SJ Berwin property partner David Ryland has won a new role as adviser to property private equity house Palmer Capital Partners (PCP), despite difficult market conditions for developers.
A property finance specialist, Ryland has just completed his first piece of work for PCP, a £200m five-year joint venture between PCP-backed property company Frontier Estates and UK pension fund Chubb Common Investment, advised by Slaughter and May. The Frontier Key Fund will invest in development opportunities in London, the South East and the Midlands, concentrating on sites worth between £1m and £10m. It is structured as a corporate-based joint venture vehicle rather than a partnership and has bucked the current trend for inactivity among property funds. Ryland's appointment followed a successful pitch for a similar piece of work for PCP, which is still in the pipeline. Managing and legal director Christopher Digby-Bell said PCP had been looking to add a new adviser to its preferred list. "We think David Ryland is one of the leading property finance lawyers and he seemed the obvious choice to advise on this fund," he said. "Having looked carefully at the market and interviewed a number of people we believe that in this area of fairly sophisticated property finance work there are only about half a dozen specialist lawyers and David is one of those. "He is now certainly on the panel for specialist property finance work." Frontier's advisers are usually Berwin Leighton Paisner, Forsters and Iliffes Booth Bennett. They continue to advise Frontier on property development. Ryland said he was delighted to be involved with PCP. "As a firm it gives us more exposure to interesting work. "It is slightly unusual for a pension fund to commit to a joint venture with a property company, as opposed to building up its own property portfolio. This joint venture shows the reputation that PCP has achieved in the marketplace."