Founder and Managing Partner at Gate Capital, a Corporate Finance Advisory firm based in Dubai, UAE. Prior to this, he was the Chief Investments Officer at Unicorn Investment Bank and has served Senior Management roles at Regional Corporate and Family groups; and is known for his ability to source, structure and transact large complex deals. He also founded Capital Industries & Investments, a PE firm which won the best PE award in 2008.

Munther Hilal

Talking Points

Peter Field and Will Parker were delighted to attend EXPO Real in Munich, where the mood was contrasting across the capital stack. Many of the core owners and developers on the Continent, particularly those with large German or Nordic exposure, are bracing themselves for the pain to come in 2024 and 2025, as a wave of refinancing hits nervous lenders. Whilst the shadow bank market has certainly expanded rapidly over the preceding years, they will not be able to (or want to) absorb all of these loans. As such, many of the distressed investors, who have been gearing up with capital and talent since Covid first hit in 2020, are circling, ready to pick up the pieces.

For the UK market, the feeling was that due to the higher transparency when compared to the Continent, repricing has nearly all come through and, coupled with stabilizing interest rates, we could be about to see a golden vintage for UK investment, with Principals therefore looking to position themselves in well-capitalized platforms with few legacy assets. Keeping deal teams busy was a major headache for managers over the past 12 months, but most agree that a silver lining to this slowdown has been the opportunity to train acquisitions professionals in asset management, debt financing and capital markets, helping to create better-rounded investors for the future.

Key Moves

A highlight of key people moves within global real assets over the last quarter


  • PGIM appointed Eric Adler as President and Chief Executive Officer of the firm’s newly formed Private Alternatives business. Cathy Marcus and Raimondo Amabile will jointly succeed him as Co-Chief Executive Officers of Real Estate, with Sebastiano Ferrante taking over as Head of Europe for Real Estate
  • Zachary Vaughan joined Arrow Global Group as Head of Real Estate and will sit on the firm’s Investment Committee
  • Goldman Sachs Asset Management appointed Jim Garman as Global Head of Real Estate and Richard Spencer as Head of Real Estate, EMEA
  • Andrea Orlandi left CPPIB as Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Investments, Europe, with Tom Jackson taking over as Head of Real Estate, UK & Europe
  • Barings appointed Nick Pink as Head of European Real Estate, following the retirement of Charles Weeks
  • AXA IM Alts promoted Philippe Grasser to Head of European Transactions. Ulf Bachmann was appointed Chief Executive Officer for Germany, alongside his current role of Chief Transformation Officer Real Estate. Emilie Jaskula was appointed to Global Head of Offices in the Asset Management team
  • CBRE Capital Advisors hired Jeremy Eddy to lead the firm’s European living capital business
  • Lendlease appointed Andrea Ruckstuhl as Chief Executive Officer, Europe, Elle Xu as European Head of Acquisitions and Austin Mitchell as Head of Equity Capital Markets
  • Arjun Infrastructure Partners hired Asher Garnett as a Managing Director in its investor relations team
  • Warburg Pincus named Andrew Sibbald as Managing Director and Co-Head of Europe
  • JLL hired Paul Stepan as Head of Sustainability Consulting for EMEA
  • Niam hired Martin Bjӧӧrn as Portfolio Manager focused on Nordic retail
  • Savills IM appointed Kevin Aitchison as Managing Director of Equity Investments, Europe & UK, in anticipation of Kiran Patel’s retirement as Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer


  • Oxford Properties hired Chad Remis as its first-ever Chief Investment Officer. Liz Murphy has been named Chief Financial Officer
  • Manulife IM appointed Maggie Coleman as Chief Investment Officer, North America, Jessica Harrison as Head of US Acquisitions and Victor Calanog as Global Head of Research & Strategy
  • Blackstone appointed Rob Harper as Head of BREIT, with A.J. Agarwal taking a nine-month sabbatical
  • CalSTRS appointed Mike DiRe as Senior Investment Director of Private Markets


  • Warburg Pincus hired Takashi Murata as Co-Head of Asia Real Estate. Ellen Ng has been promoted to Co-Head of Asia Real Estate. Jeffrey Perlman was named President of the firm, while Timothy Geithner was named Chairman
  • Goldman Sachs Asset Management hired Nickhil Reddy as Asia Pacific Head of Real Estate
  • Fidelity International appointed Tan Jenn-Hui as Chief Sustainability Officer
  • AEW hired Christopher Chiang as Head of Acquisitions for Asia Pacific
  • Angelo Gordon appointed Marc Lessner and Xavier Dailly as Co-Deputy Portfolio Managers of its open-ended structured credit fund


A look at some of the largest real estate deals over the last quarter

Sector Focus: M&A

Sector Focus: Logistics

Market Insights

Market Trends

  • Investment in European living assets exceeded all other real estate asset classes in Q2 2023, totalling €10.6bn across multifamily, student and healthcare
  • The growth of artificial intelligence is driving a huge growth in demand for Data Centres, with tech giants such as Microsoft and Google ramping up CapEx in the sector
  • Related Argent gained consent for a pioneering 9-storey mass-timber office building at the Brent Cross Town redevelopment in London. The project will use off-site construction to set industry-leading targets for embodied carbon reduction, operational efficiency and user wellbeing
  • Vonovia, Germany’s largest landlord, reported €2.7bn in asset value decline despite rental business growth
  • Swedish landlord SBB is exploring the sale of a controlling stake of its residential arm, which owns 23,000 apartments

Fund Raises

  • Bain Capital is targeting $3.75bn for its third Real Estate Fund, Bain Capital Real Estate Fund III. The firm is also set to launch its first dedicated European property credit strategy, targeting €400m
  • Gaw Capital Partners closed Gateway Real Estate Fund VII with $3bn in capital commitments
  • Henderson Park raised £1.3bn for its latest European value-add fund
  • Blackstone raised an initial $1.3bn for its latest European opportunistic real estate fund, BREP VII
  • HIG is looking to raise €1bn for its latest value-add European real estate fund, HIG Europe Realty Partners III
  • Tishman Speyer and Raffles Family Office are seeking $500m from private wealth investors for their inaugural real estate fund
  • Deutsche Finance International launched a UK urban logistics venture with Argo Real Estate, aiming to amass a portfolio worth around £400m in the coming years
  • Macquarie Asset Management announced the final close of Macquarie European Logistics Real Estate Fund with c. €260m in investor commitments
  • Grosvenor is finalising a £100m joint venture to target real estate debt in the UK

Life Science & Innovation

  • UBS Asset Management and Reef Group secured approval for one of Europe’s largest life science campuses in Stevenage. The £900m campus will provide c. 146k sq. m. of lab, office and GMP facilities
  • British Land unveiled plans to transform London’s Euston Tower into a life sciences and innovation hub
  • Kadans Science Partner acquired Harrow House in Oxford from Oxford Biomedica in a sale-leaseback transaction
  • King’s College London teamed up with Pioneer Group to develop 95k sq. ft. of incubator facilities for £180m


  • Sean Tarrant, formerly Head of Portfolio Finance at Bain Capital Credit, is set to launch Atlas Capital Partners, a new credit fund business
  • Blackstone is considering another logistics CMBS deal in Europe before the end of the year after successfully placed a £263m Citi-backed CMBS in August
  • CBRE IM sourced a €275m logistics loan from two Dutch and one French bank to support their pan-European logistics platform
  • Brookfield put up €57m in new capital to cover debt interest payments on its struggling €424m German residential portfolio


  • Fundraising in the infrastructure secondaries market has seen a flurry of activity: Goldman Sachs Asset Management raised c. $1bn for the firm’s debut commingled vehicle dedicated to infrastructure secondaries; Hamilton Lane is seeking c.$1.25bn for Hamilton Lane Infrastructure Opportunities Fund II, while Pantheon wants to raise $3bn for Pantheon Global Infrastructure Fund IV; Ares Management is seeking $2bn for Secondaries Infrastructure Solutions III
  • CVC bought a majority stake in DIF Capital Partners in a deal worth about €1bn.
  • Bridgepoint Group is set buy Energy Capital Partners for an initial £835m
  • Ex-Ørsted Hornsea 1 Chief Hamish Yates founded Neptune Infrastructure Associates, an independent renewables asset management business