Young Professionals in Real Estate Finance (YPREF)

Europe’s sole networking group dedicated to CRE lending professionals and advisors with less than 10 years industry experience

Communication – promoting and encouraging avenues of communication within the REF industry young professional community and beyond;

Education – assisting with career development by providing an educational platform through a combination of peer learning and access to leading REF professionals;

Support providing the tools and resources required for members to fulfil their educational and professional development goals; and

Networking – recognition as the primary convention point for all young professionals working in REF and to build upon the current CREFC networking opportunities.

What’s going on at YPREF?   


8th – Over 80 members and non-members joined us at the Water Poet on 8th March.  The evening provided a great opportunity to connect with existing peers and meet new contacts. Thank you to those of you who provided feedback.

28th We were delighted that 70 young professionals joined the morning educational seminar at Ashurst.  The session focused on “Negotiating points for Borrowers on Facility Agreements” and had a stellar line-up of borrowers and lenders.  Thank you to those of you who provided feedback via the evaluation form; this helps us to plan events that are of interest to you and your peers.


10thAn educational afternoon free to our members featuring:-

  • Real estate investment strategies and returns in the current macroeconomic environment.
  • Mapping the European lending universe
  • A long term perspective on the market – join industry veterans Ian Marcus and Jos Short.

Registration is open and free to those from member firms. Non-members are invited to join us; a fee will apply – contact Rachel for more information.

11thYPREF can secure discounted tickets for the main conference day, this is a member-only benefit.  The cost is £400 + VAT.

It is our intention to hold a minimum of one event each quarter in 2017 as well as impromptu networking events – keep engaged with the young professionals group dedicated to CRE.

What the group achieved in 2016…

We launched YPREF at our Spring Conference in April and by year end  had attracted 350 professionals.  We have received great interest and support from the industry and expect the group to grow in popularity throughout 2017.

In July, jointly hosted by Ashurst and DWF LLP the group held an evening event at the Walkie-Talkie which focused on Fundamentals of the UK real estate market – an outlook for the remainder of the year and beyond.  Mark Clacy-Jones, Head of Data & Analytics at Knight Frank gave a persententation which was followed by networking drinks.

In October we held our second educational event hosted by Knight Frank.  The seminar was chaired by Alice Greenwood, Knight Frank and Ben Herson, Lloyds, both members of the YPREF committee. The morning consisted of a networking breakfast, followed by a presentation from Neal Newman, Partner – Knight Frank on valuation methods and how a valuation report is prepared, followed by Neal and John Clark, Director – Lloyds answering questions on pertinent valuation issues, such as Terms of Engagement, Professional Indemnity Insurance, key real estate risks to a lender, International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) and ‘Uncertainty’ clauses.

Both events were well received with over 65 attendees from a range of lenders and advisors.

YPREF’s first networking at Flight Club held in late October SOLD OUT within a matter of days.

Educational sessions were also held at the November conference, the morning was free to YPREF from member firms, topics focused on Brexit implications for CRE lending and Does credit or capital drive pricing?

Contact Carol with your questions.

YPREF is co-chaired by: Ben Herson & Georgina Rush, Commercial Real Estate, LLOYDS BANK COMMERCIAL BANKING

Read about the core group who are working with us to deliver events and new initiatives for the younger REF professionals.

Ben HersonBen is an Associate in the Commercial Real Estate team within the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking arm based in the City of London. He is responsible for originating, structuring and executing large commercial Real Estate financings for major institutional and fund investors. Lloyds Bank’s Commercial Real Estate team is one of the largest providers of funding to the UK commercial property sector.

Ben joined Lloyds in 2015 having started his career with German lender Helaba in their London office focussing on originating senior loans to a variety of domestic and international investors in UK commercial Real Estate. Ben graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a MA in Real Estate, he is a keen Squash player in his spare time.

Sarah Winter. “A future superstar at the top of her game.” Legal 500 UK 2015.  Sarah is an associate in the real estate finance team within the international finance department at Ashurst in London.  She has acted for a number of major US, UK and European banks, funds and financial institutions as well as large corporate borrowers advising on real estate finance investment, development and refinancing transactions.

Joseph Wong. Joseph is an Associate at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.  Prior to moving to the UK in 2014, Joseph worked at an international Australian law firm specialising in property finance.

Since moving to London Joseph has continued to specialise in real estate based financing as an Associate at Berwin Leighton Paisner. He has acted for numerous UK and European financial institutions, as well as a wide range of corporate borrowers. In addition to investment and development financing, Joseph has experience in mezzanine funding arrangements.  Outside of the office, Joseph is a keen cyclist and triathlete.

Miles Keeley.  Miles is an Analyst in the Debt Advisory team at Cushman and Wakefield. He is responsible for structuring, sourcing and advising on Commercial Real Estate Financing across EMEA on behalf of Prop Co’s, High Net Worth’s/Family Offices, Funds and Private Equity.

Miles joined C&W in July of 2015, after obtaining a First Class BSc in Real Estate Management. Since joining C&W, he has ventured to further his professional development by completing the Certificate of Investment Management and is now a CFA level 1 candidate (June 2016).

Rob Mersh.  Rob is an Associate in the Real Estate Debt Placement team at Eastdil Secured, the wholly owned real estate investment banking subsidiary of Wells Fargo and Company. The team is responsible for the placement of senior, mezzanine and entity level debt financings and CRE mortgage loan sales in the U.K. and Europe.

Rob joined Eastdil Secured in 2013 and his experience includes working on senior, B-note, mezzanine and whole loans, as well as land and construction loans. In addition to working on single-asset transactions in countries such as the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, Rob has also worked on a number of multi-jurisdictional, pan-European deals.

Rob holds a BSc in Real Estate Management from Oxford Brookes University and an MSc in Real Estate Investment from Cass Business School.

Alice Greenwood. MRICS, Knight Frank.  Alice is a Senior Surveyor in the Valuation Department at Knight Frank. Alice works across all core commercial sectors within the bank lending team, including offices, high street retail, retail warehousing, and industrial/distribution, whilst specialising in the leisure sector.

Emily Davies. MRICS, Knight Frank.  A Senior Surveyor in the Valuation Department at Knight Frank, with a primary focus on London and the South East. Emily is responsible for undertaking valuations and reports on core commercial properties on behalf of banks and other UK real estate lenders.

Sumeer Bose. Sumeer is an Analyst at Laxfield Capital. His role is within the Real Estate lending arm of the organisation, where his responsibilities focus on modelling, credit and transaction support. Prior to Laxfield Sumeer spent three years with Nationwide Building Society in the CRE sector, where he held positions in Debt Restructuring and Credit Risk. Preceding to this Sumeer studied at the University of Nottingham where he received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.

Register your interest to become part of this network.  Contact Carol Wilkie at CREFC Europe: Carol