Chairman & CEOChristopher Merrill
Christopher is the Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Harrison Street, a real assets investment management firm he co-founded in 2005 that has completed nearly $59 billion in transactional volume and as of 2Q 2022 has over $49 billion in AUM.
Christopher is currently the largest individual shareholder and serves as Chairman of the Board and the firm’s Investment and Executive Committees. The Firm was a first-mover and innovator of a focused investment strategy around the education, healthcare, life sciences and storage segments of the real estate market (launching nine closed-end funds as well as industry leading open-end funds). Over 535 investors ($28 billion) participate in Harrison Street funds including US, European and Asian pension funds, corporate plans, insurance companies, endowments, foundations, and family offices. The Firm is headquartered in Chicago with offices in London, Toronto, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Prior to co-founding Harrison Street, Christopher 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.
Christopher has appeared on television and in numerous real estate journals, as well as in, speaking engagements regarding real asset investing. Harrison Street was awarded Alternatives Investor of the Year, North America in 2021 and Global Alternatives Investor of the Year in 2020 by Private Equity Real Estate (“PERE”). Over the years, National Real Estate Investor Magazine has named him one of the “10 To Watch” leaders in the industry, PERE nominated him as one of the top real estate executives in North America, Real Estate Forum named him one of “Chicago’s Real Estate Icons” and he was included as one of “Crain’s 40 under 40.” In 2018, he was one of the finalists in PERE’s North American Industry Figure of the Year.
Christopher is a member of YPO, Economic Club of Chicago, and Chicago Commonwealth Club. He serves on the board of the Pension Real Estate Association (“PREA”), Rush University Medical Board (Facilities Committee), the real estate advisory boards of Gore Creek and Kinship Capital, The First Tee of Greater Chicago, Salisbury School, and Chicago Botanic Garden (Financial Committee). He is also an active angel investor in many early-stage companies. He earned his MBA from the CASS School of Business in London, England.