Real Estate Capital Markets Conference

2019 Featured Speaker

Thomas Flexner
Thomas M. Flexner
Global Head of Real Estate and Vice Chairman of Institutional Clients Group, Citigroup

Thomas M. Flexner is Citigroup Global Head of Real Estate and Vice Chairman of its Institutional Clients Group.  Tom is responsible for directing Citi's worldwide real estate businesses across Corporate and Investment Banking, Commercial Real Estate Lending and Finance, and Real Estate Private Equity, with activities in over 30 countries. Prior to joining Citi, Tom was Vice Chairman of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., Chairman of its Global Industries Group, Head of the Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging Groups, Head of the Financial Sponsors Group and on the Board of the firm's broker/dealer subsidiary.

Tom is on the Board and is Treasurer of the Real Estate Roundtable, a Trustee of the International Council of Shopping Centers, was a Founding Governor of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council and is actively involved in other industry organizations. He has also advised a number of university and private endowments on their real estate investing strategies.  During the financial crisis Tom worked with various governmental bodies including the Fed, the US Treasury and the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board to provide insight and advice on addressing the state of the US commercial real estate economy. In early 2009 Tom authored the "Federal Loan Extension Plan", which was widely cited in the media and presaged several of the government's subsequent liquidity programs.  He is a frequent commentator on CNBC and Bloomberg.

Tom is on the Board of Overseers of the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, a Trustee of the Museum of the City of New York and of the Dutchess Land Conservancy, and a member of the Director's Council of Rockefeller University. He is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis and the Amos Tuck School, and lives with his family in New York City.


Dean Adler
Dean Adler
CEO and Co-Founder, Lubert-Adler Partners, L.P.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Dean S. Adler is CEO and Co-Founder of Lubert-Adler Partners, L.P., a real estate equity firm with over $6.5 billion in equity and $16 billion of assets under management.  Dean is Head of the Investment Committee, and is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the team.  Lubert-Adler invests on behalf of, among others, 30 major university endowments, state pension funds, and major foundations.  It is headquartered in Philadelphia, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

Dean is also a partner in Independence Capital Partners, a family of funds totaling $11.7 billion in equity invested in real estate, private equity, corporate restructurings, venture capital and asset-based lending.

Prior to Lubert-Adler, Dean graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a J.D. degree with honors from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was an instructor at the Wharton School between 1981 and 1983. Subsequently, he worked at Ernst & Young, Baker and Hostetler and CMS. 

Currently, he is an Executive Committee Member and Research Sponsor for the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center of The Wharton School, and currently serves on the board of directors of Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY). He has been a keynote speaker for national real estate organizations such as the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Dean has served on numerous community boards and has served on the City of Philadelphia's Economic Development Summit.
Trish Barrigan
Trish Barrigan
Co-Founder, Benson Elliot Capital Management

Trish Barrigan co-founded Benson Elliot Capital Management, a pan-European private equity real estate investment company, over 12 years ago. Benson Elliot has raised over €2.3 billion of equity for investment across Europe and acts as a discretionary fiduciary for leading international institutions and family offices. Currently as its Managing Partner, Trish oversees a team of 40 people comprised of 14 different nationalities based across 5 offices.

Prior to Benson Elliot, Trish spent two years within the Dubai Holding Group as Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Real Estate Investments for Dubai Investment Group. She was responsible for defining and implementing the Group’s global real estate strategy. Under Trish's tenure, the Group’s portfolio of direct investments increased from $500m to $3.0bn. Previously, she spent ten years at Goldman Sachs, in real estate principal investing and portfolio management for the Whitehall Funds as well as investment banking in New York, Paris and London.

Trish earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Boston College. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and a Mentor for the ULI’s Young Leaders Program. She is also a Founder of Women in Real Estate (London) and a member of the Global Real Estate Institute. She is a fluent French speaker and holds US and Irish citizenship. Trish is a supporter of several charities and foundations that primarily support education, housing and disaster recovery and racial equality and social justice.

Ted Bigman
Ted Bigman
Managing Director and Head of Global Listed Real Assets Investing, Morgan Stanley Investment Management

Ted joined Morgan Stanley in 1995 and has 31 years of investment experience.  He is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and is the Head of Global Listed Real Assets Investing. Ted is the global real estate securities portfolio manager and oversees the global team, which has investment teams in New York, Amsterdam and Singapore.  Ted is also the lead portfolio manager for the Global Infrastructure Securities strategy. Prior to joining the Firm in 1995, he was a Director at CS First Boston, where he worked for eight years in the real estate investment banking group. He established and managed the REIT effort at CS First Boston, and had primary responsibility for $2.5 billion of REIT initial public offerings. Ted also worked at Bain & Company as an Associate Consultant for two years. Ted received a B.A. from Brandeis University in Economics and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and studied at the London School of Economics.  He was the 2011 recipient of the Industry Achievement Award from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, the leading REIT industry group, for his approach to securities research on listed real estate companies, which has been influential in making REITs a standard component of institutional real estate portfolios.

Co-Chairs and Planning Committee Members

John M. Ferguson
Partner and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Private Investment Funds Practice, Goodwin

John Ferguson, a partner in the firm’s Business Law Department, is the co-chair of its Real Estate Investment Funds Group. Mr. Ferguson represents a wide range of clients in forming private investment funds, partnerships, joint ventures and other transaction structures, and in acquisition, financing, restructuring and disposition transactions.

Mr. Ferguson’s experience in the private investment fund area includes real estate, infrastructure, debt and credit, asset-backed securities, private equity and hedge funds and funds-of-funds. His experience focuses on establishing commingled funds, clubs and investment programs, joint ventures and separate accounts, organizing fund sponsor and manager entities, and advising fund managers with respect to employee compensation structures. This work includes US and international securities offerings, tax and regulatory-related structuring, and investment manager M&A transactions.

Mr. Ferguson’s experience within the real estate industry is extensive and multi-faceted, and includes for example the representation of: a global wealth management firm in the structuring and implementation of a several billion dollar domestic and international real estate investment program; financial and operating parties in both the formation and unwinding of joint venture transactions; portfolio and single asset acquisitions, financings (equity and secured, unsecured, and mezzanine debt) and dispositions; a NYSE-listed upREIT in a going-private transaction and a related exchange offer to its operating partnership unitholders; and investment funds as borrowers under subscription-secured credit facilities.

Mr. Ferguson earned his J.D. from the Emory University School of Law, 1998 and his B.S. from Boston University.

Yoel Kranz
Partner, Goodwin

Yoel Kranz is a partner in Goodwin’s Real Estate Group and a member of its REITs and Real Estate M&A and Capital Markets Groups. He advises public and private companies in corporate mergers and acquisitions, represents a diverse group of corporate issuers of securities, both public and private, and serves as ongoing corporate and securities counsel for public companies, including numerous REITs.

Mr. Kranz also advises a broad range of public and private clients with respect to complex derivatives matters, including derivatives embedded in capital markets transactions such as convertible notes call spread transactions, equity forwards and transfers of swap portfolios.

Mr. Kranz’ recent activities include representing:

  • Empire State Realty Trust  and Empire State Realty OP, L.P., in a $250 million private placement of Exchangeable Senior Notes by Empire State Realty OP
  • AvalonBay Communities in a $685 million public offering of its common stock on a forward basis
  • Medical Properties Trust in their $300 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2024
  • MAA (Mid-America Apartment Communities) in its $8.6 billion business combination with Colonial Properties Trust
  • Gaming & Leisure Properties in its $475 million pending acquisition of The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
  • CreXus Investment Corp in its $1 billion acquisition by Annaly Capital Management, Inc.

Mr. Kranz earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, his M.A. from Emerson College and his RO from the Rabbinical College of America.

Mark Opper
Mark Opper
Partner, Goodwin

Mark Opper is a partner in the Business Law Department at Goodwin and a member of the firm’s nationally recognized Real Estate Industry group and REITs and Real Estate M&A practice. He also participates in the firm’s Capital Markets, Public M&A/Corporate Governance and Private Investment Funds practices.

Mr. Opper has extensive transactional experience advising public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions and securities offerings, including IPOs and follow-on and 144A offerings, with a particular focus on REITs and real estate operating companies. He also regularly advises public companies on corporate governance matters and private real estate investment funds in connection with the fund formation process and ongoing governance and management matters.

Mr. Opper earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and his B.A. from Georgetown University.

Chris Mayer
Christopher J. Mayer
Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate, Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School

Christopher Mayer is the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate at Columbia Business School. His research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Dr. Mayer is also CEO of Longbridge Financial, an innovative reverse mortgage company focused on delivering responsible home equity products to older Americans to help finance retirement. Professor Mayer serves as a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Director of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, and a member of the Academic Advisory Boards for Standard and Poor's and the Housing Policy Center at the Urban Institute. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Dr. Mayer is active in the media and advising policymakers, testifying six times before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, writing a paper for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and authoring numerous op-ed articles in major publications. Dr. Mayer previously served as Senior Vice Dean at Columbia Business School and held positions at The Wharton School, the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  He earned a BS in Math and Economics from the University of Rochester with highest honors and a PhD in Economics from MIT.

David M. Sherman '82
Co-Founder, President, and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Metropolitan Real Estate
Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business

David M. Sherman is a Co-founder, President, and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Metropolitan and a member of the Carlyle Investment Solutions management committee. Mr. Sherman has more than 30 years of real estate finance and analytical experience. In 2000, Mr. Sherman founded D. Sherman & Company, Inc., an advisory firm focused on strategic issues and transactions in the real estate securities industry.

Previously, Mr. Sherman was Managing Director of Salomon Smith Barney’s REIT research team, which covered more than 60 stocks and supported the firm’s $15 billion of REIT offering activity. At Smith Barney, Mr. Sherman created a new approach to evaluate global real estate securities and initiated global coverage of the sector. The team received recognition from Institutional Investor Magazine in 1998 and 1999. Mr. Sherman also held other positions in real estate finance, investment banking, and strategic planning at Smith Barney, The Harlan Company, First Boston, and Paine Webber, including acting as the Chief Financial Officer of Paine Webber Properties, a family of real estate funds with over $500 million in property investments.

In addition, Mr. Sherman is the current Chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Institute Committee. Previously, Mr. Sherman was an Adjunct Professor of Real Estate Finance at Columbia Business School for seven years. Over the years, Mr. Sherman has published numerous articles in periodicals including American Banker, PREA Quarterly, Shopping Center Business, and National Real Estate Investor. Mr. Sherman served as a panelist for Institutional Limited Partners Association for its first member educational webcast on private equity real estate. Mr. Sherman currently serves as an independent director on the board of Brookfield Residential Properties.

Mr. Sherman received an A.B. in Mathematical Economics (magna cum laude) from Brown University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School.