New Real Estate Finance Firm Bulks Up on Old CMBS Hands

Ladder Capital — the fledgling financial firm that aims to underwrite big projects in New York City, perhaps one day filling the vacuum left by Wall Street’s demise — has hired seven executives with extensive experience in commercial mortgage-backed securities, according to Commercial Mortgage Alert, an industry trade magazine.

Brian Harris, the head of Ladder Capital who at one point led UBS’ global commercial real estate team, has hired Mark Fox, formerly at Capmark, as chief financial officer; Ed Peterson, formerly of Eurohypo, as head trader; Lee Warshaw and Jack Weisselberg, formerly of UBS, as loan originators; and Mike Casavant (Lehman Brothers), Michael Scarola (UBS) and Micah Goodman (Credit Suisse) as underwriters.

According to CMA:

"Harris founded Ladder three weeks ago with president Greta Guggenheim, general
counsel Pamela McCormack and asset-management chief Rob Perelman. The
firm’s chairman is Alan Fishman, a former top executive at Meridian Capita …

…Ladder’s business plan calls for buying seasoned commercial mortgages initially and originating loans down the line, using $650 million of equity contributed by Harris and a handful of institutions. The lead backers are GI Partners of Menlo Park, Calif., Meridian Capital of New York and TowerBrook Capital Partners of London.

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