Sometimes it feels as though global opportunistic investing is reminiscent of the flash mob craze. For example, suddenly and without much warning, a whole bunch of disparate people have rocked up in Continental Europe, making the place awash with capital where hitherto it was quiet.
An exaggeration perhaps but, closer to reality, Europe has witnessed steady and growing interest over the past year. Indeed, investors have grown much more comfortable after positive speeches by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, about Europe’s financial stability and prospects.
Still, there is plenty of evidence of the massive focus that is now upon Europe, not least in the region’s fundraising statistics. As explained on page 16, Europe has just seen its hottest quarter in a long time in terms of capital raised for commingled funds.
There is nothing wrong with all this interest. Indeed, opportunistic real estate investing is regarded as being the art of nimbly going where the opportunity lies wherever in the world that may be. The caveat, however, is that part of the thesis has to do with going places where there is perceived to be a lack of capital. In Europe, is that still the case and, if so, for how much longer?
With this in mind, you will find numerous references to the region within this issue. However, while Europe might be the hottest story right now, there is plenty more happening in the world of private equity real estate.
This issue happens to contain our annual PERE 50 ranking of the world’s biggest private equity real estate firms in terms of fundraising activity. Beginning on page 45, we break down what the numbers mean before diving into brief profiles on the top 50 firms. Complementing that coverage, Evelyn Lee and Katie Bucaccio explore some of the latest fundraising trends, including the co-investment craze, on pages 32 and 34, respectively.
Not that you think we are all about fundraising, we also have an interview with one of the world’s premiere institutional investors, Australia’s Future Fund. Starting on page26, we discuss strategy with its head real estate man, Barry Brakey.
In addition, we have our inaugural roundtable discussion on China, where the government atypically is allowing a developer to go bust. Michelle Phillips finds out why that is being welcomed by those on the ground, beginning on page 38.
Last but not least, we bring you a special report on Japan, where Abenomics seems to be having a positive effect. There isn’t exactly a flash mob in Tokyo, but the signs are there of renewed interest. The report is published alongside this issue.