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 wrap up our countdown with the final five…
TIAA Global Asset Management/Nuveen
HQ: New York, US
TH Real Estate, the real estate investment arm of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, had no shortage of activity in 2018. Transactions include the acquisition of ownership interests in three US regional malls from Brookfield Property Partners in August and the purchase of EDGE Olympic in Amsterdam, kicking off a strategic partnership with local technology real estate company EDGE Technologies, with the goal of amassing a €1 billion European office portfolio in the next three to five years. The manager also furthered its global real estate strategy with a first close in May on its £500 million ($653 million; €566 million) Global Real Estate Debt Partners – Fund II.
AXA Investment Managers
HQ: Paris, France
French insurer AXA Investment Managers has risen one place in the ranking this year and committed a substantial $7.3 billion of additional capital to real estate. The firm solidified its position in a number of sectors in 2018, including taking full control of European data center operator DATA4 and forming a $400 million US industrial joint venture with Bixby Land. In June, it sold Ropemaker Place, a prime City of London office block, to Singapore’s Ho Bee Land for £650 million ($864 million; €737 million).
Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP
HQ: Heerlen, Netherlands
Although still ranked in the top five, the Dutch pensions group has fallen a single place in the Global Investor 50 after lowering capital committed to real estate by just over $2 billion. However, that may change in the medium-term as Patrick Kanters, head of real estate at in-house manager APG, would like to see an increase in the allocation to 15 percent from its current range of 10-12 percent. The group continues to favor large direct investments in joint ventures and club deals. A truly global investor, Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP is notable for its commitments to Indian real estate.
Allianz Real Estate
HQ: Munich, Germany
Allianz Real Estate has continued its aggressive expansion, committing a further $7.6 billion of capital to the sector and rising two places in the Global Investor 50 this year. In 2016, chief executive Francois Trausch declared his intent to grow the business 25 percent by 2020 and he achieved this target 18 months ahead of forecast. Growth could be sustained by a recent decision to raise third-party capital for the first time in Allianz’s history. Previously, the Munich-based group only raised capital from its own insurance businesses. External capital-raising will be initially focused on German investors and limited to Allianz’s real estate debt programme, which has a European loan book of more than $8 billion.
Asia-Pacific has played a key role in the group’s growth this year; it is on target to reach €1 billion of real estate assets under management in China this year, after buying its first office building there, and in April moved into student housing in the region with a $191 million investment into a club vehicle managed by Australian group Scape. It also committed $185 million to e-Shang Redwood’s latest Japan logistics fund.
Despite this and a growing business in the US, European assets still account for 68 percent of the German company’s portfolio. It has continued to invest in Europe, making forward purchases of assets for the first time and opened an office in Vienna in March, its 18th in the world.
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
HQ: Abu Dhabi, UAE
The undisputed heavyweight champion of global real estate investing, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority stands head and shoulders above other global investors with $62.1 billion of capital allocated to the sector. That represents an increase of more than $15 billion in the past year and puts ADIA nearly $14 billion ahead of second-ranked Allianz Real Estate. To add further context, this year’s increased capital commitment – if taken as a separate entity – would rank 26th on this year’s Global Investor 50.
ADIA invests the oil wealth of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the United Arab Emirates, and is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, with total assets under management estimated to be around $800 billion. ADIA maintains a real estate allocation of 5-10 percent but does not publish its AUM data.
This year, Bill Schwab stood down as head of global real estate after nine years in the position and was replaced by Tom Arnold, his deputy. During Schwab’s stewardship, ADIA substantially expanded its in-house real estate capabilities, quadrupling the team to 200 staff. In 2009, 70 percent of assets were managed externally; that figure dropped to 55 percent this year. Earlier this year, portfolio manager Harry Ip told the PERE China Forum that ADIA planned to capitalize on China’s deleveraging policy and was targeting the logistics, residential and office sectors. It has also been a substantial investor in India and in August was reported to be selling State Tower Namsan in Seoul, for $531 million.