AEW Europe merger to expand retail investor unit

A La Banque Postale-owned French retail fund platform will join AEW Europe as the Paris-based investment manager bolsters its retail investor funds business.

The corporate owners of Paris-based investment fund managers AEW Europe and Ciloger are negotiating a merger of the two platforms. Ciloger will join AEW Europe’s existing retail investor product business, PDI sister title PERE reported.

French bank Natixis owns a 60 percent stake in AEW Europe, while the remaining 40 percent is currently owned by the UK government’s development finance institute, the CDC Group. French post office La Banque Postale owns a 90 percent stake in Ciloger, while CNP Assurances holds the remaining interest.

However, Natixis Global Asset Management, the asset management arm of Natixis, will acquire CDC’s 40 percent stake in AEW Europe prior to the completion of the transaction. After completion of the proposed deal, Natixis is expected to transfer a 40 percent stake in AEW Europe to La Banque Postale.

“The strategic rationale to this was that together we are benefitting from the retail distribution network of the French post office, but also our banking network. Above Natixis sits BPCE, one of the largest retail banking groups in France,” explained Rob Wilkinson, chief executive of AEW Europe.

By merging the two investment management businesses, the new entity would become one of the largest real estate investment managers in Europe, with combined assets under management over of €23 billion.

“The French retail market has been restructured and we are anticipating that the flows we are able to generate from both networks will be higher than the individual amounts we were collecting previously,” said Wilkinson, who will run the combined business.

“The French retail fund market has quite recently begun to invest more actively outside France, which is a new trend,” he added. “So investments elsewhere in Europe by these types of funds is a further reason for the attractiveness of Ciloger joining AEW Europe. They will get access to our sourcing and management capabilities across Europe.”

AEW Europe’s assets under management totaled €18.1 billion as of December 31. AEW Europe offers a wide spectrum of real estate investment strategies from core to opportunistic and manages a range of sector-specific funds, separate accounts and club deal strategies.

Ciloger is the portfolio management company of the real estate investment trusts and other French real estate investment schemes marketed by La Banque Postale group and savings bank Caisses d’Epargne. As of last March, the value of the real estate assets managed by Ciloger was €4.5 billion.