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: Munich, Germany
Bayerische Versorgungskammer planned to slow its US real estate investing in 2018 amid rising hedging costs and interest rates, Rainer Komenda, head of real estate investment global, told PERE during the MIPIM property conference in Cannes in March.
Despite this, Germany’s largest pension fund is still targeting a sizable amount of investment activity in the US as part of a larger goal to invest €2 billion globally in real estate equity this year. Indeed, BVK was part of a consortium that purchased 100,000 square feet of vacant office space at 685 Fifth Avenue in New York in August.
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
HQ: Toronto, Canada
Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan reported nearly $194 billion in net assets at the end of June. Approximately 14 percent of its portfolio has been dedicated to real estate investments, which are managed by Cadillac Fairview, a real estate owner and operator the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan acquired in 2000.
Investments are made primarily in Class-A retail and office properties on behalf of 323,000 active and retired school teachers. The pension plan’s real estate portfolio is valued at approximately $29 billion and includes major developments such as the Deloitte Tower and Toronto-Dominion Centre.
HQ: London, UK
London-based pension fund manager Prudential made its debut in the ranking last year and has managed to hold the same position this year with an acquisitive global investment strategy.
The year started with Tony Brown being named as the head of M&G Real Estate, Prudential’s investment arm. M&G Real Estate went on to make one of its biggest deals in Asia in August when it tied up with two Korean institutional investors to acquire Seoul’s Centropolis Towers for $1.05 billion. Other investments this year include a €15 million care and assisted living home in Sweden and a €42 million office asset in Brussels, among others.
National Pension Service of Korea
HQ: Jeolla-bukdo, S Korea
South Korea’s National Pension Service has seen a fair share of commotion with resignations among senior investment officers. The vacancies included that of chief investment officer since July 2017, until Hyo-Joon Ahn was appointed as a lasting solution in October 2018.
The revolving door has left some alternative asset managers frustrated with longer response times involving NPS transactions. However, the size of checks written by the world’s third-largest pension fund never loses appeal, and the firepower has not been any less mighty.
The $1.5 billion purchase of London’s Plumtree Court is a case in point, while new manager mandates have been appointed.
HQ: Trieste, Italy
The real estate investment arm of Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali climbed back up the ranking after new chief executive Aldo Mazzocco made his impact. In 2018, new investments in the real estate sector continued to be mainly oriented toward European markets.
Among the acquisitions were Generali’s Danish debut with a high-street retail asset in Copenhagen. Office assets were the top pick on the shopping list, with three in Paris, as well as one each in Brussels and Warsaw. The real estate investments made up 4 percent of €351 billion total assets under management by the end of June 2018, up from 3.8 percent since the end of 2017.
GIC Private Limited
The preeminent Singaporean sovereign wealth fund had 7 percent of its portfolio allocated to real estate investments as of March 2018, the same allocation as a year before. One of GIC’s highlight deals this year was the formation of a China value-add fund with the global logistics giant GLP in September.
GIC’s “significant stake” in GLP China Value-Add Venture II, with $2 billion in assets under management, was its first after selling shares in GLP as part of its privatization. Meanwhile in the US, the investor continued to expand its student housing exposure with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board with a $1.1 billion portfolio purchase in January.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
HQ: Quebec, Canada
Real estate investments accounted for 11.5 percent of CDPQ’s overall portfolio at the end of 2017. Geographically, the institutional investor had greater US real estate exposure than domestic real estate holdings. US properties accounted for 45.2 percent of the portfolio in 2017 compared with the 32.2 percent and 13.9 percent committed to Canadian and European real estate assets.
Real estate investment subsidiary Ivanhoé Cambridge, which makes real estate investments on behalf of CDPQ, acquired private real estate firm Callahan Capital Properties in September. Ivanhoé Cambridge, acquired by CDPQ in 1990, has a portfolio with stakes in more than 1,000 assets across the residential, office, retail, industrial and logistics property types.
California State Teachers’ Retirement System
HQ: West Sacramento, US
The investor manages $228 billion, administered by a 12-member teachers’ retirement board that ensures benefits will be paid to its more than 914,000 members and benefit recipients. The system provides retirement benefits to the state’s public school educators and is currently the largest public teachers’ pension fund in the US.
CalSTRS has been vocal in its support of sustainable and socially responsible investments, establishing its first written policy to navigate ESG issues in 1978. In February, it announced the selection of eight ESG-focused managers to execute specific investment strategies. The pension system has allocated 12.95 percent of total investment assets to real estate as of August 31.
Norges Bank Investment Management
HQ: Oslo, Norway
After diving to 14th in 2017’s ranking, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has risen again. The announced focus on real estate relative to expanding into other asset classes has been carried out. And proof of that was a landmark investment completed in Japan, where NBIM made its debut in Asia via an acquisition of a 70 percent interest in a portfolio of five Tokyo office and retail assets.
Out of $1.02 trillion total assets under management, 2.64 percent was in unlisted real estate as of the end of June 2018, a share increase from 2.58 percent since the end of 2017.