EUROPE NEWS: Fresh start for European fund of funds doyen

Anders Âström has joined Credit Suisse in Zurich as co-head of real estate customised fund investment group in the bank's alternative investments division.

The new business is going to create vehicles for institutional investors on a global basis via separate accounts, coinvestments, fund and funds, as well as purpose-built funds to help multi-nationals with pension schemes in multi jurisdictions. All the vehicles to be created are to be unlisted.

Âström told PERE the team he is co head of mirrors a similar division based in New York which handles indirect private equity investments at Credit Suisse. The customised fund investment group manages around $23 billion of private equity investments, which the new real estate version will work alongside of. “Credit Suisse is a huge platform already and has lots of relationships so we have ambitions for this business,” he said.

When Âström left Aberdeen Property Investors last September, the indirect property investment team he was responsible for had amassed €3 billion of assets. The other co-head of Credit Suisse's new division is Tomas Otterud, who deputised to Âström at Aberdeen. Between them they created Aberdeen Property Investors Indirect Investment Management, which launched Europe's first pooled property real estate fund of funds in 2005.

Credit Suisse HQ, Zurich

The third former Aberdeen professional that has joined Credit Suisse is Bo Ljunglöf, a former director responsible for Aberdeen's indirect property management Asian activities. A fourth person from Aberdeen has joined in Europe, while a fifth professional has been transferred from Credit Suisse's real estate fund placement group in New York.

The team reports to David Hodes and Doug Weill, global co-heads of the real estate investment group at Credit Suisse. The real estate investment group oversees the bank's real estate investment and fundraising business and includes DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, which manages opportunity funds.

Âström said the business was starting with a clean sheet of paper at a time when all real estate markets were suffering. “If investors are considering real estate there is good opportunity out there over the next couple of years,” he said.

European fund of funds – for which Âström is best known – is still a nascent industry given that the first one was created just four years ago. That said, today there are closer to 40 to 50 products. Experts suggest that this number could be consolidated given the shake out currently being experienced among fund managers.