ARA extends US pension management with $240m account

  The Singapore-based real estate manager has launched a separate account for an unnamed US pension plan.  

Singapore-based ARA Asset Management has raised $240 million for a separate account focused on a value-add/core-plus strategy in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, according to a firm statement.

The separate account, named Morningside Investment Partners (MIP), was formed on behalf of a US state pension plan that the firm declined to name. However, PERE understands that the pension fund in question was the New York Common Retirement Fund, and that this would be the first time New York Common has invested with ARA.

US backing is not the company’s first. Among the US pensions that it manages capital for is the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) which brought its commitments to the fund manager to $1.33 billion with a $300 million follow-on commitment to an existing separate account called ARA China Investment Partners.

“As ARA continues to expand its suite of fund platforms, we are delighted to have established this new strategic partnership,” ARA Group chief executive John Lim said in the statement. “With this new separate account, ARA now manages capital for four of the top 10 largest US public pension funds.”

According to PERE’s Research and Analytics division, ARA’s private fund platform also manages capital on behalf of California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), New Jersey Division of Investment, New York City Employees' Retirement System, and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

In a contrast to the strategies behind ARA’s most recent fundraisings, the MIP separate account will exclude Mainland China from its mandate and focus solely on Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

The CalPERS separate account is focused entirely on greater China, while the firm’s $411 million Asia Dragon Fund II has a much larger allocation to China than its predecessor. Like the CalPERS separate account, however, MIP will also be focused on a value-add/core-plus strategy, predominantly in the office and retail sectors.

This new account has brought ARA’s total assets under management to S$23.7 billion (€14 billion; $19 billion) across its listed REITs and private funds. The firm is listed on the Singapore stock exchange and manages real estate through its REITs, private funds business, property management and advisory services.