EUROPE - Property Match, the secondary trading portal for unlisted real estate funds operated by CB Richard Ellis and GFI Group, has facilitated trades outside the UK for the first time.
The platform helps buyers and sellers of secondary interests in property funds arrive at effective and transparent pricing, but until two months ago it had only been active in the UK market.
Property Match recently facilitated its first two trades in continental Europe for the UBS Euro Core fund and the Aberdeen Pan-Nordic fund. Both trades were in the region of €3m.
There is already an established secondary market in the private equity funds sector, whereby investors can buy and sell out of closed-end investment vehicles, but an equivalent has yet to be developed among closed-end property funds.
Property Match seeks to offer a solution to what is still broadly an opaque and illiquid secondary market in the real estate funds sector. Since inception in 2009, it has facilitated more than £400m (€472m) worth of trades in the UK.
Following Property Match's first trades in Europe, CBRE and GFI have argued that the need for transparency is even greater in Europe, where, to date, there has been a limited market for secondary units.
Paul Robinson, executive director of real estate finance at CBRE, said: "In one sense, the need for Property Match in Europe is more urgent than the UK, where there has always been, to an extent, a secondary market where units in unlisted property vehicles could transact.
"In Europe, it is becoming very clear through our research and initial trades that there is virtually no connectivity between different unit holders, and this has made the possibility of secondary trading virtually non-existent."
He added: "Through Property Match, there is the opportunity to bring European market participants together and, through the transparent and reliable trading platform we offer, the ability to open up the European market, improving investor confidence and willingness to trade."
Michael Levi, head of indirect property at GFI, said: "Property Match intermediated its first European trade in December 2010 and subsequently assisted the trade of a second European fund in the first month of 2011, and these early successes are an indication of the unique ability of the platform to open up a market.
"Our aim is to roll out the success of Property Match in the UK market to Europe, increasing the liquidity and transparency of this sector of the real estate market."