Debt specialist Allrise Financial Group is planning to launch real estate funds in the US and Europe, and a joint venture in Russia.

The privately-owned US financial services firm has appointed Inna Zhuranskaya – formerly of GIC and Merill Lynch – as its new CEO to oversee its expansion.

Allrise told IPE Real Assets it plans to create a $100m-plus fund to provide senior and bridge loans in the US. It will also look to expand into mezzanine loans and preferred equity.

Two other funds being planned will target Europe, including central and eastern markets such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

Allrise said it was also planning a joint venture between Allrise’s lending business in Russia and a “major institutional investor”.

The company is already active in real estate lending in the US, Russia and Ukraine, and plans to expand its activities into European markets, opening offices in the Czech Republic and London in the coming months.

Zhuranskaya has experience of taking investment organisations into new markets. She was instrumental in taking Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC into student-housing and light-industrial markets in the UK. GIC’s student-housing joint venture with the Unite Group was one of the first of its kind, she said.

After leaving GIC, Zhuranskaya co-led the CIS/CEE efforts of Merrill Lynch Principal Investment, setting up a $700m joint venture with the Renova StroyGroup and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to invest in hotels in Russia, and a $1bn special situations fund aimed at acquiring distressed assets from a major Russian bank alongside an Asian sovereign wealth fund.

She was also instrumental in selling Merrill Lynch’s stake in Pinnacle (PointPark Properties) to Arcapita, raising money from GIC for a fund investing in retail and residential sectors in Turkey.

More recently, Zhuranskaya worked for Deutsche Bank, leading its special situations activities in CEE and CIS, Krestco Holdings, a company affiliated with the Marquees of Bath’s family office the Lion Trust, and Sterne Agee.