L&G hires Blackstone exec to grow property debt unit

Lorna Brown, a former Blackstone Real Estate managing director, has joined the UK insurer as head of real estate debt for the EMEA region.

Legal & General, the UK-based insurance company, has appointed Lorna Brown to develop its existing real estate debt business and expand its scope for internal and external clients.

Brown joins the LGIM Real Assets team from Blackstone, where she worked as managing director in the real estate division, having a diverse range of roles including sourcing, evaluating and asset managing real estate investments across Europe. Prior to this, Brown was head of real estate restructuring at Royal Bank of Scotland, where she worked for more than 10 years.

LGIM Real Assets has made two additional senior appointments to its private credit business. From the asset management unit of US insurer New York Life, Stuart Hitchcock joins L&G as senior portfolio manager for clients investing in private credit assets. In addition, Matthew Taylor has been hired as senior investment manager of corporate private debt. He previously worked at HSBC, overseeing corporate securitisations within the bank’s structured bonds team.

The firm said the hires will support the development of its Private Credit platform within LGIM Real Assets. Prior to the incorporation of the private credit business, the firm’s property lending function was known as Legal & General Commercial Lending Limited.

In a newly created position, Brown will report to the head of private credit, Nicholas Bamber. Ashley Goldblatt’s role remains unchanged, although his job title has been changed from head of real estate lending to property debt investment manager, to reflect the wider scope of the expanded team. He will report to Brown.

“Lorna is a senior and established player in the real estate debt market, her appointment will facilitate the growth and appetite for debt,” Bamber told Real Estate Capital.

“L&G has been quite active in private credit for about five years, and we are now expecting to increase our volumes in real estate debt. We intend to increase lending to high-quality investment opportunities on the back of our growing client appetite,” he added.

Bamber explained the initial focus for the real estate debt unit will be the UK market but its debt offer will expand geographically over time.

LGIM Real Assets’ private credit platform now manages approximately £7 billion (€7.86 billion) of private credit assets, having deployed approximately £2.7 billion of new money in 2017. These investments include lending across the infrastructure, corporate and real estate sectors in the UK, US, EMEA and Australia.