Octopus makes hire in drive to boost third-party capital

The specialist lender has hired former real estate banker Matthew Pritchard as it aims to expand its sources of capital.

Specialist lender Octopus Property has appointed Matthew Pritchard as head of structuring to grow the firm’s residential, buy-to-let, bridging and commercial loan books.

Pritchard, who has more than 23 years of experience in lending, fixed income and securitisation, will be responsible for sourcing and structuring additional third-party capital, predominantly in the form of debt financing. He will report to Octopus’s chief executive Mario Berti.

The firm said it is aiming to broaden the number and types of its lenders and investors to raise capital.

“Recognising the cyclical nature of the market and the ongoing retrenchment of the more traditional lenders, Octopus is targeting growth in its lending,” Pritchard told Real Estate Capital. The firm is introducing “more competitively priced” loan products to support this goal.

“Growth opportunities include lending outside central London, both in more affordable commuter-belt locations where demand remains strong and prices are more resilient, as well as in strong performing regional cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol,” Pritchard said.

Prior to this role, Pritchard spent six years as a portfolio manager and head of the European real estate debt investment team at Man Global Private Markets. During this time, he was responsible for managing a real estate-backed bond fund as well as launching, investing and managing European residential and commercial real estate private debt strategies.

Pritchard also spent four years at Depfa Bank as a team head responsible for providing asset management services in respect of a €5 billion structured bond portfolio, having previously held fixed income and securitisation related roles at Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and UBS.

“Matthew’s proven track record in lending, fixed income and securitisation provides us with an opportunity to leverage his deep expertise of the sector to further enable our drive towards growing into a multi-billion-pound specialist lender,” Berti said.

The appointment follows an “active” first half of 2018, with circa £340 million (€388 million) of debt committed to date across projects including refurbishments, ground-up developments, commercial acquisitions and developer exits, the firm said.