Former Morgan Stanley exec joins real estate firm

Dhanda, 48 years old, spent 26 years at Morgan Stanley, holding key jobs at both its investment banking and wealth management businesses before leaving following an executive shuffle earlier this year. He joins the Denver-based Black Creek as investors are increasingly turning to real estate in their search for assets that aren’t as closely tied to the ebb and flow of the stock and bond markets.

In a sign of increased appetite, private equity firm Blackstone in August laid out plans for a new nontraded real-estate investment trust, and The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Blackstone plans to sell shares of its portfolio of single-family houses to the public.

“This is really about whether I can pivot to having an operating role in an industry that’s growing, and interesting,” Dhanda told The Wall Street Journal. “When I sat in the wealth management business, we had an abundance of fixed income and equity products. Within real estate, though, it wasn’t as crowded a field.”

Dhanda left Morgan Stanley after the departure of Gregory Fleming, the firm’s co-president, triggered a series of management changes. Dhanda’s father runs a commercial real estate business that has owned and developed properties in Cambridge, Mass.’s historic Harvard Square.

At Black Creek, Dhanda will oversee the unit’s distribution, marketing, operations, product development and legal departments.

“Raj is a unique guy,” said Evan Zucker, a principal and co-founder of Black Creek. “He was running first debt capital markets, and then all of capital markets, so he has an institutional purview.”

Founded in 2003, Black Creek manages more than $ 6 billion through an array of real estate investment trusts and other vehicles. It manages money for pensions, endowments and other institutions, and is eager to tap into increased demand for real estate from retail investors.

Write to Justin Baer at justin.baer@wsj.com and Liz Hoffman at liz.hoffman@wsj.com

This article was first published by The Wall Street Journal

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