Henderson seeks property debt head as Feeney quits

Feeney’s move to Lloyds triggers search for new head to lead debt push

Henderson is looking for a replacement  for John Feeney to head its move into debt investing.

Feeney is joining Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in May as managing director, head of corporate real estate, taking over from Lynda Shillaw.

In the meantime, Feeney has been working with Henderson’s head of property, Mike Sales, to find a new head of real estate debt.

Henderson has been working for a year on launching two debt investment strategies, one in the senior debt market and one in junior lending.

A spokeswoman  said the fund manager  is in talks with a strategic investor regarding the business’s development and launch – discussions that started before Feeney resigned.

Another senior real estate banker moving roles is Steve Williamson, who joined CBRE Real Estate Finance this month as a senior director.

Williamson, an originator at Deutsche Bank for 15 years, will explore setting up a UK senior lending business  at CBRE with Cairn Capital.

CBRE and Cairn are thought to be in the early stages of discussing  potential opportunities together. One option could be to raise private capital to make senior loans in the UK market.

Williamson’s move illustrates the changes going on in the UK lending market, with some banks withdrawing altogether and new lenders appearing.

Smith: quit Laxfield Capital to run his own fund for CPC Group's Omni Capital Partners
Smith: quit Laxfield Capital to run his own
fund for CPC Group’s Omni Capital Partners

Meanwhile, Dan Smith has left Laxfield Capital, the property debt origination and advisory business he joined last August as head of origination.

Smith has gone to Omni Capital Partners, the residential financing fund owned by Christian Candy’s CPC Group.

Emma Huepfl, a director of Laxfield, said: “Dan had a fantastic offer he felt he couldn’t pass up to run his own fund.”

She said he would not be directly replaced for now.

Laxfield has promoted Alex Lanni to head of transactions and has recruited two analysts, who start next month.

In January, the company announced a programme to invest up to £1bn in UK commercial mortgages over the next two years.

The programme is backed by Singapore’s GIC, which will retain a substantial junior investment in each loan.