Swiss Life adds UK piece with Mayfair Capital buy

The investment arm of the Zurich-based insurer has snapped up UK property fund manager Mayfair Capital Investment Management to create a pan-European business with some £55.3bn ($68.6bn; €61.4bn) of real estate assets under management. 

Swiss Life Asset Managers, the investment arm of insurer Swiss Life, has acquired Mayfair Capital Investment Management, the London-based property investment firm which has £1 billion ($1.24 billion; €1.1 billion) real estate assets, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, which is expected to be completed in the final quarter of 2016, brings a UK platform together with real estate teams in Switzerland, Germany, France. Across the platform, there is £55.3 billion of real estate assets under management.

Mayfair Capital will continue to trade under its existing name, while chief executive James Thornton and chief investment officer Robert Palmer will continue in their roles.

The firm manages the Property Income Trust for Charities and is adviser to the Mayfair Capital Property Unit Trust, on behalf of clients of Schroder Real Estate Capital Partner, and the Mayfair Capital Commercial Property Trust, on behalf of clients of Jupiter Asset Management.

Swiss Life said the acquisition of a UK property fund management business had been a key objective for the firm following similar purchases in France and Germany in recent years.

“The acquisition is an important step in our growth strategy involving one of our core strategic areas. With Mayfair Capital we can expand our regional presence and strengthen our position as one of the leading institutional real estate and asset managers in Europe,” said Stefan Mächler, chief investment officer of Swiss Life.

“The transaction will also enable us to extend our existing client relationships and gain access to new clients. We look forward to working with the experienced Mayfair Capital real estate team,” he added.

Thornton said Mayfair Capital had been looking for a strategic partner to assist with its growth strategy. “The transaction will provide our clients with access to a wider range of investment solutions across the major European markets and an investment platform with significantly enhanced distribution reach,” he said.

“With Swiss Life as its new owner, Mayfair Capital will be able to develop its business by entering new markets and launching new products. We are convinced that this will be very appealing and beneficial to our clients whilst giving them continuity in how their assets are managed. We look forward to being part of a like-minded and ambitious group and working with our new partners,” Thornton added.