Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global is making its first foray into real estate debt, as its investment manager signed a co-investment programme in the asset class with Axa Real Estate.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages assets for the NOK4.76trn (€586bn) sovereign wealth fund, formed a joint venture with Axa Real Estate that will target large senior loan investments of up to €600m.The main geographical focus will be the UK, France and Germany, and most of the investment will be in primary issuances of commercial real estate loans.Axa Real Estate is acting on behalf of various Axa insurance companies, it said. NBIM said the joint venture would allow it to achieve two main aims – invest in commercial real estate debt, and invest alongside an experienced team with balance-sheet capacity and a long-term investment horizon.This is the first time the GPFG has invested in real estate debt, the investment manager said.Karsten Kallevig, real estate CIO at NBIM, told IPE: “For us, this programme is a natural extension of the unlisted real estate investment we’ve done so far.”The fund was given the go-ahead by the Norwegian government to invest in real estate back in 2010 and was set up practically to make property investments in May 2011.Since then, it has built up its real estate exposure to a point where it now accounts for around 1% of the GPFG fund’s total assets.It has some way to go before it reaches the 5% asset allocation target.Kallevig said the pension fund had been able to invest in real estate debt as well as real estate equity since 2011, but had so far only made investments on the equity side.“The real estate debt market looks expensive at the moment relative to the cost of equity, so we started thinking that, at these levels, we’d rather be a lender than a borrower,” he said.“For us, it’s a very similar strategy we’ve followed on the real estate market so far but a different part of the capital structure,” he said.He said the starting point when considering this investment programme was that the debt would be held to maturity.“For both Axa and ourselves – because we are investing from our balance sheets – if things go sideways, we can step in and own the assets,” he said.Because a bank licence is necessary in most European markets for the origination of debt, NBIM will in some cases need a local bank to carry out the technical origination of property loans to abide by local rules, he said.He stressed that NBIM was an investor and not a bank, and that this made it most natural for it to have a bank originate the loans.Looking ahead, Kallevig said further investments in real estate debt were possible, depending on how the investment programme developed.“If you think about an overall allocation to real estate, the ability to invest in different parts of the capital structure is an attractive capability to have,” he said.
NBIM will hold a 47.5% stake in the venture, and MetLife will have the remaining 52.5%.The Norwegian asset manager said the joint venture is the sovereign wealth fund’s third US-focused real estate investment platform.MetLife will be the platform’s asset manager, it said.The Boston property is a 46-storey office block with 1.3m rentable square feet of space, located next to the city’s South Station, NBIM said.NBIM has acquired its 47.5% share of the property from One Financial Center Equity – an affiliate of Beacon Capital Strategic Partners.The deal will see MetLife increasing the share of the asset it already holds by 2.5%, it said. The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is linking up with insurer MetLife to co-invest in top-grade office properties in the US.As its first investment, the partnership is buying One Financial Center in Boston, Massachusetts, in a $700m (€508.3m) deal that closed at the beginning of this month.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the sovereign wealth fund’s asset manager, said its share of the purchase was $238m.The new joint venture between affiliates of NBIM and MetLife will buy class-A office properties in key US markets over an extended period, NBIM said.
Estonia’s industry body for fund managers, whose members include all of the country’s pension fund managers, has joined PensionsEurope, bringing the European association’s membership tally to 24.The decision to admit MTÜ Eesti Fondihaldurite Liit – the Estonian Fund Managers Association (EFMA) – was taken at PensionsEurope’s general assembly meeting in Brussels on 4 November.EFMA will join on 1 January 2015.Joanne Segars, chair of PensionsEurope, said: “I am delighted MTÜ Eesti Fondihaldurite Liit has joined PensionsEurope. “Pension funds in Estonia face the same pressures as pension funds in many other European countries.”Segars said she was pleased PensionsEurope – which represents national associations of pension funds and similar bodies for workplace and work-based pensions – was growing.“Inclusion of pension funds from Central and Eastern EU member states is very important in our strategy,” she said.Silja Saar, chairman of MTÜ Eesti Fondihaldurite Liit, said pension funds in Estonia were in excellent condition, and that it was important for the association to participate in legislative initiatives at the European level.“We feel PensionsEurope is in a great position to help us in such endeavours and also provides a great platform to share experiences with our peers in other jurisdictions,” said Saar.
These include the contributions frozen in the second half of 2013.The monies will start flowing once the NSPFs convert to joint-stock status, receive accreditation from Bank of Russia – the central bank and pensions regulator – and sign up to a guarantee system.In late November, the Bank of Russia announced it had approved the joint-stock status of 44 of the largest funds, accounting for some 90% of all assets.Separately, the Bank of Russia announced it wants to tighten investment regulations for the funds.The new regulations would limit the investment in a single Russian state security to 35% and that of a single municipal issue to 40%.The total share of Russian stocks and foreign investment funds would be capped at 65%, Russian mortgage bonds at 40%, and the total of bonds issued by foreign financial organisations and foreign investment funds at 20%.The maximum limit on rouble and foreign currency accounts and deposits would be 80%.Transactions must take place on an organised market, at best-price execution. The bill extending the 2014 moratorium on second-pillar pension contributions to non-state pension funds (NSPFs) was signed into law by president Vladimir Putin on 1 December.The bill had earlier been passed by the State Duma (lower house) on 21 November and by the Federal Council of Russia (upper house) on 26 November.The law stipulates that the contributions will be directed to the first-pillar Pension Fund of the Russian Federation to fund existing state pension obligations, thus reducing federal budget transfers.A separate budget law for 2015-17 sees RUB525.9bn (€7.9bn) transferred to the private system after 1 January 2015 from accounts managed by Vnesheconombank (VEB), the state institution that manages the second-pillar accounts for those individuals that chose not to, or never decided to, have their funds in the NSPFs.
The UZ Gent pension fund, for staff of University Hospital Ghent in Belgium, is tendering a €16m emerging market (EM) bond mandate and an €82m tactical asset allocation (TAA) mandate, via the EU’s TED electronic tendering service.The pension fund said in the notice that the EM bond mandate was estimated to be worth around €16m, with a strategic weighting of 3% of the total portfolio.The scope of this mandate would increase significantly in the future because of expected monthly net inflows into the pension fund, it said.The fund said it was looking for active managers to invest in EM debt, using a combination of government bonds and quasi-sovereign and corporate bonds, in hard and local currency. Investment managers responding should indicate which bonds would be included in the mandate, it said.Investments are to be managed actively against a benchmark, aiming to outperform that benchmark after fees, while taking the necessary risk control relative to the benchmark into account.The second mandate being tendered by the EZ Gent pension fund is for TAA, worth around €82m, or 15% of the portfolio in terms of strategic weighting.This mandate would increase gradually over time based on new inflows into the pension fund and/or reallocations, until it reached the 15% strategic weighting, the fund said.The TAA could be invested in a wide range of liquid investment asset classes, with the point of comparison being a benchmark of 50% equities and 50% bonds. The purpose of the strategy is to improve risk-adjusted returns compared with fixed or strategic asset allocation. However, the pension fund said the mandate did not permit speculative transactions – leverage, for example – and that derivatives could only be used for efficient portfolio management or to hedge certain exposures.The UZ Gent pension fund warned that, for both mandates, its board reserved the right to decide whether to allocate, and said it would not be liable for damages if it decided not to go ahead.The deadline for receipt of tenders for both mandates is 8 September.
The Netherlands’ biggest pension fund is also the country’s best performer in terms of sustainable investing, according to the Dutch association of investors in sustainable development (VBDO).ABP, the €419bn civil service pension scheme, outperformed the €202.6bn healthcare scheme PFZW for the first time in 12 years since VBDO first started monitoring sustainable investment. In its annual report – presented last week at a conference hosted by IPE’s sister publication Pensioen Pro – the VBDO said the schemes had made progress mainly through investing in green bonds and sustainable targets linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).ABP had excelled through its new inclusion policy focusing in investing in the most sustainable companies in each sector, the association said. Ireland’s first green bonds will back sustainable water investmentsSeparately, ABP is to invest €110m in Ireland’s first green bonds. The assets were designed to contribute to Ireland’s goal of a climate-resistant and sustainable economy with strongly reduced carbon emissions in 2050.The investments related to the sustainable management of water and waste water, clean transport, renewable energy and well energy-efficient housing, ABP said in a statement.The scheme added that the allocation was an important way of achieving its ESG target, adding that green bonds offered an “interesting asset class aimed at investments in green projects and with a relatively low risk”.Since 2016, its holdings of green bonds have risen from 59 to 102, while their combined value has increased from €1.4bn to €3.5bn.NN Group excludes investments in tar sandsMeanwhile, Dutch financial services company NN Group has placed investment restrictions on companies involved in oil sands because their carbon emissions were higher than those from conventional oil mining. BpfBouw, the scheme for the construction industry had scored better at all VBDO’s criteria of governance, policy, implementation and accountability. However, the VBDO noted that many of the 50 pension funds it covered hadn’t set any goals for environmental, social or corporate governance (ESG) related investments.“These schemes are investing sustainably without having an idea what they want to achieve,” said Lucienne de Bakker, researcher for the VBDO.The association found that just eight of the surveyed pension funds had measurable goals, such as carbon emissions reduction targets or asset allocation plans for sustainable investments.It also said that most targets did not go beyond 2020, which it argued was too short a time horizon.According to the VBDO, the most common ESG goal was a reduction in CO2 emissions, but it suggested that other targets should also be considered, such as adjustments to climate change, sustainable energy, reduction of plastic production, or improving living wages.However, it also acknowledged that this could be difficult because of a lack of generally accepted measuring methods.The VBDO’s report is available here.ABP invests in Irish bonds Credit: Robson MachadoAn oil pipeline in AlaskaNN Group, which owns the €246bn asset manager NN Investment Partners, added that restrictions would also apply to oil pipelines, “as this generated significant human rights concerns and was a serious cause of local pollution of the environment”.Dailah Nihot, member of NN Group’s board, said the exclusion sent an important signal in support of the quest for alternatives.The restrictions applied to companies with a share of tar sands of more than 30% of their total oil and gas production, NN said. Companies with less than a 30% share would be monitored and evaluated within two years.NN said pipeline operators would be restricted if involved in disputed tar sands transportation projects, or if engagement was not expected to achieve the desired results.It said it would divest its equity and fixed income holdings held within mutual funds managed by NN IP, and encourage clients with discretionary managed assets to follow its decision.Several European pension funds came under pressure last year regarding investments in companies involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline in the US.
“It is all about creating a robust portfolio, and one that is orientated toward the future”Kasper Ahrndt Lorenzen, CIO, ATPFollowing several years of work on the foreign equities portfolio – including the integration of the hedge fund ATP Alpha in 2013 – ATP’s entire portfolio is run using “smart beta” strategies, using three alternative risk premia “signals” in an algorithm to decide on asset class exposure. The three signals are ‘low risk’, ‘momentum’ and ‘value’.The addition of an environmental factor is the fourth signal to be added to the algorithm.The adjustment involved switching around 5% of the fund’s equities – more than DKK2bn of re-investment – changing its holdings in 20 out of the 400 companies within the portfolio.So far, the new factor has focused only on sectors in which carbon emissions are a key problem – namely oil and gas, utilities, materials and transportation.As a result of the change, the carbon footprint of ATP’s portfolio has shrunk by 26%, Ahrndt Lorenzen said, but he emphasised that this was a beneficial side effect of what his team was trying to achieve.The new signal would put an emphasis on companies exposed to the energy transition and therefore less in denial about the future, Ahrndt Lorenzen said.“It is all about creating a robust portfolio, and one that is orientated toward the future,” he said.ATP’s backtesting of the environmental factor included more than 7bn data points, the company said. The research showed that, historically, adding this fourth signal – and therefore reducing the relative impact of the other three signals – did not affect overall returns negatively or positively. Kasper Ahrndt Lorenzen, ATP’s chief investment officer, told IPE: “What we have done has improved our carbon footprint significantly, but the main thing for us is that through this, I really believe we’ll have a better selection method.“We’ll price ourselves out of companies that don’t think the green transition is going to happen.” Denmark’s biggest pension fund has added an environmental factor to its foreign equities portfolio to ‘future proof’ up to DKK50bn (€6.7bn) of its investments.ATP believes the major change will bolster returns over the long term by focusing on companies better set up to deal with future challenges.Over the past year, the DKK785bn pension fund has been backtesting the addition of environmental data as a fourth “signal” to the algorithm used to pick stocks for its systematically-invested portfolio of foreign equities in its return-seeking investment fund.In January, the innovation was implemented for ATP’s quantitatively managed foreign equities portfolio, which holds between DKK40bn and DKK50bn.
Enjoy a dip in your very private inground pool.The couple have added an inground pool, extended the workshop area to fit a vehicle and paved a large storage area.They have installed solar panels, insulated the roof, painted the outside of the house and made an area to fit their caravan. FIND MORE HOUSES FOR SALE IN FERNY HILLS A tiled rumpus room for those rainy days.The middle level has another garage, a bedroom and the communal living space with large L-shaped living and family areas paralleled by a covered deck. There is a dining room inside but in Queensland, we like to eat outdoors.“And despite all the windows out the back it’s a very private house.”For Mr O’Hara, the north-facing back deck is his happy place with a beer in the afternoons.The ground level has the rumpus room, laundry and garage with workshop area. Plenty of room for a caravan, cars and a frisbee.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019“We’ve had some good houses in this area but we’ve enjoyed this house the most,’’ Mrs O’Hara said. “The design reminds us of our very first house in 1978 with the cathedral ceilings.”The foyer is two storeys high and the couple replaced blinds with glass to fill the area with light.“The deck off the living area is quite extensive, we’ve had a lot of family gatherings there,’’ Mrs O’Hara said. We love the space in this kitchen. It’s great for getting everyone involved in culinary creations.The upper level has the remaining bedrooms and a private balcony. Relax by the pool or on the many decks at 18 Woodburn Place, Ferny Hills.YOU can reach out to almost touch the canopy of trees from the third level of this Ferny Hills house which is on the market today after nine years. Be here for breakfast, or after work drinks. Actually, who needs an excuse to use this space.When David and Beverley O’Hara first saw photos of the house online they knew it would be their new home.But with three children now grown and a unit in Caloundra to enjoy, 18 Woodburn Place, Ferny Hills is wowing people online once more.“We liked it because it was different from the normal houses,” Mr O’Hara said.“It had an unusual shape to it and it backs on to a reserve.” The master bedroom with a private balcony overlooking the bushland canopy.
34/45 Gregory St, North Ward34/45 Gregory St has some of the best views in town and is only a short walk away form everything Townsville has to offer.The three bedroom, two bathroom apartment in the Fulton Gardens complex is on the market for low $700,000s negotiable. 34/45 Gregory St, North WardThe 181 sqm home has a large balcony with views that extend as far out to Palm Island while also being close to The Strand, Queens Gardens, the city and the shops and cafes of North Ward.Linda Lovett has lived in the apartment for the past nine years and said the views from her balcony are hard to beat and she spent New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks from her balcony.“I really love the outlook because you can see Magnetic Island and the ocean view. You really have to come to the unit to appreciate how nice the view is,” she said.“It’s also so close to The Strand and the CBD plus you also have the botanical gardens just up the road and at night you can see all the twinkling lights.”More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020 34/45 Gregory St, North WardMs Lovett said the apartment had a clever layout which made it feel more like a house.“The floor plan sets it apart from most units because you don’t just have the long hallway with rooms either side and being an end unit is great as well,” she said.“The finishes are very modern and everything still looks brand new.”All the bedrooms are large and the main has an ensuite bathroom. The open plan living area leads out to the balcony.There is also secure parking for two vehicles and a locked storeroom.Fulton Gardens has a swimming pool with swim jets, a gym and front gardens that are under construction and will include gazebos with built-in barbecues. 34/45 Gregory St, North WardRE/MAX Excellence agent Loretta Fabbro is marketing the property and said the unit would appeal to a variety of buyers.“It would be great for women on their own because you feel very safe living there as it’s a very secure complex,” she said.“Quite a few professional couples also live there but it would also suit downsizers because you still have room for grandchildren or family to come and visit.”
The alfresco dining area is great for entertaining guests.The family had hosted many parties at the house, thanks to its versatile layout.Mrs Russell said the zoning of the house had worked well, with a children’s wing, parents’ retreat and living areas where they could come together as a family. There is a media room.The house, with its original 1920s stucco exterior, stands proud on top of 1214sq m of flat land.There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms, multiple living areas — including a media room — and study, along with a wine cellar and double lockup garage. The kitchen opens up to the outdoors. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus13 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market13 hours agoThe rooms have plantation shutters and polished floorboards.Polished timber floorboards run through much of the home, and original decorative cornices, ceiling roses and decorative ceilings feature in the old parts of the residence.Mrs Russell said the layout had not just been perfect for a family, but also for entertaining.“You can open the bi-fold doors and it feels like the kitchen is in the outside area,” she said.“You can be preparing meals while your friends are outside and you don’t feel separate.” The house has a modern extension at the rear.FROM an art deco facade to a modern extension at the rear, this enchanting Camp Hill house is perfect for a family. The house has great street appeal.Phoebe and Tim Russell bought the house at 30 Henderson St in 2012 due to its family friendly flow.“We have four children and what really appealed to me was the open-plan kitchen that flowed out to the yard, the pool and the basketball court,” Mrs Russell said. Upstairs is the parents retreat.“The parents’ retreat is lovely because you can go upstairs and have a bit of privacy,” she said.“The kids have their zone, the parents have their zone and there is a communal family zone.”She also said the house was designed superbly for the Queensland climate.“In the morning we get the sun and in the afternoon we get the northeastern sea breezes,” she said. “It’s a very cool house.”The property is listed with Joanna Gianniotis of Place Bulimba. The dining room has detailed ceilings.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:51Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:51 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p432p432p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenStarting your hunt for a dream home00:51