REC Debt Fund 20: who are Europe’s leading debt fund managers?

Discover the leading real estate debt fund managers active in Europe today in our inaugural real estate debt fundraising ranking.

To find out more about the organisations ranked 20-11, click here.

To find out more about the organisations ranked 10-1, click here.

For data on the top 20 organisations’ lending activities and the largest funds in market, click here.

Managers of institutional capital raised for lending to real estate owners have become a feature of the European commercial property market during the current cycle.

Before 2007, the continent’s real estate debt market was dominated by banks. As they retrenched following the global financial crisis, private real estate lending vehicles emerged – often run by former bankers – to provide loans banks were unable or unwilling to offer.

A decade on from the emergence of Europe’s non-bank property debt industry, several debt fund managers have built established businesses. Many have done so after undertaking multiple rounds of fundraising.

Here, for the first time, Real Estate Capital ranks the most successful non-bank real estate debt fund managers according to the volumes of capital corralled from investors between 2014 and 2018 inclusive.

This list covers businesses set up to lend, rather than those opportunistic private equity real estate firms that raise funds to buy defaulted debt as a credit or loan-to-own strategy.

It is also about Europe. The large global funds that have the remit to lend into the European market, but do not do so exclusively, are ruled out.

The ranking paints a picture of a niche but thriving industry. Collectively, the top 20 managers have raised $42.7 billion in the past five years with the intention of generating returns by providing financial liquidity in Europe’s debt markets.

It includes the investment management platforms of major insurance groups, as well as debt businesses within established property investment companies. It also features several companies that began as start-ups and have grown to become serious participants in the lending market. By location, London is the epicentre, although firms on the list also have headquarters in Paris, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Zurich. Some, which have US headquarters addresses, operate out of the UK capital.

Within the top 20 are managers carrying out a variety of lending strategies with varying risk/return profiles and geographical focuses. What they have in common is that they operate in an increasingly competitive market, where returns are gradually coming in. As the field becomes more competitive, it will be fascinating to see how many of the top 20 return in 2020’s ranking. In the meantime, enjoy our first Debt Fund 20.

Methodology

The 2019 Real Estate Capital Debt Fund 20 ranking is based on the amount of capital raised by  firms between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2018 for the sole purpose of real estate lending in Europe.

We have given the highest priority to the information we have received from or confirmed with the private real estate companies themselves. When companies confirm details, we seek to ‘trust but verify’. Where we have not had confirmation of details from the companies themselves, we have sought to corroborate information using firms’ websites, press releases and other documentation, such as limited partner disclosures.

For the purposes of this survey, private real estate debt is defined as equity capital raised for a dedicated programme of issuing debt for property deals in Europe only. The capital is raised primarily in blind-pool limited partnerships. These investment programmes are further distinguished in that they do not pursue ownership of the assets, but rather the financing of them. Capital raised means the fund has had a final or official interim close after 1 January 2014, with the full amount of a fund counted if it has a close after this date.

Limited partnerships, co-investment or sidecar vehicles, and seed capital or manager commitments all count. However, we have not counted open-ended funds, non-discretionary vehicles or private real estate funds for which purchasing debt is part of the strategy.

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