BNP Paribas’ asset management arm to enter RE lending

Philippe Deloffre has joined from the French from ACOFI Loan Management to lead the operation, which is expected to start fundraising later this year.

BNP Paribas Investment Partners, the asset management arm of the French banking group BNP Paribas, is planning to raise capital for a European real estate lending strategy, PDI sister publication Real Estate Capital has reported.

The Paris-based firm has hired Philippe Deloffre from institutional debt fund manager ACOFI Loan Management Services, to spearhead the property debt business.

Deloffre has joined BNP Paribas IP as head of real estate debt. The appointment is understood to be one of three in the private debt part of the business, including for infrastructure and corporate debt strategies.

BNP Paribas IP is expected to launch a first real estate debt fund this year, aiming to raise third-party capital. The firm is not believed to have settled on a target fundraise or a specific lending strategy at this stage.

As a group, BNP Paribas has significant exposure to the European real estate market. The banking division is one of France’s largest property lenders through its corporate and investment banking functions. The group also comprises BNP Paribas Real Estate, a consultancy business which features a property investment division, BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management. The asset management business is a separate entity and its property lending drive will represent the group’s first third-party capital lending in the real estate space.

Deloffre joined ACOFI in 2013 as director of real estate loans. By October 2016, ACOFI had raised around €420 million in commitments for PREDIREC Immo IV, its fourth CRE debt fund.

Despite Europe’s real estate markets being in the advanced stage of the property cycle, investor demand for private real estate debt remains high. REC data shows that there are currently 27 debt funds with known targets of more than €100 million fundraising, targeting an aggregate total of almost €15 billion.