2016 Global PERE Awards: Champions and challengers

Blackstone reaffirmed its dominance in our 11th global awards, which also included a lifetime achievement award for the first time.   

The 2016 Global PERE Awards saw many perennial winners clinch new titles, but there was still room for some variety – and new faces – among the honorees.

Blackstone dominated the 11th Global PERE Awards, picking up nine titles, just shy of its 2014 record of 10 wins. The New York-headquartered asset manager clinched firm of the year and deal of the year globally, as well as in Europe and North America. It also won deal of the year in Asia, but it was Gaw Capital Partners that clinched firm of the year in the region – the third time it has claimed the title. Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray, meanwhile, secured his third global industry figure of the year honor.

Amid all of the repeat wins, PERE also unveiled a new award for the first time – the lifetime achievement award – which went to Barry Sternlicht for his stellar career in the private real estate industry.

The Starwood Capital Group founder, who has previously won three PERE global industry figure of the year titles, was honored for his decades-long winning streak that has included some of the biggest deals in the asset class.

Only two other firms bagged more than one award across the 44 categories: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and law firm Clifford Chance. CPPIB, PERE’s most decorated investor, won institutional investor of the year in North America in recognition of its forays into two US niche real estate sectors: student and senior housing. Peter Ballon – who CPPIB promoted to head of investments, real estate, this year – won industry figure for the region.

The global institutional investor of year honor, however, went to China Life, which made a splash with its cross-border joint venture with Starwood, buying a stake in around $2 billion of select-service Starwood hotels in the US. China’s largest life insurance company is the first Asian firm to win the title since China Investment Corporation in 2009.

Clifford Chance’s two awards mark a European double for the law firm. It has now won the fund formation award every year since the inaugural PERE competition in 2006. It also secured its fifth transactions award in 10 years after being involved in some of Europe’s largest single-asset deals of 2016, including the €1.3 billion purchase of Dublin’s Dundrum Shopping Centre by Allianz Real Estate and Hammerson, and Patrizia Immobilien’s €800 million acquisition of Germany’s tallest building, the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt.

Click here to see the winners in full.