Cornerstone builds debt team as Laxfield bows out

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers is building up its own senior debt origination capability after appointing former RBS banker Chris Bates as head of European property finance.

Cornerstone will not renew its debt sourcing contract with Laxfield Capital after Bates starts on 2nd September. Laxfield sourced and services Cornerstone’s first UK senior loan, an £83m refinancing for Derwent London.

Cornerstone Europe CEO Charles Weeks said: “The relationship with Laxfield was very successful and provided an entree to the market. It was always our intention to set up our own infrastructure, which Laxfield knew from the outset.” Laxfield originates and services loans for a range of clients including Münchener Hyp, MetLife and GIC.

Bates will be responsible for origination and execution of all debt investing opportunities, initially focusing on the UK, then northern European senior lending, for which Cornerstone has capital from its US clients, including parent MassMutual. He will build up a team in line with that expansion.

Bates spent 10 years at RBS, latterly as real estate managing director in secured debt markets, with a focus on the UK, but was also responsible for deals in France and Germany. He also worked at GE Capital Real Estate and Chelsfield.