Steadfast Launches New Securities Division to Capitalize on Anticipated CRE Opportunities

With an eye on the impending onslaught of maturing debt in the real estate marketplace, Steadfast Cos. has just kicked off Steadfast Capital Markets Group L.L.C., a new securities and financial services division. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based diversified real estate investment concern’s new division will give investors the opportunity to join forces with the company and take advantage of the increasing opportunities presented by the existing real estate cycle. J. Grayson Sanders, former CNL Fund Advisors Co. president, has been tapped as CEO and will head up development of investment products and supervise sales and distribution activities. Aaron Cook (pictured), a 13-year veteran of the securities and financial services industry, has come on board as president to spearhead development and distribution of SCMG’s privately placed and publicly registered investment products via retail broker-dealer and institutional avenues. “The current dislocation in the real estate markets is going to create buy-side investment opportunities, and we’re looking to capitalize on those and provide investors with the ability to partner with us as a diversified real estate investment management firm,” Cook told CPN. “As cap rates continue to expand, you will see more and more opportunities to buy at a discount. We’re looking at real estate that may not be easily refinanced; properties that, due to maturing debt, will probably have to be sold. We are looking to offer investors the ability to invest with us on those types of properties or funds. Our goal is to offer the investing public the ability to invest in a Steadfast-sponsored program and leverage our track record and the successes we’ve had in real estate.” SCMG is also touting another advantage it affords. “We have no legacy portfolio with challenges like what you’ve seen with a lot of REIT products,” Cook said. SCMG will target a variety of asset classes, focusing on the multi-family sector over the next 12 to 18 months and beyond, in addition to the industrial market during the next 12 to 24 months; the hotel sector may be looked at, as well. Beyond that, SCMG will take a wait-and-see approach. While the distressed property market has not yet reached its prime, Cook believes the timing is just right for SCMG’s launch. “We’re seeing the beginning of buy-side investment opportunities right now and we’ll see the shoe drop further over the next 24 months,” he said. “We’re going to be expanding our division and adding 50 to 60 people over that time; we will continue to build our capital markets division in order to provide the proper sales support and services for our investors.”