Asset manager makes surprise move into commercial finance

Asset manager makes surprise move into commercial finance


A leading mortgage servicing firm is now permanently positioned to handle commercial property, firmly establishing the growing opportunities in the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) sector in the year ahead. 

Working purely as a mortgage servicer on behalf of funding providers, London and Skipton based Oakwood Global Finance LLP, have identified that their residential unique selling point is also highly beneficial to the commercial market, with very little competitors offering the same kind of service in this sector. 

Established in 2003, with predecessor companies dating back to the 1990s, Oakwood has a long standing reputation in the residential mortgage space, and currently has approximately 17,000 loan accounts (approximate total £2.5 billion) under management. Product types under management include prime, prime self-cert, near prime, buy to let and complex buy to let, sub-prime and self-cert.

In entering the CRE market Oakwood plans to replicate its outcome-based approach to loan servicing, and is confident that its market leading systems, infrastructure and market knowledge will deliver superior returns to CRE investors.

Heading up the CRE Loan Servicing division, Oakwood Global Finance LLP has hired Emily Hadley, marking the official launch of this new commercial offering who will be responsible for all of Oakwood’s primary and special commercial real estate loan servicing activities, and will also play an advisory role for Oakwood clients seeking to invest in CRE debt portfolios.

She explains Oakwood’s move into this new asset class: “We expect significant opportunities to arise for servicers and acquirers of distressed European CRE loans driven primarily by the increasing pressure on Banks and other holders of CRE loans to divest their holdings for regulatory and other reasons.  Consequently, portfolios and single loans of mixed credit quality are trading into private equity funds and other investment vehicles, and we expect this trend to intensify in the future.

“Significant volumes of CRE loans are also facing maturity events over the next three years and will need to be refinanced; those that cannot source refinancing liquidity are most likely to be restructured, sold consensually or liquidated.

“It is in this environment that our return driven approach to special servicing expertise can really add value. As banks currently have limited liquidity, origination of new CRE loans is picking up through the non- bank lending channels, which is also leading to new CRE loan servicing opportunities.

“Oakwood will be well-positioned to manage these loans utilising teams of subject-matter experts that not only understand the performance of debt portfolios, but also understand the true value of the security underpinning the asset: the hard real estate.

“As well as financial and real-estate expertise, Oakwood has robust infrastructure in place with technology, procedures, compliance and of course people to deal with large-scale mortgage books.”

James Bamber, an Oakwood Partner, adds:  “Oakwood is actively developing its ability to offer a broader range of services to its existing and potential clients. Commercial real estate loans represent one of the largest assets classes in the debt trading space.

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