Francis Gilhool, Kristin Khanna, Larry Kravetz and Steven Caldwell

Steven Caldwell, Francis Gilhool, Kristin Khanna and Larry Kravetz

Managing director and head of originations; managing director and head of CRE warehouse lending; head of acquisition facility lending; managing director and head of CMBS finance at Barclays

Last year's rank: 4

Francis Gilhool, Kristin Khanna, Larry Kravetz and Steven Caldwell
By April 30, 2023 9:44 AM

I don’t drink coffee I take tea, my dear, 

I like my toast done on one side, 

You can hear it in my accent when I talk, 

I’m an English bank in New York.” 

OK, those weren’t Sting’s exact words. But when it comes to differentiating yourself from the herd of lenders on the mean streets of commercial real estate, Barclays is pretty darn smashing.

“We’re not one of the big U.S. banks that have a $100-plus billion balance sheet, and hundreds and hundreds of people working in commercial real estate,” Larry Kravetz said. “At times like this I think that works in our favor, because we’re not a siloed platform. So we’re able to leverage off what each of the other groups are seeing internally, and make sure that we’re communicating with our clients in advance and factoring those conversations into our execution.”

Barclays provided $9.25 billion of financing to its clients over the past year, consisting of a combination of conduit and SASB CMBS, syndicated balance sheet loans, acquisition financing through acquisition facilities, and via its CRE warehouse financing business.

In a volatile capital markets environment, Barclays balance sheet provided liquidity and certainty of execution to key clients on high-profile M&A transactions. These included KKR and GIP’s acquisition of Cyrus One, and Blackstone’s take-private of Blue Rock Residential REIT

“In M&A transactions in particular, certainty of execution for the client is so important,” Kristin Khanna said. “We have to balance that with protecting ourselves as a lender, which means that there’s give and take. What’s powerful about the Barclays platform is the capital markets side tends to move and react more quickly than the balance sheet side to what’s going on in the markets. And, so, when we started to see certain trends happening on the capital market side that we knew were going to impact the balance sheet, it allowed us to be a more strategic about how we executed on those balance sheet components.”

Barclays has more than doubled its CLO and warehouse facilities from $7.2 billion to $18 billion over the last 24 months and is actively closing on seven facilities with more than $2 billion of capacity this year alone.

“On the warehouse side, spreads were widening out so significantly, and it made it very difficult for some of our clients that were CRE CLO issuers to come to market with a transaction that was accretive to their financing,” Francis Gilhool said.  As such, the bank worked with our clients to optimize the timing of CRE CLO deals  and with bond investors to achieve the best outcomes possible given the volatility in the market. “A perfect example is when after four consecutive CRE CLOs widened in the summer of 2022, Barclays was able to successfully price the FS RIALTO 2022-FL6 transaction in August at tighter AAA levels than the preceding deal, bucking the trend,” Gilhool said.

Barclays also led the market’s latest CRE CLO execution sponsored by Asia Capital Real Estate, ACREC 2023-FL2, which priced in February 2023, with AAAs clearing at SOFR + 230, 15 basis points tighter than the preceding deal, 80 basis points tighter than the deal before that and the second tightest execution since May 2022.

“The punchline is that we’re a partner to our borrowers,” Steven Caldwell said. “We really got in front of asset management, when we brought in a senior asset manager over a year ago in anticipation of what we saw as more challenging times ahead.”

Today, 40 percent of Barclays staff is diverse, too, and there are several women in leadership roles in debt distribution, underwriting, and asset management at the managing director and director levels. —C.C.

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