Madison International Realty has hired a listed real estate specialist to “formalise” its growing activity in the space.

Madison, more closely associated with acquiring direct stakes in individual properties, has appointed Andrew Schaffler to the newly created position of director of listed real estate securities.

Schaffler, who was a portfolio manager at Cohen Steers, a specialist in listed real estate strategies, will oversee all listed activities from the New York office.

Madison has been using the public markets for five years as another way of accessing prime real estate at a discount. Most recently it bought shares in Songbird Estates, which recently sold London’s Canary Wharf Estate to Brookfield and Qatar Investment Authority.

Ronald Dickerman, CEO of Madison, told IP Real Estate that the public markets offered an alternative means of pursuing its “quality at a discount” strategy that for most part comprises buying discounted stakes in direct assets.

“The purpose of hiring Andrew is to formalise our activities in the listed property space,” he said.

Dickerman said Madison’s experience in the listed real estate markets – which started with its investment in Tishman Speyer Office Properties, an Australian REIT – had disproved certain theories about the listed real estate markets.

He explained: “Everybody says… public markets are perfect and they reflect forward-thinking information and there are no bargains.

“We have found that to be absolutely false. There are a lot of misunderstood property companies.”

Dickerman said Madison bought into Songbird Estates at £1.40 per share before selling to Brookfield and Qatar at £3.50.

“Not a bad return for investing in prime London office buildings,” he said.

Asked whether the added volatility of listed markets posed a problem for Madison and its investors, Dickerman said: “We are value investors. We are not traders. So we are willing to incur some market volatility in order to access these opportunities.”

Madison, which raised $825m for its most recent fund, is understood to be raising capital for a successor. The company would not comment.