Commercial Mortgage Alert - September 28, 2012

GE Alumnus Expanding Advisory Firm

A commercial real estate advisory firm led by former GE Capital executive Jack Mullen is branching out, offering asset-management services to its clients.

Since its launch in early 2009, Summer Street Advisors of Westport, Conn., has handled various types of analytics and risk-management work on about $15 billion of assets for banks, fund shops, private investors, special servicers and other clients.

As an asset manager, Summer Street goes a step further by arranging and executing transactions on behalf of individual clients, using brokers, banks and other service providers as needed, Mullen said. The new service “eliminates the learning curve of hiring an outside asset-management firm,” he said.

“Once the upfront servicing, management and execution of a transaction is complete, our expert teams can manage the new and updated assets,” said managing director Steven Jason, who is spearheading the asset-management effort.

Mullen founded Summer Street shortly after leaving GE in early 2009. As the firm continues to grow its core business, Mullen expects the asset-management initiative to account for 30% of its revenue by the end of next year. “It’s just a natural, organic expansion of what we’ve been doing already, building on our analytics,” he said.

Summer Street focuses on commercial real estate equity and debt investments, including commercial MBS. Investors, lenders and other parties to such transactions often hire the firm to help analyze or work out distressed assets they own or want to take on. Summer Street specializes in conducting due diligence, assessing risk, assigning values and assisting clients in developing asset-management strategies.

The firm has six staffers, as well as analysts who work on a contract basis. More employees will be added as the business grows, Mullen said.

Mullen spent six years at GE, most recently as a senior underwriter in Norwalk, Conn. He worked on the global valuation team, which evaluated the risk associated with investments in debt, joint-venture equity and corporate acquisitions in the commercial real estate sector. Mullen previously spent six years as a commercial-mortgage underwriter at now-defunct lender Finova Capital of Paramus, N.J., and nine years in the corporate-lending unit at Chase Manhattan Bank.

Download the September 28, 2012 issue of CMA

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