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March 16, 2018  

Four Pros Team Up to Enter Bridge-Loan Fray

Four industry veterans are seeking to raise several hundred million dollars to invest in bridge and mezzanine loans.

The quartet, operating under the banner Crescit Capital Strategies, is led by Joseph Iacono, a longtime lieutenant of commercial MBS pioneer Andy Stone. The group also includes former Belgravia Capital executive Nik Chillar; Kim Diamond, who formerly held senior posts at S&P and Kroll; and Edmund Taylor, a Credit Suisse alumnus.

A spokesman for Crescit declined to provide details about its strategy or operations. But market pros said the New York shop was seeking to line up as much as $500 million of equity to invest in high-yield mortgage debt. It would join a growing list of competitors in that arena.

According to information they posted on the LinkedIn web site, all four executives are principals, with Iacono and Chillar listed as co-founders. Iacono is chief executive and managing partner. Chillar, who’s based in Irvine, Calif., is a managing director. Diamond is head of structuring and credit. And Taylor is chief operating officer.

Iacono first worked with Stone at Daiwa Securities in the early 1990s and followed him to Credit Suisse in 1996. After stints at Chase Manhattan and Nomura, he rejoined Stone in 2005 as a co-founder of Petra Capital. Petra invested in high-yield mortgages and raised financing in the CDO market, but ran into trouble during the financial crisis. Iacono left Petra last year, according to his LinkedIn entry.

Taylor joined Stone’s real estate group at Credit Suisse in 1996 and worked at the bank until last year, serving in a variety of risk-management, strategic-planning and compliance roles. When he left, he was a managing director heading up an effort to reduce expenses for the bank’s global markets group.

Diamond started at S&P in 1989 and spent 21 years at the agency, rising to head of the CMBS ratings group and ultimately to oversight responsibility for U.S. commercial and residential coverage in the structured-finance group. She joined Kroll in 2011 as a senior managing director and co-head of structured finance and later became the sole head. She left the agency in July 2016.

Chillar had stints at Lehman Brothers, Centerline Capital and CharterMac Mortgage Capital before joining Belgravia in 2006 as a managing director in the commercial real estate finance and securitization area. After leaving Belgravia in 2012, he had stops at Union Bank, Opus Bank and Western Alliance Bancorp, which he left in 2016.