Fubon Life is “actively looking” for properties in Europe for its first overseas real estate investment.
The insurer, a unit of Taiwan’s second largest financial holding company, has already established “a close working relationship” with some local advisers in Europe, according to Howard Lin, spokesperson and CIO of Fubon Financial Holdings.
The company, which has $74bn (€54bn) in assets under management as of March, is looking at London and Paris, as well as major German cities, Lin said.
Fubon Life plans to invest as much as $3bn in overseas real estate in the next 3-4 years – which would practically double the size of its current real estate portfolio.
“This is a rough estimation of our investment capacity,” Lin said. “Whether this can be realised will depend heavily on if we can find good opportunities that meet our selection criteria.”
Fubon Life is looking for investments to provide them with “stable returns” and also a “potential for capital appreciation”, Lin added.
“The European market is highly competitive at the moment,” he added. “We are moving quickly to cope with market dynamics.”
Once it has found investment targets, it will seek approval from regulators, he said.
To curb high domestic property prices, the Taiwanese government relaxed foreign investment rules in April last year, allowing domestic insurance companies to invest abroad for the first time.
Fubon Life – which currently holds $3bn in domestic real estate – is also looking at offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing.
The company is interested in commercial properties with stable income in the Taipei metro area.
Lin said one of its strategies was to “selectively participate in bidding for leasehold or BOT [build-operate-transfer] projects initiated by the government”.
Taiwan’s largest insurance company, Cathay Life, recently received approval to invest £400m (€489m) in London real estate.
Last year, Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission recommended cities for domestic life insurance firms to consider, including New York, London, Toronto, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City.