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…
Virginia Retirement System
HQ: Richmond, US
The US public pension fund has climbed five places in the ranking in a year that has seen its commitments to real estate, currently standing at 13.4 percent of total assets under management, rise well above its target allocation of 8 percent. VRS followed up a $150 million commitment to the Asian market via Blackstone’s Real Estate Partners Asia II fund in 2017 by allocating a further $52 million to New York-based Fortress Investment Group’s Fortress Japan Opportunity IV debt strategy this year. Meanwhile, on the domestic front, it invested $75 million in North American opportunistic strategy Artemis Real Estate Partners Fund III.
Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan
HQ: Toronto, Canada
One of this year’s new entrants, the Ontario healthcare workers pension plan provider allocates more than 17 percent of its investment portfolio to real estate. Under the leadership of vice-president for real estate Stephen Taylor, HOOPP invests in US, Canadian and European property through funds, direct investment and development, with its investments in the asset class returning 11.9 percent in 2017.
In September, the investor landed Amazon as the first tenant at its 57-acre Delta iPort logistics park in Vancouver. It is also funding the development of the 33-floor Vancouver Center II tower in the British Columbian city’s downtown.
Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company
HQ: Tokyo, Japan
Like many Japanese investors, insurer Dai-ichi Life jettisoned most of its overseas real estate holdings during the 1990s, so the company’s announcement in October 2017 that it would be making a cautious return to the asset class outside the domestic market through a ¥10 billion ($89 million; €77 million) investment in funds of funds was greeted with some fanfare.
There has been no news of further real estate investments since then, albeit in June the company did commit £70 million ($92 million; €79 million) to become a lead investor in the open-ended M&G Infrastructure Loan Fund, providing finance for railways, schools and hospitals in Europe.
HQ: Toronto, Canada
The Canadian insurance company operates in the property sector as John Hancock Real Estate in the US and Manulife Real Estate in other parts of the world. It owns, develops and manages a portfolio consisting primarily of office and industrial properties, as well as some retail and multi-family residential in metropolitan centers throughout Asia, Canada and the US.
The investor made its first foray into the Australian market in January 2018 by acquiring the 800 Collins Street office tower in Melbourne. While Manulife usually focuses on direct investments, the firm told PERE in May that it was looking at potential investment opportunities in pan-Asia core funds.
Alberta Investment Management Corporation
HQ: Edmonton, Canada
Institutional investment fund manager AIMCo manages C$103.7 billion ($79.1 billion; €68.6 billion) on behalf of Alberta pensions, endowments and government funds, around 13 percent of which is allocated to real estate. In 2018, the investor has grown its property portfolio through direct investments and joint ventures.
In July, it teamed up with fellow Canadian investor CPPIB and WPT Industrial REIT to aggregate a portfolio of US industrial properties through a value-add and development investment strategy. Another notable investment this year was the purchase of the newly developed Docks Bruxsel shopping center in Brussels for €300 million.
Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System
HQ: Toronto, Canada
Canadian pension fund OMERS invests in the sector through its real estate arm, Oxford Properties, which saw a change of leadership in 2018 as Michael Turner, formerly head of its Canadian business, replaced Blake Hutcheson, who moved to OMERS as chief pensions officer.
Despite falling down the ranking 11 places this year, Oxford says it is on a “strong development push,” including committing $2 billion to transform an old freight terminal at Hudson Square on Manhattan’s West Side into a 1.3 million-square-foot office building. The firm is also competing with Blackstone to take private Australian REIT Investa Office Fund, in a $3.6 billion deal.
HQ: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Dutch construction industry pension fund’s allocation to real estate stands at around 15.6 percent. Those investments are administered by Amsterdam-based investment manager Bouwinvest, which handles three international mandates on bpfBOUW’s behalf of €1.1 billion in North America, a similar sum in Europe, and €778 million in Asia-Pacific.
Bouwinvest is seeking to grow its North American platform to €1.5 billion by 2020 through investments in listed and unlisted real estate funds, joint ventures, co-investments and club deals.
In May, it was one of several limited partners to take an equity stake in the development of Tishman Speyer’s 314-meter The Spiral skyscraper in New York, investing $100 million of bpfBOUW’s capital.
Zurich Insurance Group
HQ: Zurich, Switzerland
At MIPIM this year Cornel Widmer, head of group real estate, confirmed that the Swiss insurer’s appetite for the asset class remains unsated. He told PERE the company planned to buy $1.5 million of real estate globally in 2018 and to re-enter the French market with an equity investment of $300 million-$400 million. The investor has focused on growing its AUM through direct acquisitions, including three substantial mixed-use assets: 500 East Morehead in Charlotte, North Carolina, The East in Frankfurt, and the Konrad hotel and residential development in Hamburg, leaving its allocation to real estate standing at 7.4 percent in May.
New York State Common Retirement Fund
HQ: Albany, US
NYSCRF, the third largest US public pension plan, currently allocates 6.7 percent of its total value of $207.4 billion to real estate, but with a target of 8 percent it has been looking to up its commitment to the sector this year, primarily through investing in funds.
Logistics has been a particular focus: the investor committed $300 million to the Prologis Targeted US Logistics Fund and $200 million to Exeter Europe Value Ventures III, a value-add fund investing in European logistics. NYSCRF also backed the open-ended Blackstone Property Partners to the tune of $200 million and invested $150 million in alternative real estate assets through Heitman Value Partners IV.
SBA/Florida Retirement System Pension Plan
HQ: Tallahassee, US
Florida’s state board of administration manages more than 30 funds, including the state’s retirement system pension plan and hurricane catastrophe fund. The Florida Retirement System Pension Plan is its largest client, holding more than 80 percent of the state board of administration’s assets.
The board committed $100 million to Landmark Partners, a new manager for the investor, during the second quarter of 2018. Previously it has invested with managers such as JPMorgan Asset Management, The Carlyle Group, Blackstone, BlackRock Real Estate and Starwood Capital Group. The state board of administration targets a 10 percent allocation to real estate out of the more than $202 billion of funds under management. As of July 31, real estate investments were underweight with an 8.9 percent allocation.