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Insurance Companies Compete Against Sovereign Funds for Institutional Real Estate

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Growing in prevalence, global insurance giants like Munich-based Allianz SE are competing against sovereign funds on core properties. Historically, institutional real estate has been an important asset class for insurers. In 2013, Allianz had issues finding enough “good” deals in real estate.

The 9.1% increase in total deal amount reflects a growing appetite for real assets by sovereign wealth funds.

The mad rush toward real assets was prompted by central banks lowering rates, forcing institutional investors to crave yield in illiquid asset classes like real estate. The bidding conflicts over institutional real estate by sovereign funds, elephantine pension funds, real estate managers and other insurance companies are creating bubble-like conditions in certain markets.

Earlier in the 2000s, insurance companies used to compete for prime properties from real estate investors like the Kuwait Investment Authority, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and GIC RE. In some circumstances, insurance companies sold these properties to sovereign wealth funds, yielding nice profits. For example, in July 2008, Tishman Speyer Properties and Prudential Real Estate Investors (owned a German real estate entity, TMW) sold a 90% stake in the Chrysler Building to the Abu Dhabi Investment Council. More public investors are allocating to real estate.

Other sovereign funds and large pensions are either entering the direct property game, or increasing allocation like Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), the China Investment Corporation, Korea’s National Pension Service, CPPIB and China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (through special vehicles). Norway’s SWF has even found insurers as partners like Metlife.

Direct Sovereign Wealth Fund Transactions – Real Estate – Billions USD

real estate sovereign wealth fund
Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, January 2014

The mega shift of sovereign wealth money toward real assets is having a profound effect in global real estate markets. Direct sovereign wealth fund transactions in real estate totaled US$ 16.35 billion in 2012 and increased to US$ 17.83 billion in 2013. The 9.1% increase in total deal amount reflects a growing appetite for real assets by sovereign wealth funds.

Ascendas-Singbridge Acquires Three Hotels in Osaka

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Singapore’s Ascendas-Singbridge has acquired three hotels in Osaka for 10.29 billion JPY to tap tourism growth in Japan’s third-largest city.

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BlackRock Contemplates Stake in Eurizon

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Asset management giant BlackRock is contemplating purchasing a 30% ownership stake in Intesa SanPaolo’s asset management unit called Eurizon Capital SGR S.p.A. BlackRock is keen on growing its technology business and increase market adoption of its Aladdin platform.

Intesa has been working with UBS to seek out strategic options for Eurizon. Intesa is keen on maintaining control over Eurizon.

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SWFI First Read, June 22, 2018

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JPMorgan Fund Buys 40% of Oxford Properties’ French Portfolio

A fund advised by JP Morgan Asset Management committed €400 million in Oxford Properties’ French portfolio. Essentially, Oxford Properties sold a 49.9% non-managing interest in 32 Rue Blanche, 92 Avenue de France and Paris Bastille. Oxford Properties made its maiden investment in Paris in 2014 when it acquired 32 Rue Blanche.

Oxford Properties is the real estate unit of OMERS.

Temasek Explores Further Cash Commitments to FirstCry

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