LaSalle assumes sole management of €1.8bn European core fund

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LaSalle Investment Management has taken over sole management of the €1.8bn pan-European real estate fund Encore+.

The open-ended core fund had been managed in conjunction with Aviva Investors since its inception in 2006, but in May it was announced that the joint venture would end. As part of the transaction, Aviva Investors also sold its global real estate multi-manager business to LaSalle.

LaSalle said the investment strategy of Encore+ would remain the same, “actively managing” core continental European assets that can be improved.

David Ironside, who has worked on the fund for 12 years as head acquisitions for continental Europe (and more recently as CIO for continental Europe), has assumed the role of fund manager. Marianne Hemon-Laurens, who has worked on the fund for 10 years, has been confirmed as deputy fund manager.

Ironside told IPE Real Assets that it was business as usual for the fund, which had continued to attract new subscriptions despite undergoing the transition.

Ironside said the capital commitments received had been “more than expected” given the handover. Interest had been particularly strong from international investors, he said, citing the current attractiveness of European real estate relative to other property markets in terms of pricing – and despite the political uncertainty in the region.

The universe of open-ended, pan-European core property funds has been growing in recent years as existing vehicles increase in size and new funds enter the market.

Encore+ is one of the few funds to focuse exclusively on continental European markets, which may have played a role in its recent fundraising. Market commentators say investors are pausing real estate investments in the UK until greater certainty about the ramifications of the country’s departure from the EU.

It is also one of a limited number of funds that was launched before the global financial crisis. Ironside said the fund’s 12-year track record meant LaSalle was able to demonstrate performance by focusing on rental income, which would become increasingly important in the coming months and years.

Aviva Investors, which is planning to expand its European real estate business this year, told IPE Real Assets it does not have any immediate plans to create a replacement for Encore+.

Mark Versey, CIO of real assets, said Aviva Investors would be more focused on launching European development strategies in the near term.

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