Qualitas is expanding its capability in direct real estate investment with the appointment of James Kaufman as Executive Director in the Principal Investments team.

Mr Kaufman joins from global real estate firm JLL, where he was a senior member in the capital markets group, supervising transactions totalling in excess of $4 billion. A Licensed Real Estate Agent, he has over 30 years’ experience in the real estate industry, 27 of those at JLL.
In the new role at Qualitas, Mr Kaufman will lead the firm’s expansion and increased focus on the ‘value-add’ sector of the market: acquiring existing assets with the potential to add value through active management, refurbishment or change of use.

Mark Fischer, Managing Director, Principal Investments at Qualitas, said the value-add space is a natural fit for the firm, and its existing activity in the value-add space would be accelerated by the appointment.

“We have an extensive, successful track record at the opportunistic end of the risk spectrum and have made numerous value-add investments that have been well supported by our investors. Many of our existing investors are asking us to increase our value-add activity as they like that it offers a higher return than core assets, but with a medium level of risk. It’s an effective way to diversify their portfolio risk.

“In this space the key to success is in the asset selection and execution of the transition plan for the asset. To do that successfully it needs a dedicated focus and someone with James’ skills, experience and contacts will allow us to continue to get all of those elements right,” Mr Fischer said.
Qualitas has experienced strong growth in the past year, with total asset volume now exceeding $5 billion. Mr Kaufman said he is pleased to join Qualitas at an exciting time in its evolution.

“This is a great opportunity to combine my capabilities with what the Qualitas team is already doing well. The firm has an extensive base of institutional and private investors, who are keen to access investments with this type of risk and return profile.
“We will be looking to acquire assets in the $20 to $150 million price range across Office, Retail and Industrial assets, and are confident of filling our pipeline with quality assets,” he said.