M&G appoints real estate finance co-heads as team chief Barakat departs

Duncan Batty and Dan Riches will be taking on John Barakat’s role at M&G as he leaves the property lending platform he set up 12 years ago.

M&G Investments, the London-based investment manager, has appointed Duncan Batty and Dan Riches as co-heads of its real estate finance team within its £67.2 billion (€77.4 billion) private and alternative assets division.

Batty and Riches, both existing directors in the team, will replace team head John Barakat, who is leaving the business he founded 12 years ago and has been leading since.

John Barakat
John Barakat: leaving M&G after 12 years

The property credit veteran is one of the pioneering figures in the European non-bank real estate debt market. The former Goldman Sachs investment banker launched M&G Investments’ real estate lending strategy in 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. In 2008, with banks having retrenched from the market, M&G started raising institutional capital with the aim to lending to real estate sector sponsors.

Barakat’s future career plans have not been made public. A spokesperson for M&G told Real Estate Capital he decided to leave the business and goes with M&G’s thanks for his contribution over the past decade. Since its inception 12 years ago, the firm’s real estate finance unit has grown to become one of Europe’s largest non-bank real estate lending platforms. To date, the unit has provided more than €11 billion of senior, mezzanine and whole loan finance through commingled funds and segregated mandates. In 2020 alone, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the platform managed to deploy £1.6 billion into the market.

Duncan Batty

The new co-heads will be responsible for leading a 17-strong team that originates deals and deploys capital in commercial mortgages across the UK, Europe and the US on behalf of around 100 global institutional investors.

They will lead the team into a new phase of growth, set to focus, according to the company, on the internationalisation of its origination capabilities.

In a statement announcing the appointments, William Nicoll, chief investment officer of private and alternative Assets at M&G, said: “In Batty and Riches we have two astute investors who will lead this team through its next phase by further internationalising our origination capability to reflect growing investor demand, deepening our relationships with existing sponsors and selecting transactions that are designed to provide our investors with the secured income, good relative value and sustainability credentials that we believe the asset class has to offer.”

Dan Riches

Batty joined M&G in 2011 and has been involved since in the establishment and management of commingled funds and segregated accounts. With 15 years in the real estate finance industry, he was a solicitor prior to joining the business. Riches, who has more than two decades’ experience in real estate finance, joined M&G in 2010 to focus on the origination and execution of transactions. In 2020, he led on close to £1 billion worth of transactions, including the £303 million loan for the acquisition of 1 & 2 New Ludgate in the City of London, one of the largest debt deals done by a non-bank lender in 2020.