Barrie Bloom, Managing Director, Macquarie Capital
- The Insider’s Banker of the Week series appears in our weekday newsletter, 10 Things on Wall Street.
- This week, we spotlight Barrie Bloom, managing director of Macquarie Capital’s real estate investment team.
- Bloom made Macquarie comfortable enough to invest in his very first hotel. She has since helped the bank deploy more than $500 million in the asset class over the past year.
Shortly after Barrie Bloom joined Macquarie Capital as Managing Director of Senior Real Estate Investment in March 2020, the world changed forever.
The global pandemic has upended banking and finance, and it has literally taken Bloom years to meet some of his colleagues in the flesh. The real estate landscape, meanwhile, has taken a turn. Investors flocked to spaces such as single-family rental housing and commercial real estate sectors, including logistics. Sophisticated investment firms like Blackstone have sought to capitalize on housing demand and the lack of supply across the country.
Macquarie has taken a more conservative approach to real estate, preferring to stick to proven debt structures rather than somewhat riskier equity investments.
But to go further into the space, the Australian investment bank has relied on experienced property bankers like Bloom and his mentor, Jackie Hamilton, Macquarie’s global co-head of property investments. The two men are the two most experienced people in the bank specializing in real estate and have helped deploy millions of dollars in investments since the start of the pandemic.
“One of the reasons I’m at Macquarie is to work for Jackie Hamilton. She’s been my mentor since 2007,” Bloom told Insider in an interview. “She wanted someone who could come in and do asset management in acquisitions and loan originations.”
Originating loans has long been part of daily life at Macquarie. But with Bloom, the bank has since deployed record capital for real estate-related acquisitions.
Betting on the rebound
Hospitality is an area where Bloom helped pioneer Macquarie’s investment strategy.
The pandemic has cast a dark cloud over the tourism space as flight times have been reduced and travelers have stayed indoors to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Macquarie, like most of Wall Street, was hesitant to bet on real estate like hotels. But Bloom saw an opportunity to gain a foothold in a coerced space.
“I started banging my fists in spring-summer 2020 that we should buy hotels,” Bloom said. “It was an interesting conversation because the group I sit in had never bought a hotel before.”
Like most big banks that step into a new asset class or investment strategy, Macquarie got off to a slow start. Later that year, Bloom was involved in hotel financing, before taking on equity. She said she asked Macquarie to “dip her toes” before diving deeper into hotel investments.
A pivotal moment came with a hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii. In late 2020, Bloom was in talks to provide debt financing on an asset that included multiple makers, not too dissimilar to the plot of George Clooney’s movie “The descendants.” But she “peeked” at the property and was all for it.
“I said ‘I’m not just going to provide the debt, I’m only going to do that if we’re also doing the equity,'” Bloom said. “We ended up doing the full capital stack.”
Since that investment, Macquarie bought Dovetail, a hotel operator, to operate the facility last year. This gave Dovetail a chance to enter the Waikiki market and capitalize on the rebound in travel and tourism.
More importantly, the move now brings Bloom closer to more hotel-related investments. Not just for financing, but also with equity. Macquarie has gone from zero exposure to a deployment of around $500 million since Bloom joined.
“Now every hotel deal I look at, Macquarie wants it to be as good as the Waikiki hotel,” Bloom said. “It’s a testament to how much they supported this deal.”
The Banker of the Week series is featured on Insider’s 10 Things on Wall Street — sign up here to receive the newsletter every weekday morning.