Gramercy Capital Corp., New York, has set up a real estate securities business that will focus on the acquisition, trading, and financing of commercial mortgage-backed securities and other real estate-related securities.Joseph Romano, formerly a CMBS portfolio manager with TIAA-CREF, has joined Gramercy's external adviser as senior vice president to head the newly formed group, Gramercy reported. Initially, Gramercy will be targeting between $500 million and $1.0 billion of investments that will include CMBS, real estate investment trust debt, credit default swaps, preferred securities, and other real estate securities. The new business line is expected to complement Gramercy's lending platform by enabling it to obtain term financing for fixed-rate loans originated by Gramercy. "Having built a very successful direct commercial real estate lending franchise, we believe this is the right time in the company's evolution to launch its real estate debt securities platform," said Marc Holliday, Gramercy Capital Corp.'s chief executive officer.

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