Real estate investment advisory firm Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers appointed Mark Higgins president. Hartford, Conn.-based Cornerstone promoted Higgins as the firm aggressively expands activities tied to its portfolio of commercial properties. Higgins came to Cornerstone in 1996 and most recently served as chief investment officer. The company focuses on equity acquisitions, asset management and disposition work, as well as handling structured finance products associated with commercial mortgage-backed securities, mortgages and mezzanine loans. "Cornerstone's ability to play across the entire real estate capital spectrum, providing a full complement of debt, equity and real estate securities expertise, brings a wealth of opportunity to our clients," Higgins said in a statement. Higgins co-founded HPI Realty Partners in San Francisco 20 years ago. Prior to that, he was senior vice president at Piedmont Realty Advisors, a private real estate investment firm. He also served as vice president at Aetna Realty Investors. Cornerstone has 300 employees and manages or services more than $32 billion in assets. Write to Kerri Panchuk.