Situs sets up Nordics arm to service HSH Nordbank book

Situs teams up with Helios to service German bank’s €3bn Nordics book

The Situs Group is expanding further into Europe by taking on the servicing of HSH Nordbank’s €3bn Nordic legacy loan book. The US-owned debt adviser and loan servicer has set up a joint venture with US debt adviser Helios AMC to manage the loans and has taken on HSH Nordbank’s 21-strong local team. Situs Nordic Services will be based in Copenhagen – the fourth European base for Situs, which also has offices in London, Dublin and Frankfurt.

Situs director Hugo Raworth said the agreement followed 18 months of talks with the German landesbank, which is retreating from non-core markets. He said the bank was keen to keep together the team that know the book and ensure continuity of service, and to find a cost-effective outsourcing deal.

“This was a chance to get a toehold in a new region, plus there is no other cradle-to-grave, third-party property loan advisory and servicing business in the Nordics,” Raworth said. Helios and Situs’s US arm have previously worked on joint mandates. Helios is 49% owned by Deutsche Bank and has been looking to expand into Europe. It will have a minority stake.

Deutsche Bank, which also has a London real estate loan servicing team, could be a potential client, “if they decide to do anything in the Nordics”. Raworth, who will be a director along with HSH’s Peter Lilja and Peter Wallqvist, said he planned to talk to debt investors and European banks with Nordic loan books “once we have bedded down HSH”.

Situs has focused on winning business from balance-sheet lenders rather than competing in the third-party CMBS servicing market, which is dominated by Capita and Hatfield Phillips. The Dublin office, led by Ryan Smith, has been advising the Irish Treasury and National Asset Management Agency. HSH Nordbank has yet to announce the strategy for its UK loanbook; it plans to close the London office in 2012.