This is the second year that PERE’s ranking of the world’s leading investors has hit the 50-player mark, and what stands out above all else is stability, particularly in the top 30, with many of the same names featuring as in 2017. The world’s largest pools of capital have increased their commitments again in 2018 at $991 billion, compared with $896 billion a year ago. The commitment of the leading 30 investors has also increased from $719 billion in 2017 to $794 billion.
Our Global Investor 50 is based on the market value of investors’ private real estate investment portfolios both through third-party managed investment vehicles and direct property investments. A full methodology – and the entire ranking itself – can be found here.
Now, we continue our countdown…
HQ: Zurich, Switzerland
Swiss Life remained active in real estate in 2018, striking its latest merger and acquisition with the purchase of Berlin-based real estate investment manager BEOS in August. Then, in October, Swiss Life Asset Managers, through which Swiss Life invests its own insurance equity alongside third-party capital, agreed to acquire 80 percent of a French housing portfolio from ICF Novedis, a subsidiary of French railway company SNCF Group.
There is more to come: also last month, Stefan Mächler, Group CIO of Swiss Life, said the insurer planned to launch new pan-European funds, including a European healthcare property fund, in the coming months.
California Public Employees’ Retirement System
HQ: Sacramento, US
For the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, 2018 was yet another challenging year to deploy capital in real estate. As of April 30, the pension plan had invested only 25 percent of the $4.2 billion it had allocated to the asset class for the fiscal year ended June 30. “We’re not the only ones chasing those investments and properties, and pricing has continued to spiral upwards,” Paul Mouchakkaa, CalPERS’ head of real assets, told PERE in August. Despite this, the pension plan also set aside $4.2 billion in real estate commitments for fiscal year 2018-19, of which more than $1 billion each went to Boston-based GID and Los Angeles’s CommonWealth Partners.
Qatar Investment Authority
HQ: Doha, Qatar
QIA has featured prominently in PERE’s rankings for many years for its high-profile deals, including the landmark Asia Square Tower 1 purchase in Singapore in 2017. However, the lack of buying momentum this year, judging by public announcements and news reports, has led to the Middle Eastern investor dropping from third to eighth position.
Qatar’s diplomatic crisis with some other members of the Gulf Co-operation Council, which began last year and is yet to be fully resolved, has led the market to speculate QIA is liquidating foreign assets, including real estate. The uncertainty about QIA’s global investment program continues, especially since the fund’s chief executive, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, vehemently denied the asset sales in a Reuters interview in April.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
HQ: Toronto, Canada
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s global real estate activities in 2018 were largely concentrated in the residential and industrial sectors. Between June and August, the pension plan made significant allocations to logistics partnerships in China, Korea, the US and Brazil, the largest of which was an additional $1.4 billion commitment to an existing China logistics joint venture with Australian industrial property group Goodman Group.
In January, CPPIB announced residential partnerships targeting more than $4 billion in aggregate equity commitments in the UK and US, most notably an alliance with Australia’s Lendlease to initially target £1.5 billion ($2.68 billion; €1.69 billion) in the UK build-to-rent sector.
Singaporean investor Temasek continues its push into global real estate markets. As of end March, the investor had 16 percent of its portfolio invested in the consumer and real estate sectors combined.
In October, Mapletree Investments, Temasek Holdings’ real estate investing arm, made one of its biggest deals outside Asia-Pacific by acquiring a 16.5 million square feet logistics portfolio, spread across the US and Europe, for $1.1 billion from Prologis. Michael Smith, the firm’s regional chief executive for Europe and US said the deal was in line with Mapletree’s strategy to venture beyond Asia.