AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets

Capital raised: $19.5bn
Head office: Paris

Among AXA’s debt funds are its mammoth Commercial Real Estate Senior funds. Commercial Real Estate Senior 9 (CRE 9) closed in 2015 at €2.9 billion, over €1 billion above target, and 2017’s Commercial Real Estate Senior 10 (CRE 10) closed at its cap of €1.5 billion. Both are currently investing, with a new fund launched this year already sized at €904 million. The closing of CRE 10 took AXA IM – Real Assets’ total debt commitments to more than €14 billion and was AXA’s first debt fund to have an initial mandate in the US.If you’re going to make an entrance, go big. Absent from the first iteration of PERE’s RED 50, AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets has done just that, debuting right at the top of the list with a whopping $19.5 billion of capital raised for real estate debt issuance – barely less than the next three firms combined. It was the first non-banking institution to enter the European real estate debt market in 2005, having raised more than €14 billion across private and listed debt since then. It focuses on conservative loan-to-value, quality assets and growth potential. AXA’s debt funds aim to capture risk-adjusted returns from senior loan real estate investments.

The head of commercial real estate private debt is Antonio de Laurentiis. In late 2018 AXA bought a US real estate debt business from Quadrant Real Estate Advisors, acquiring the US debt investment team and a $9.4 billion portfolio of US commercial mortgage loans.



Capital raised: $8.5bn
Head office: New York

Making way at the top for AXA is Blackstone, the leader of the 2019 RED 50 list, which moves into second place despite having raised $1.31 billion more than it had for the inaugural list. Its most recent real estate debt fund is Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies IV, sized at $285 million but seeking $5 billion. The vehicle will focus on public and private debt globally with an emphasis on the US. The previous fund in the BREDS series – Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies III – closed on $4.5 billion in 2016, ahead of its $4 billion target, with a focus on mezzanine and structured lending on well-located, institutional quality real estate.

Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies II closed a year before that on $3.6 billion. BREDS II and III are both still investing.

Blackstone’s real estate debt business provides financing solutions across the capital structure and risk spectrum. It also manages Blackstone Mortgage Trust, a real estate finance company that originates senior loans collateralized by commercial real estate.

The firm started investing in real estate in 1991. The real estate debt team is led by Michael Nash, senior managing director and co-founder of the group and chairman; Jonathan Pollack, senior managing director and global head of the group; and Tim Johnson, senior managing editor and global head of originations for BREDS.

Blackstone’s real estate debt funds typically target investments with current cashflow, capital protection and high-quality borrowers.



Capital raised: $5.8bn
Head office: Madison

After raising around $1.5 billion more than it had for the first RED 50, PGIM bursts into the top three, pipping Cerberus Capital Management to third place. The firm’s real estate businesses are led by Eric Adler, chairman of PGIM Real Estate and PGIM Real Estate Finance.

The global real estate debt business is led by David Durning, president and CEO of PGIM Real Estate Finance. The firm’s $1.16 billion PGIM Real Estate US Debt Fund (Open-ended) was launched in 2017 and invests in the US.

PGIM’s debt strategies also include Europe’s largest series of dedicated real estate mezzanine funds.


Cerberus Capital Management

Capital raised: $5.8bn
Head office: New York

A new entrant to the RED 50 top five, Cerberus Capital Management has raised almost $5.8 billion for real estate debt. It launched Cerberus Real Estate Debt Fund in 2019 and Cerberus Institutional Real Estate Partners V in January 2020.

Cerberus invests in the debt and equity of commercial and residential properties and portfolios, as well as directly into real estate operating companies and servicing platforms. Last year the firm hired Grant Berlin as global head of real estate fundraising. He was previously head of real estate fundraising and global consultant relationships for Brookfield Asset Management, leading US fundraising efforts.


Intermediate Capital Group

Capital raised: $5.2bn
Head office: London

Hanging on to its place in the top five, Intermediate Capital Group most recently established a $100 million separate account with Indiana Public Retirement System. The firm’s real estate investment solutions are typically provided and managed by its real estate division, ICG-Longbow.

ICG-Longbow has completed a first close on the 2019 vintage ICG-Longbow Senior Debt Programme Vintage IV, which has a current size of £500 million ($623 million; €570 million) and a target size of £1 billion. ICG-Longbow’s real estate team mainly invests in self-originated whole loans secured against commercial property in the UK. It also provides development funding and subordinated capital.



Capital raised: $5.1bn
Head office: New York

With more than $5 billion of capital raised for real estate debt issuance, AllianceBernstein misses out on a place in the top five of PERE’s RED 50 by a very slim margin. The firm’s dedicated real estate effort began in 2009. Its commercial real estate debt group, AB CRED, was formed in 2012 by Roger Cozzi, who is now CIO.

AB CRED focuses on first mortgage loans secured by transitional properties that demonstrate the potential for value creation through lease-up, asset renovation, asset repositioning or market recovery. AB CRED’s most recent fund closed in June 2018 and totaled $3.1 billion in commitments from institutional investors worldwide.


M&G Investments

Capital raised: $4.8bn
Head office: London

With an extra $188 million of debt capital raised since the first RED 50, London’s M&G Investments has strengthened its grip on a top 10 place. This was partly down to fundraising for M&G Real Estate Debt Finance VI, which it launched last year.

M&G Investments’ real estate debt finance team invests across the capital structure through senior, mezzanine and whole loan strategies, and offers both commingled and separate account products. The first vehicle in M&G’s Real Estate Debt Finance series was 2011’s €343 million fund.

It launched three real estate debt vehicles in 2017, all focused on European debt.


Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division

Capital raised: $4.7bn
Head office: New York

Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division was ranked second in the first RED 50 ranking, with more than $7 billion raised. In the latest cycle it has raised $4.7 billion, which is still enough to keep it comfortably within the top 10.

The firm has 24 offices in 15 countries around the world. It is one of the largest managers of private capital globally and has been operating since 1986. Its most recently raised real estate debt fund is Broad Street Real Estate Credit Partners III, which held a final close in December 2017 at $4.26 billion, including a sizeable commitment from Goldman’s balance sheet.


Bridge Investment Group

Capital raised: $4.2bn
Head office: Salt Lake City

Bridge Investment Group rises to the top 10 thanks to an additional $950 million of debt capital raised. Bridge Debt Strategies Fund III held a final close in December 2019 at $1.63 billion – $130 million above target. The fund is investing in office, healthcare, multifamily and residential in the US.

Bridge’s debt team was established by James Chung, who is partner and CIO of Bridge Debt Strategies Fund Manager. The team invests in commercial real estate-backed fixed income, focusing on underserved debt markets such as Freddie Mac K-Series B-pieces and first mortgage lending on value-add opportunities in multifamily, office and senior housing assets.