BentallGreenOak’s Schwarzschild leaves firm for RE credit manager

The industry veteran is joining the New York-based credit shop as it closes its first institutional private fund.

Just two years after BentallGreenOak acquired Metropolitan Real Estate and rebranded the secondaries business as BGO Strategic Capital Partners, the platform is facing a leadership change.

Sarah Schwarzschild, BGO SCP’s managing director and co-head of the platform, is leaving to join Mavik Capital Management, a New York-based manager focused on US commercial real estate credit and special situations, as its chief operating officer, according to an investor letter seen by affiliate title PERE.

John So will remain co-head of BGO SCP. Schwarzschild will be replaced by Cherine Aboulzelof, the platform’s current head of Europe, a source with knowledge of the situation told PERE. Aboulzelof also joined BGO as part of the Metropolitan purchase, having worked there for just over four years prior to the sale.

So had recommended Aboulzelof as the platform’s new co-head, PERE understands. The business wanted to keep the co-head structure, given the global nature of the team. So is based in Hong Kong while Aboulzelof is based in London.

PERE understands that Schwarzschild is receiving an ownership stake in Mavik as part of the move. One source said the executive is departing BGO on good terms. “It’s hard to begrudge someone who wants to do something entrepreneurial,” the source said.

Inaugural fund

Schwarzschild joins credit specialist Mavik as the firm closes its inaugural institutional private fund. Mavik Real Estate Special Opportunities Fund closed last week with $335 million in commitments against an initial target of $300 million. One investor tracked by PERE data is City of Lakeland Employees’ Pension and Retirement System, which committed $11 million in September.

Prior to launching the fund, the firm previously raised capital via a real estate investment trust.

In her new role, Schwarzschild will be primarily focused on Mavik’s day-to-day operations and report directly to chief executive officer and chief investment officer Vik Uppal. She will also aid in investment strategy and business development.

The New York-based opportunistic investment firm launched the fund in 2020, initially raising capital from employees and from friends and family, a source familiar with the fundraise said. After the first year, Mavik began institutional fundraising, attracting commitments from five US public pension funds and the support of three investment consultants, they added. Around 70 percent of the capital came from US investors, with the remainder coming mostly from the Middle East.

Mavik has made 11 investments from the fund thus far, using around 40 percent of the capital. The majority of those investments were funded from capital raised in the fund’s initial close and comprised a seed portfolio to attract further investors. The source said the fund is expected to be 70 percent invested by the end of this year, based on the pipeline.

Three of the fund’s investments have already been realised, generating 27 percent IRR and a 1.3x equity multiple. Fund-level returns are 19.9 percent net IRR and a 1.7x net equity multiple, according to the investor letter seen by PERE.

Mavik’s typical deal size is between $10 million and $30 million but it can commit up to $50 million. The firm’s strategy is focused on both buying and originating credit across property types and debt structures.

One of the targeted opportunities for the fund is providing rescue and special situations capital. Rescue capital can include financing for building improvements to help a borrower execute a business plan or injecting capital into an asset backed by a loan nearing or in default.

Another emerging opportunity is secondaries, and Schwarzschild is expected to help the firm expand its presence in that space. Secondaries opportunities for Mavik can take the form of recapitalisations and non-performing loans, the source said.

Uppal joined Terra Capital Partners in 2018 as CIO and became chief executive in December of the same year. Mavik was started in 2021 as a successor firm of Terra. Previous to Mavik, Uppal had stints at Mount Kellett Capital Management and Fortress Investment Group. The firm’s current assets under management are around $1 billion. Blackstone took an undisclosed stake in the company in 2021.