Faris Lee Investments Launches Capital Markets Group Under the Direction of Financial Industry Veteran Richard Berlinghof


New York, NY – June 13, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — In a move to broaden its transactional, financial, and operational capabilities, Faris Lee Investments today announced the launch of the Faris Lee Capital Markets Group. The move provides an even deeper level of retail investment expertise to the firm and its clients. The leadership of Faris Lee believes that controlling the finance process is crucial to the profit, timing and certainty of closing an investment transaction. Richard Berlinghof, principal with Faris Lee Investments and a 26-year financial industry executive, has been named managing partner of the Capital Markets Group.

“Increasingly, the investments we see demand a broader level of expertise across the entire transaction. The increased complexity has encouraged us to further broaden our transactional, financial, and operational capabilities so that we can continue to provide the financial acumen and services today’s national operators and high net worth individuals need to be successful,” said Rick Chichester, chief operating officer, Faris Lee Investments.

The Capital Markets Group will provide a comprehensive and integrated spectrum of services, inclusive of investment sales, debt placement, structured finance, recapitalization, and equity. Additionally, the Capital Markets Group will offer financial advisory services, providing clients with optimal capital strategies and solutions.

“The commercial real estate market, although improving, is still saddled with many issues. This demands new and revitalized capital as well as a more strategic and disciplined financial approach to provide solutions to these issues,” Chichester added.

“Berlinghof has been a significant asset in the Faris Lee organization. He brings 26 years of financial industry contacts and expertise to the firm, making him the best choice to lead this capital markets focus,” added Rich Walter, president, Faris Lee Investments. “Even now we have more than $400 million in recapitalization underway and close to $1 billion in valuations. This firm is built to handle the complexities of today’s investment market.”

Berlinghof joined Faris Lee Investments in 2009, opening the firm’s New York office. He has commercial real estate experience encompassing lending, acquisitions, investment sales and mortgage banking. Prior to joining Faris Lee, Berlinghof was a director at Merrill Lynch where he was responsible for national originations of fixed and floating rate commercial real estate loans. He managed the group’s national origination teams which produced between $2 billion and $5 billion annually. He personally structured and closed loans totaling over $3 billion. Before Merrill Lynch, Berlinghof managed and structured loans for Morgan Stanley producing an average of $300 million of loans annually and was an active investment sales broker with Chesterton International. Berlinghof received a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and a MBA in Finance from UCLA, The Anderson School.

The Capital Markets Group will provide advisory services including recapitalization, loan restructuring and discounted loan payoffs; mortgage banking including senior first mortgage debt, mezzanine debt and bridge loans; and third party capital including equity, preferred equity and rescue equity. As part of this new structure, the Capital Markets Group will arrange debt and equity for all property types nationwide including retail, office, industrial, multifamily, self storage, and construction projects, working with clients large, overleveraged portfolios, as well as single property and construction financing projects.

“While the economy is showing signs of recovery, we still see troubled transactions that continue to challenge owners at all levels. I look forward to working to build this platform and further redefine the role of the brokerage firm in today’s highly complex investment market. This is about providing solutions at all stages of the investment relationship,” said Rich Berlinghof, managing partner, Faris Lee Capital Markets Group.

Berlinghof added that due to the return of the securitized markets six months ago and the availability of non-recourse financing, Faris Lee has been able to increase its transaction level as well as focus on larger transactions. He further noted that a large majority of debt structures of commercial real estate properties are over leveraged and require either a recapitalization of new debt and equity or else a restructuring of the existing debt

“Investment today demands that you offer more services to the clients,” said Walter. “It’s not enough to offer one financing option. You need a broad base of products. The advantage provided by our Capital Markets Group is that Berlinghof has vast experience including working on the capital markets side of business giving him a high level of access to and personal relationships with decision makers. Because lenders are overwhelmed with submissions and are understaffed, our Capital Markets Group will produce a product for them that they can understand and that we can directly place in order to get the transaction processed. This is a significant differentiator in working with Faris Lee.”

The launch of the Capital Markets Group follows Faris Lee’s national brokerage expansion having added offices in New York, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando and Atlanta. The firm is continuing to choose markets for expansion based on client demand and the best talent with plans to expand into more than 15 markets over the next few years.

About Faris Lee Investments
Faris Lee Investments is an advisory and brokerage firm specializing in retail real estate. The company’s team of high-level retail investment and financing experts develop forward-thinking strategies to maximize values of all retail acquisitions and dispositions and to guide clients through complex transactions. Cumulatively, the senior management team of Faris Lee has been involved in more than $20 billion of transactions. Faris Lee’s senior experts are skilled in disposition and acquisition strategies, 1031 exchanges, asset positioning and valuation, marketing, debt and equity structuring, strategic workout and REO solutions and execution. For more information, please visit www.farislee.com.

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