PERE 50 2017: Return of the kings

Industry legends retained their crowns in PERE’s annual ranking of the 50 largest global fund managers. But a few notable names shook up the list, with one manager leaping 48 places in a single year and another firm resurrecting after years away.

2017 saw the same three firms remain at the top of the list: Blackstone, Lone Star Funds and Brookfield Asset Management. The first, a thus-far permanent fixture at the top spot, towered over its nearest rivals having raised the industry’s two largest funds: Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII ($13.3 billion) and BREP VIII ($15.8 billion).

Below the top three, however, there were remarkable risers in the ranking. The biggest jump came from Cerberus Capital Management which catapulted 48 places to 29th after a fundraising stretch that included its most recent $1.8 billion haul for its fourth global opportunistic real estate vehicle. The other, arguably more remarkable, leap came with the Lazarus-like return of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, which jumped 43 places to 22nd. After three years in the wild, the New York-based firm’s return to form came with the $1.9 billion fundraise for North Haven Real Estate Fund IX Global launched in November. Meanwhile, GreenOak Real Estate – the firm set up by three former heads of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing in 2010 – jumped six places to 12th.

Another notable change this year was the growth of the non-US contingent of the PERE 50, which comprised four Asian and six European firms. Asia’s frontrunner continued to be Global Logistic Properties at fifth, ahead of Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital, which jumped 25 places after raising $1.8 billion for its fifth flagship fund. The most progress from an Asian firm came from PAG, another Hong Kong player, which entered the ranking on the strength of its $1.55 billion raise for its distress debt-focused Secured Capital Real Estate Partners VI.

On the European front, two London firms came into the fold: Orion Capital Managers and Kildare Partners which jumped 32 and 22 places, respectively, to take 31st and 32nd. In the case of the former, the firm returned to the top 50 – having secured 13th in 2014 – after smashing through its target to raise $1.5 billion for its fifth Western Europe fund. The youthful Kildare, meanwhile, re-entered the ranking with $3.32 billion raised in all.

Taking a step back, the PERE 50 revealed investor appetite for real estate exposure remains strong with an aggregate $280 billion raised by the PERE 50 versus $271 billion last year. Meanwhile, the barrier to entry for the ranking was ever higher, with $2.33 billion versus $2 billion in 2016, and $1.8 billion the year before that.