The “urge to merge” is alive and well, with one in five fund managers involved in M&A activity over the last 10 years, according to the INREV/ANREV/NCREIF Fund Manager Survey 2016.

A trend towards consolidation has seen the biggest fund managers become even bigger.

The Top 10 fund managers were responsible for around 40% of the total assets under management.

Henri Vuong, INREV’s director of research and market information, said: “Industry consolidation continues apace, and there is nothing to suggest there will be a slowdown in M&A activity in the near future

“Whatever the ‘optimum’ size for a fund manager might be, we clearly haven’t reached that point yet.”

The most prominent example of this is TIAA’s acquisition of TH Real Estate, which took the company into third place in the 2015 ranking.

CBRE Global Investors dropped one place to fourth, while Brookfield Asset Management and the Blackstone Group kept their first and second-place positions, respectively.

Pension funds were the dominant institutional investor type, with the insurance sector being the second-biggest player.

The survey data suggests sovereign wealth funds are becoming more active in non-listed real estate.

Sovereign wealth funds were the second largest investors in joint ventures and club deals by proportion of AUM (20.7%).

Fund managers across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific were collectively responsible for €2trn of real estate last year – more than 10% higher than the €1.8trn recorded in 2014.

The average AUM for the four largest managers stood at more than €100bn.

UBS Asset Management, AXA Investment Managers-Real Assets, JP Morgan Asset Management, Invesco Real Estate, Pramerica Real Estate Investors and LaSalle Investment Managers complete the survey’s Top 10.

“These results show the non-listed real estate market remains buoyant,” Vuong said.

“Very few of the participating fund managers saw a significant drop compared with 2014, while at the top end both Brookfield and Blackstone are between 50% and 100% larger than they were three years ago.”

Non-listed funds and private REITs account for around half the total AUM, while institutional investors make up more than 80% of that allocation.