Commercial Real Estate


Our Commercial Real Estate (CRE) team focuses on real estate securities, commercial mortgage loans and other non-security real estate investments. The CRE team 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.



Our expertise lies in three main investment types – commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), real estate investment trusts (REITs), and commercial mortgage loans. We serve Jackson National Life Insurance Company, our affiliate, and support a number of other separate accounts and pooled investment vehicles that allocate funds to commercial real estate securities.



Our team consists of 38 members dedicated to commercial mortgage loan-related functions, including loan originations, loan closings and settlements, loan servicing, real estate asset management and portfolio analytics, and real estate security-related functions, including CMBS and REIT credit evaluation. The team exhibits considerable industry experience and tenure at PPM, as demonstrated by the investment professionals on the team having an average industry experience of 18 years and average tenure of 14 years.


Our 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, we focus on the five major property types: multifamily, industrial, retail, office and lodging, along with manufactured home communities.

This value-based approach allows us to estimate the intrinsic value of the underlying real estate and lend based on that value. For CMBS and REITs, this strategy allows us 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 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, our focus is on core and core-plus loans on stabilized properties, rather than value add or transitional loans. Within the five main property types, we prefer defensive assets such as multifamily, industrial and necessity-retail, which currently make up approximately 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 $100 million. We are also active in financing multi-asset, geographically diverse pools, typically ranging from $50 to $200 million in size.

Our 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 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, our team looks for securities with strong underlying credit and superior relative value, as measured by both fundamentals and valuations. We also have 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 Team

In addition to significant industry expertise, our team benefits from low employee turnover, as evidenced by the 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 team 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 team 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 Process

Our team is structured to respond quickly to investment opportunities. For loans, this is demonstrated by 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 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 Relationships

By partnering with commercial mortgage banking correspondents located throughout the country, we are able to better source, evaluate and service commercial mortgage loans. Similarly, we 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 team 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.



  • Approximately $15.9 billion in commercial real estate investments for all of PPM's clients
  • Approximately $14.8 billion of our $15.9 billion portfolio, including all of our commercial mortgage loans, is invested on behalf of Jackson National Life Insurance Company
  • Approximate $0.9 billion balance is invested on behalf of other PPM clients, including our UK Parent and affiliates

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

Commercial Mortgage Loans, $10.2B
CMBS, $3.2B
REITs, $2.5B


We lend on single assets in sizes generally ranging from $10 to $100 million, and multi-asset portfolios in sizes generally ranging from $50 to $200 million, focusing on five main property types: multifamily, industrial, retail, office and hotel.

Multifamily, $3.5B
Industrial, $2.4B
Retail, $1.7B
Office, $1.3B
Lodging, $0.8B
Other, $0.5B


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


We invest 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.


We source 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 our lending operation by helping it ascertain properties’ long-term viability as well as the integrity and financial wherewithal of borrowers. These relationships also allow us to efficiently match its investment preferences with appropriate borrowers; better ascertain properties’ fundamental value; and benefit from the efficiencies inherent in repeat business. The team's mortgage banking network spans the country and includes relationships with roughly 20 different commercial mortgage banking companies.


Investment Team

Experience and Stability

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

photo of Kent Born
Kent Born

Senior Managing Director, Head of Commercial Real Estate 

photo of Joseph Burke
Joseph Burke, CRI, FLMI

Senior Managing Director, Head of Servicing, Asset Management and Insurance

photo of Julian Foster
Julian Foster, CRI

Senior Managing Director, Head of Mortgage Loan Production

photo of Rich Rodes
Richard Rodes

Managing Director, Mortgage Loan Production

photo of Matt Napoli
Matthew Napoli

Managing Director, Mortgage Loan Production

photo of Carol Schweidel
Carol Schweidel, CFA

Senior Managing Director, REIT Credit Analysis

photo of Tim Fotsch
Timothy Fotsch, CFA

Managing Director, CMBS Portfolio Manager

photo of Mark Kramer
Mark Kramer

Managing Director, Head of Structured Loans

photo of Sally Donnelly
Sally Donnelly

Senior Vice President, Head of Portfolio Analytics

photo of Synove Rubalcaba
Synove Rubalcaba

Senior Vice President, Head of Legal and Closing

photo of Helene Principato
Helene Principato

Senior Vice President, Head of Loan Servicing

photo of Gayle Gerke
Gayle Gerke, ARM

Vice President, Insurance

Contact Us


For more information, please call or email directly.

Phone: 312-634-2500


PPM America, Inc.
Attn: Commercial Real Estate Group
225 West Wacker Drive, Suite 1200
Chicago, IL 60606
As of 31 December 2019. (1) AUM includes committed but unfunded capital for PPM's commercial real estate business.