Macquarie Asset Management is moving into the secure-income real estate market in the UK, having poached experts from Alpha Real Capital.

Macquarie said it would extend its private credit offering into real estate, initially targeting investments in commercial ground leases.

Ground leases provide fixed income-like returns from real estate and can be used to match UK pension fund liabilities. Macquarie’s private credit team as to date been focused on infrastructure.

Hugo James, who was responsible for Alpha Real Capital’s secure-income and ground-leases business, has joined Macquarie to develop the new strategy as managing director.

Tom Benham, who was a director at Alpha Real Capital and worked alongside James, has also joined as vice president.

Alpha Real Capital’s European Long Income Fund gained traction with UK pension fund investors, securing commitments from clients of Willis Towers Watson in 2019.

“Interest in secure-income real estate strategies has grown rapidly as investors seek to diversify their portfolios and access returns that are no longer available via high quality corporate and government bonds,” said James.

“We are pleased to bring this offering to Macquarie’s clients and look forward to partnering with commercial real estate owners to help meet their individual financing needs.”

James will lead the secure income real estate strategy reporting to Kit Hamilton and Tim Humphrey, managing directors in Macquarie’s private credit team.

“The addition of secure income real estate represents the natural next step in our goal of offering clients a range of differentiated private credit capabilities,” said Humphrey.

“We are pleased to welcome Hugo and Tom to the team and are confident their specialist expertise, combined with the considerable resources of our existing lending business, will enable us to quickly establish a strong presence in the market.”