Global specialists.

Our team has a shared vision to transform student housing. 

We are driven by the pioneering spirit that makes us the forerunner of student housing globally.

Our team are the heart of GSA. Working across the globe, we make the most of our inclusive culture and passion to lead and innovate. This means that everyone in our team plays an important role in shaping our growth through living our values.

As a global company, we employ people from many countries, nationalities and backgrounds, across our nine offices.




GSA's Founder and Executive Management team

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Nicholas Porter


Nicholas Porter is Founder of GSA, where he is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the Company and supporting on capital and debt raising with key investors and financial institutions.

Nicholas has been a pioneer in the purpose-built student housing sector for over 30 years. In 2013, he founded GSA, quickly expanding into new markets and creating a unique offering of being the leading real estate and investment asset manager in student housing.

Prior to this, Nicholas founded The UNITE Group in 1991 and built the company to a FTSE 250-listed entity and the largest owner of student accommodation in the UK. In 2007, Nicholas went on to create Urbanest with operations in Australia and the UK, which was successfully sold in 2014. 


Simon Bray

Global Head of Finance

Simon Bray is Global Head of Finance at GSA, where he is responsible for implementing the business’ global growth plans and managing the Finance, Fund Control, Tax, People & Culture, Treasury and Risk & Compliance functions. He has a wealth of experience as a performance driven senior executive with a 30-year track record in the funds management sector.

Previously, Simon spent eight years in senior roles at BNP Paribas in Ireland, including as Chief Executive Officer, Fund Administration Services and Chief Administration Officer, Securities Services. In these positions he developed and implemented transformation plans to drive growth and financial performance, while embedding a strong risk management culture and governance controls.

Prior to that, Simon served as Chief Financial Officer of both Credit Suisse Prime Fund Services EMEA and Fortis Prime Fund Solutions.


Ben Harvie

Global Head of Investment Management

Ben Harvie is Global Head of Investment Management at GSA, where he is responsible for managing global investment funds, partnerships and capital raising. 

Previously, Ben was Head of GSA Coral, a specialist regulated vehicle for sophisticated investors, family offices and private wealth managers which invests in the global purpose-built student accommodation sector. In 2016, Ben led the integration of the Coral portfolio into the wider GSA Group platform. 

Prior to this, Ben was Head of Funds Management for Centuria Capital, one of Australia’s largest REIT managers, where he was responsible for a portfolio of c.AUD$1.0 billion of real estate funds. Before that Ben worked for the Miller Group Ltd, one of the UK’s largest privately owned housebuilding, construction and development companies. 

Ben has a First Class Honours degree from the University of Oxford and an MA in Property Investment and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


James Hunt

Global Head of Real Estate

James Hunt is Global Head of Real Estate for GSA, where he leads the global real estate team and is responsible for the expansion of its real estate portfolio through the acquisition of development opportunities and investment properties.

James is a Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience of the purpose-built student accommodation sector in the UK, Europe, Australasia and the USA. He has a track record of delivering complex projects and has experience across investment strategy, acquisitions, development, asset management, joint ventures and university partnerships.

James joined GSA in 2018 and prior to this worked for The UNITE Group plc for 17 years, where he held a variety of senior positions including as a member of the management board and leading its annual development programme delivering c.5,000 beds per annum. 


John Jacobs

Global Head of Capital Markets

John Jacobs is  Global Head of Capital Markets ​at GSA, where he ​manages both the debt and new equity teams. ​

The debt team is responsible for the origination for ​new funding transactions within existing and new markets and ​the overall refinancing strategy for AUM of in excess of $​6bn. ​The equity team is responsible for new capital raising activity.

John joined GSA in 2017 and has over ​20 years’ experience in corporate banking, real estate and negotiating property transactions in multiple countries including the US, UK, Spain, Australia, and Ireland. Prior to GSA, John spent 13 years in ​corporate banking in Ireland.

John has a BA Economics from University College Dublin (UCD) and is a ​qualified chartered banker.