Real EstateWealthtech

Barings appoints new head of research and strategy for real estate investments

Global investment giant, Barings, announced Monday that Dags Chen will take the helm of its U.S. Real Estate Research and Strategy division.

Chen, alongside Barings European Research and Strategy Head Paul Stewart, will lead Barings’ strategic research team in thesis generation, market forecasting and quantitative analytics in real estate.

Chen joins Barings, a subsidiary of MassMutual, after almost four years as the Head of Real Estate Research at Ares Management (NYSE: ARES) – a global alternative investment manager. At Ares, Chen provided senior leadership with market analysis and strategies for its investment teams.

Prior to Ares, Chen served as Vice President of Research and Strategy at Clarion Partners – a New York-based real estate investment manager. Chen eventually came full circle as he actually began his career as an analyst with the Barings Research team (formerly Cornerstone Real Estate) almost 15 years ago.

Chen, who will report to John Ockerbloom, Co-Head of U.S. Real Estate, replaces the previous Head of U.S. Real Estate Research, who has retired.

“Collaboration between the investment and research teams across equity and debt is critical to understanding market opportunity and in turn executing our investment theses. Barings is known for our industry leading research capabilities and Dags’ hire only furthers this group’s impact,” Ockerbloom said.

In tandem with his appointment, Chen will also be a member of Barings’ U.S. Real Estate senior leadership team and will serve on the U.S. Equity and U.S. Debt Investment committees.

“The opportunities presented before our industry are massive, exciting, and challenging,” Chen said.

“The COVID pandemic has shifted and will continue to shift the real estate investment landscape in ways we never anticipated. I am thrilled to join the dynamic professionals at Barings Real Estate and to help plot the way forward alongside a deep bench of researchers,” Chen added. 

As of the end of December, Barings holds $391 billion in assets under management, with a hefty track record in real estate investments.

Following Chen’s appointment on Monday, the firm revealed it agreed on two loans to KKR and Palm Capital in Ireland for a total of circa €225 million (roughly $253 million USD).

The portfolio comprises a total of 73 properties, which are located primarily in Greater Dublin and Naas Enterprise Business Park, and is 97% let to a range of occupiers, including investment-grade rating tenants. These loans mark Barings’ lender debut into the Ireland logistics market.

Two weeks prior, The Promise Home, one of the largest black-owned single-family rental companies in the U.S. announced it had secured a $200 million debt facility via Barings. According to Black Enterprise, this transaction represents one of the 10 largest capital raises for a Black-owned company over the last decade.

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