Standard Life debt platform closes first loan

The firm has also supplemented its team by hiring Caroline Snowden as commercial lending manager.

Standard Life Investments has closed its first senior debt investment since launching its commercial real estate lending business last September.

The debt platform, headed by Neil Odom-Haslett, has also made a senior hire, taking on Caroline Snowden as commercial lending manager.

The first deal is a £50m ($84 million; €62 million) participation in a £143m loan made by German bank Helaba to UK quoted property company LondonMetric.

The £143m facility is an expansion of a slightly smaller loan arranged and underwritten by Helaba for LondonMetric last July. It is secured on a now-increased portfolio of distribution warehouses.

Helaba syndicated the debt to Standard Life through its new London-based debt capital markets team. Norbert Kellner, head of debt capital markets for real estate at the bank, said it was the first major syndication for his team, which is also working on several more in continental Europe.

Odom-Haslett said closing the deal was a “milestone” for the debt platform, which has £250m to invest in senior loans on behalf of in-house client Standard Life Assurance.

Unlike some insurance mandates which are investing to match annuity liabilities, Standard Life’s is for shorter, three-seven year maturities.

In addition to the deal, SLI bolstered its team. Snowden was previously at JC Rathbone Associates, where she specialised in real estate finance advisory work. She is based at the debt business’s St Mary Axe offices in the City. Odom-Haslett joined Standard Life Investments last August from pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank.

Helaba is one of the leading European senior lenders, making €8bn of loans last year. The bank says that offering participations in its loans to new entrants is one way to increase its access to opportunities in an increasingly competitive lending market.