Mr. Merrill is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, LLC a real estate private equity firm he co-founded in 2005 that has over $5 billion in AUM. Mr. Merrill is also a Member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Investment & Management Committees of the Company. The firm has a series of discretionary, commingled real estate funds including an opportunistic closed end fund series (Funds I-IV) and an open-end real estate fund that have raised over $3 billion in capital commitments. Mr. Merrill is also on the Board and a controlling principal of Harrison Street Securities LLC, a registered investment advisor that currently manages approximately $1 billion in REIT securities primarily through three, distinct long only investment vehicles. Investors in these funds include US, European and Asian Pension Funds, Corporate Plans, Insurance Companies, Endowments, Foundations and family offices. The company has 55 employees located in their Chicago office.
Prior to co-founding Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, LLC, Mr. Merrill was a partner, owner and Managing Director of a large US Pension Fund Advisory firm where he developed the firm's presence in Europe, creating the first ever real estate funds exclusively targeting the markets of Central Europe. This initial fund was one of the Top 10 performing global funds during vintage years 1996-2000 as noted by Preqin.
Over his career Mr. Merrill has worked to create differentiated real estate products which have acquired and/or developed over $10 billion of real estate in both the U.S. and Europe. Since 2000, Mr. Merrill has led the launch and oversight of numerous distinct, discretionary real estate funds throughout the US and Europe which have raised over $6.0 billion in combined equity. Mr. Merrill has been active in many segments of the property markets, and has established and implemented over 75 joint-ventures with real estate operating partners across the U.S. and Europe.
Mr. Merrill has appeared in numerous real estate journals and on panels regarding investing in the U.S. and Europe. In 2011, National Real Estate Investor Magazine named Mr. Merrill as one of the "10 To Watch" leaders in the real estate industry and Real Estate Forum named him one of Chicago's Real Estate Icons in December 2012. In 2010, Crain's Chicago included Mr. Merrill as one of the 40 under 40. Mr. Merrill is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), Real Estate Forum's Advisory Board, The Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Commonwealth Club and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Mr. Merrill is currently a member of the Board of The First Tee of Greater Chicago and earned his MBA in the evening from the CASS school of business in London, England.