JLL mulling future of debt team amid HFF merger

Merger could result in departures

Aaron Appel (Credit: Catherine Gibbons)
Aaron Appel (Credit: Catherine Gibbons)

JLL is figuring out the makeup of its debt team amid the company’s acquisition of HFF, multiple sources told The Real Deal.

The brokerage held a meeting Wednesday to discuss how the two debt platforms will integrate in the wake of JLL’s $2 billion acquisition of Dallas-based brokerage HFF, a deal the two companies agreed to in March.

The shakeup could result in the exit of Aaron Appel, who as the head of JLL’s debt-brokerage arm oversees a team that in 2017 handled more than $1.7 billion worth of mortgages, sources told TRD.

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Appel, who joined JLL in 2014, denied rumors circulating Wednesday that he had been fired.

HFF is a significantly bigger player in the commercial-mortgage brokerage game. The company advised on $61 billion worth of commercial loans nationwide in 2017, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association. That’s more than double the $24.1 billion JLL did during that same time.

Owing to HFF’s dominance in the sector, JLL agreed to keep the brokerage’s debt-team leadership in place as the two companies merge. That means Appel would be working under HFF’s leadership team. While widely regarded as a talented broker, Appel has a reputation for being difficult to work with, sources said.

Correction: Citing multiple sources, a previous version of this article reported that JLL had fired the head of its debt brokerage team Wednesday. Representatives for JLL denied this after publication.