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Commercial Real Estate


Our Commercial Real Estate ("CRE") Group includes employees of PPM as well as PPM’s affiliate, PPM Finance, Inc. (“PPMF”). The PPM professionals within the group focus on real estate securities, and PPMF primarily focuses on commercial mortgage loans and other non-security real estate investments. Located in our Chicago office, PPMF benefits from the same executive team, culture, infrastructure and resources as PPM. It was formed in 1995 and is characterized by experience and continuity of team; a large, stable investor base; and strategic partnerships throughout the commercial mortgage banking community.


PPM’s expertise lies in two main security types – commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) and real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), whereas PPMF’ s expertise lies in commercial mortgage loans. Both businesses serve Jackson, our affiliate, and PPM’s commercial real estate professionals also support a number of other separate accounts and pooled investment vehicles that allocate funds to commercial real estate securities.


Our CRE Group consists of 35 members dedicated to commercial real estate investments. Teams from PPMF focus on commercial mortgage loan-related functions, including loan originations, loan closings and settlements, loan servicing, real estate asset management and portfolio analytics, whereas teams from PPM focus on real estate security-related functions, including CMBS and REIT credit evaluation. The team exhibits considerable industry experience and tenure at PPMF/PPM, as demonstrated by the investment professionals on the team having an average industry experience of 22 years and average tenure at PPM/PPMF of 13 years.

Our Strategies


Our CRE Group’s approach to commercial mortgage lending and CMBS and REIT investing primarily considers the location, quality and value of the underlying real estate. For commercial mortgage loans, PPMF focuses on the five major property types: multifamily, industrial, retail, office and lodging, along with manufactured home communities.

This value-based approach allows PPMF to estimate the intrinsic value of the underlying real estate and lend based on that value. For CMBS and REITs, this strategy allows PPM to analyze underlying credit quality and estimate the fundamental value of securities, compare that value to current market pricing, and look for mispricing opportunities on both an absolute and relative basis. Our CRE Group’s assessment of the quality and value of real estate is supported by an experienced staff, disciplined approach to credit analysis and strong relationships with mortgage banking correspondents and sponsors in the geographic areas in which the group invests.


For commercial mortgage loans, PPMF’s focus is on core and core-plus loans on stabilized properties, rather than value add or transitional loans. Within the five main property types, PPMF prefers defensive assets such as multifamily, industrial and necessity-retail, which currently make up more than 75% of its commercial mortgage portfolio. Portfolio diversification is a primary objective in terms of loan size, property type, sponsor, tenants and location, with loans secured by single properties typically ranging between $10 and $50 million. PPMF is also active in financing multi-asset, geographically diverse pools, typically ranging from $50 to $150 million in size.

PPMF’s lending program targets repeat borrowers who: are in the financing market on a regular basis, seeking total debt of at least $50 million annually; embrace the mortgage banking community; are relationship-oriented; and can benefit from matching their unique financing needs with PPMF’s flexible loan terms. The group can customize the structure of the loan to meet the needs of borrowers and can offer financing terms ranging from three to 25 years. This effort to prioritize repeat, target borrowers is supported by long-standing partnerships with mortgage banking correspondents located throughout the country.

When investing in CMBS and REITs, PPM professionals look for securities with strong underlying credit and superior relative value, as measured by both fundamentals and valuations. PPM has a dedicated CMBS and REIT team focused on the assessment of commercial real estate fundamentals and market technicals, who take advantage of detailed research, fixed-income securities modeling, and relationships with Wall Street trading desks.


Experience and Continuity of Team1

In addition to significant industry expertise, our Commercial Real Estate Group benefits from low employee turnover, as evidenced by the Group’s average tenure of 13 years. This demonstrates the strength of management, infrastructure and culture that is necessary to retain tenured professionals. The head of the group has been with PPM since its inception in 1995, lending it stability and bringing a wealth of knowledge to both the investment process and overall management of its portfolios. The group has been active in the commercial real estate debt markets continuously since 1995, including during the financial crisis, reflecting a consistent level of focus and commitment to the sector.

Streamlined Decision-Making Process1

Our CRE Group is structured to respond quickly to investment opportunities. For loans, this is demonstrated by PPMF’s streamlined due diligence and closing processes. It has been and continues to be very active in acquisition financing, frequently running the origination and closing processes simultaneously in an effort to meet tight sales closing deadlines. For CMBS and REIT securities, the relevant team at PPM follows its markets and underlying issuer and issue fundamentals on a real-time basis, allowing it to make quick purchase decisions and recommendations to other PPM investment professionals who invest in commercial real estate-related assets.

Strong Relationships1

By partnering with commercial mortgage banking correspondents located throughout the country, PPMF is able to better source, evaluate and service commercial mortgage loans. Similarly, PPM professionals maintain strong relationships with Wall Street, rating agencies, servicers, trustees and other parties relevant to CMBS and REIT transactions. These relationships provide access and insight to both primary and secondary market conditions and offerings.

Our CRE Group is also well connected with the broader commercial real estate industry. Team members are active in industry forums such as the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (“MBA”), CRE Finance Council (“CREFC”), National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”), Life Mortgage and Real Estate Officers’ Council (“Dutch Treat”) and National Multi-Housing Council (“NMHC”). In addition, head of the group, Kent Born has had significant leadership positions in some of these organizations: past President and currently serving on the Board of Governors of CREFC.


Donut chart showing 3 different portions which make up $13 billion in AUM.


  • Approximately $13.3B in commercial real estate investments for all of PPM's clients
  • Approximately $12.3B of our $13.0B portfolio, including all of our commercial mortgage loans, is invested on behalf of Jackson
    • Managed total rate of return focus
  • Approximate $1.0B balance is invested on behalf of other PPM clients, including our UK Parent and affiliates
    • Total rate of return focus

Our commercial real estate expertise spans the following three main areas:

  • Commercial Mortgage Loans, 62%
  • CMBS, 22%
  • REITs, 16%

Donut chart showing 6 different portions which make up $8.3 billion in AUM.

Commercial Mortgage Loans

PPMF lends on single assets in sizes generally ranging from $5 to $50 million, and multi-asset portfolios in sizes generally ranging from $50 to $150 million, focusing on five main property types: multifamily, industrial, retail, office and hotel.

  • Multifamily, 33%
    • Class A- to B+
    • Effective age of 15 years or less
  • Industrial, 27%
    • 0% to 30% office finish
    • Property characteristics typical of the submarket
    • Effective age of 20 years or less
  • Retail, 16%
    • Necessity-anchored grocery and discount
    • Established power centers with multiple anchors
  • Office, 10%
    • Class A- to B+ in A submarkets
    • Effective age of 20 years or less
  • Lodging, 10%
    • Low leverage on stabilized assets
    • Focus on markets with barriers to entry
    • Effective age of 10 years or less
  • Other, 4%
    • Primarily manufactured home communities
    • Four- and five-star, age-restricted parks

Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities

PPM invests primarily in index eligible CMBS, with a preference for diversification of underlying loans in terms of size, property type and geography.


PPM invests in senior unsecured debt issued by REITs, focusing on companies with good balance sheets, strong covenant packages, a single asset-type approach, and experienced management teams.


Correspondent Network

PPMF sources commercial mortgage loans through a network of mortgage banking correspondents across the country. These long-standing, strategic partnerships are at the core of its commercial real estate investment approach. The on-the-ground expertise of correspondents serves as an invaluable resource to PPMF’s lending operation by helping it ascertain properties’ long-term viability as well as the integrity and financial wherewithal of borrowers. These relationships also allow PPMF to efficiently match its investment preferences with appropriate borrowers; better ascertain properties’ fundamental value; and benefit from the efficiencies inherent in repeat business. The group’s mortgage banking network spans the country and includes relationships with roughly 20 different commercial mortgage banking companies.

Investment Team

Experience and Stability

Our CRE Group’s investment professionals are characterized by experience and continuity of team, effective decision-making processes, and deep industry experience.

  • Kent Born

    Senior Managing Director, Head of the Commercial Real Estate Group
  • Joseph Burke, CRI, FMLI

    Senior Managing Director, Head of Servicing, Asset Management and Insurance
  • Julian Foster, CRI

    Senior Managing Director, Head of Mortgage Loan Production
  • Rich Rodes

    Managing Director, Commercial Real Estate
  • Matt Napoli

    Managing Director, Commercial Real Estate
  • Carol Schweidel, CFA

    Managing Director, Commercial Real Estate
  • Tim Fotsch, CFA

    Managing Director, Head of CMBS
  • Mark Kramer

    Managing Director, High Yield Lending
  • Sally Donnelly

    Senior Vice President, Head of Portfolio Analytics
  • Synove Maraffino

    Senior Vice President, Commercial Real Estate
  • Helene Principato

    Senior Vice President, Head of Loan Servicing
  • Gayle Gerke, ARM

    Vice President, Commercial Real Estate

1 As of 30 September 2018.

Commercial Mortgage Loans are managed by PPM Finance, Inc. ("PPMF"), an affiliate of PPM that manages assets which are not securities such as commercial mortgage loans and other real estate investments. CMBS and REITs are managed by PPM.

Contact Us

General Inquiries

For more information on the Commercial Real Estate group and their capabilities, please call or email directly.

Phone: 1-312-634-2500

Mailing Address

PPM America, Inc.
Attn: Commercial Real Estate Group
225 West Wacker Drive, Suite 1200
Chicago, IL 60606