EUROPE NEWS: New heads for a new cycle

Raimondo Amabile and Andrew Radkiewicz have enjoyed long real estate careers in senior roles at various organizations. Now, with Eric Adler recently promoted to global chief investment officer at Pramerica Real Estate Investors, the two men have been picked to become co-heads of the European business, which manages $8.9 billion of core, core-plus, value-added and debt investments.

In an interview with PERE, Amabile and Radkiewicz said one of their missions is to finish overhauling the business. When Adler was poached in 2010, there was much work to be done in “joining up” Pramerica’s various groups to best serve investors. Indeed, there were at least five different businesses, including an opportunistic real estate investment unit run by Philip Barrett, a Germany-focused company in TMW Pramerica and Sharia-compliant, core investing and UK-focused platforms.

Today, Pramerica looks different. The opportunistic business essentially has been shut down, with almost all of the assets sold off. Barrett, who joined in 1999, has been moved to chief risk officer for Europe and Asia. In Germany, where question marks were raised over the performance of some TMW investments, Sebastiano Ferrante has been appointed as the group’s new head.

Crucially, Pramerica has built an increasingly successful debt business, which Radkiewicz launched when he joined in 2009. The European real estate finance group has proven to be an area where the firm can raise significant capital, and the goal is to accumulate €1 billion of dry powder by the end of the first half this year, said Radkiewicz.

Meanwhile, Amabile is providing the European business with equity expertise, having joined as head of European investments in January 2012. He noted that Pramerica raised €700 million of equity last year, including a mandate from a large German pension for a core-plus strategy.

The joint heads noted how certain investors – for example, those from the US – have progressed their decision-making from wondering whether Europe is a good place to invest to asking Pramerica how best to invest. “Last year, the best way to do it was through an equity/debt hybrid, and that is still a great way to do it,” they said. “But we also sense a broadening of opportunities towards more value-added strategies.”