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Citizens group asks Minnesota to review Landmark relationship

Community organisers cited the secondaries firm's 2019 investment in Pretium Partners, whose portfolio company HavenBrook is facing scrutiny.

A citizens group is calling on one of America’s largest public pension funds to review its relationship with Landmark Partners.

On Wednesday, at a public meeting of the Minnesota State Board of Investment, Chloe Jackson of United Renters for Justice asked the pension’s board not to invest with the secondaries firm because of its connection with residential real estate manager Pretium Partners.

Pretium is a minority shareholder in Front Yard Residential and its subsidiary HavenBrook Homes, which together form the second-largest provider of single-family homes in the US.

At the meeting, residents said that HavenBrook mismanaged its properties and raised costs through hidden fees. Residents also claimed that the company ignored or insufficiently addressed the complaints of residents, predominantly people of colour.

“My issue has to do with HavenBrook, who is also benefiting from private equity companies that the state invests in. Me and my family have experienced health conditions due to the poor management of HavenBrook,” said one resident.

Pretium invested in Front Yard via a joint venture with Ares Management in 2020. Ares completed its acquisition of Landmark in June this year.

In 2019, Landmark led the $1.5-billion recapitalisation of 2013-vintage Pretium Residential Real Estate Fund, later renamed Single-Family Rental Fund I, in one of the biggest GP-led transactions in the real estate space.

“[MSBI] has invested $150 million with Landmark Real Estate Fund VIII and in 2019 Landmark Partners in turn invested in Pretium Partners. Pretium has now purchased HavenBrook homes… The state is basically investing money in companies that exploit and extract from housing primarily on the north side of Minneapolis,” said Jackson.

Single-Family Rental Fund I, the Landmark-backed continuation fund, is not invested in Front Yard Residential, according to a spokesman for Pretium. Landmark has no direct exposure to HavenBrook Homes.

After the testimonies, Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison said that while his office had received complaints with regards to HavenBrook, he could not share anything further.

“Where you see any market participant dominating a market, including housing, that is a particular concern,” he said.

Minnesota invested $150 million in Landmark’s 2016-vintage eighth flagship real estate vehicle, according to Secondaries Investor data.

A memo drafted on 9 August by the pension’s investment advisory council contained a recommendation to the board to re-up in Landmark Real Estate Partners IX. No investment decision appears to have been made at Wednesday’s meeting and reference to a consideration of commitment to Landmark Real Estate Partners IX no longer appeared on Minnesota SBI’s website as of Friday morning.

A spokesman for Ares declined to comment.