A three-person panel advising trustees of the A$7bn (€4.3bn) AMP Wholesale Office Fund (AWOF) has quit on the day that two bidders – Mirvac and GPT Group – were shortlisted from a field of six contenders bidding for the fund.
Barry Brakey, formerly head of property with Australia’s Future Fund, Paul Say, a well-known Australian property figure, and Sharon Warburton, a company director, all stepped down yesterday.
AWOF’s trustee board set up the panel early this year to work with the investment bank Jarden Australia, commissioned to review options available to AWOF.
Investors have been agitating for a change in the management of the funds in the AMP stable in the wake of a number of controversies impacting the group. The subsequent uncertainty has resulted in a string of departures from management teams within AMP Capital.
“The members of the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) had a different view about how the process should be conducted as we move to its final stage,” an AMP trustee board spokesman said.
The spokesman did not offer details but added: “We’re not going to speak on behalf of the IAC members. We respect their decision and we thank them for their advice throughout this process.”
A source confirmed to IPE Real Assets that Ming Long, the independent chairman of AMP Capital Funds Management, along with another independent director, Bob McKinnon, had stepped up into the breach left by the departure of the IAC members.
The outcome of the AWOF review is one of the most highly anticipated events in the commercial property industry in Australia this year after investors in the A$5bn AMP Capital Diversified Property Fund voted to merge with a diversified fund, managed by Dexus.
AWOF has around 40 investors, including industry fund UniSuper, corporate fund Telstra Super, a Victorian state public sector fund, VFMC, and TCorp.
A source said a final recommendation on AWOF’s future was expected to be made by “the middle of October”.
One option was for AMP Capital to continue to manage AWOF. The other options were to appoint either Mirvac or GPT as the manager.
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