PIMCO hires Luccioni for European real estate drive

The global investment management behemoth is in the final throws of finalising the details on bringing aboard the ex-MGPA chief executive officer for Europe.

Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), the global investment management behemoth with $2 trillion of assets under management, has appointed a head of European commercial real estate as it seeks to ramp up its activities in the region.

PERE can reval the California-based firm is finalising details on the hire of Laurent Luccioni, until the start of the year the former chief executive officer for Europe at Asia and Europe-focused private equity real estate firm MGPA. Currently on gardening leave, he takes up the new role at the end of April.

Based in the firm's London office, he will report to Dan Ivascyn, managing director and head of PIMCO's mortgage credit portfolio management team.

Confirming the hire in a statement later today, Ivascyn said: “Laurent is an outstanding investor and leader, and he brings to PIMCO significant experience and knowledge of the commercial real estate investment space in Europe and around the world.”

“PIMCO’s global investment platform, deep real estate and mortgage capabilities and intellectual capital enable us to provide a range of investment opportunities for our clients.”
The hire of Luccioni to lead its real estate investing activities in Europe comes after two other recent hires for the asset class. Last year PIMCO hired James Gilbert, a vice president at New York’s AREA Property Partners, and in 2010 PIMCO hired Lee Galloway, a senior vice president formerly at Cambridge Place. The search for a senior real estate figure was stepped up last year with the
appointment of recruitment consultants.

Luccioni left MGPA at the start of the year following five years with the firm. He also previously worked for Cherokee Investment Partners.

PIMCO already has made some notable real estate investments in Europe in recent years. In December the firm acquired five shopping centres in the UK for £95 million (€111 million; $144 million) in partnership with NewRiver Retail, a UK REIT. That deal was understood to be its first direct property deal in the region.
Traditionally it has been more active via various indirect channels. For instance, last August, the firm was believed to have bought a €238 million debt portfolio once controlled by Lehman Brothers from Germany’s Bundesbank. PIMCO also purchased bonds linked to a €1.4 billion Lehman CMBS backed by 800 commercial properties earlier in the year.

PIMCO’s real estate business is led globally by former JER Partners’ executives Devin Chen and John Murray. The firm has traditionally invested in distressed real estate through its alternatives platform via a series of funds, notable among them, PIMCO Bank Recapitalization and Value Opportunities Fund (BRAVO), which attracted $2.3 billion. The firm does manage a real estate fund also, the PIMCO RealEstateRealReturn Stategy Fund, although this vehicle focuses on real estate-linked derivatives backed by a portfolio of inflation-indexed and other fixed-income securities.