Presima wins significant Australian mandate

Presima, a Montreal-based global real estate boutique fund manager, has landed a significant mandate down-under with leading Australian wealth manager MLC.
Presima, immediately takes over management of a part of the MLC's global property securities strategy. The strategy applies to several MLC funds, including the flagship MLC Horizon Series of portfolios, which have more than $27.2bn in funds under management.
While Presima officials can't reveal the size of their share of the overall mandate, the company concedes it is in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Andrew Kavouras, Head of Clients and Business Development for Presima in Montreal, said Presima is excited about working with such a prestigious firm.
“MLC is the pioneer manager of management strategies from a wealth management perspective both with individuals and with corporate clients in Australia, where they have been around for a long time,” Kavouras said in an interview with Property Biz Canada. “They run multi-strategy funds with different managers that they hire and recruit from all over the world in various asset classes in terms of fixed income and in more niche areas like property and real estate or infrastructure.”
Kavouras said MLC has done its homework in recruiting Presima.
MLC scouted Presima for years
“They have been looking at us for a couple of years. They have been monitoring us quite closely and after extensive due diligence and when they found a time that was appropriate when they needed to make a change within their multi-property investment strategy … they executed and they made the decision to have us replace another manager on their platform.”
“They awarded us a significant mandate this month, which is now in effect and we are quite excited by it,” said Kavouras, who oversees the development of marketing, distribution and client-related activities.
Kavouras joined the asset management industry in 1985, having worked in management positions in business development, client/portfolio management and product development around the globe.
He said that Presima uses either a concentrated strategy or an enhanced deal strategy, which are very different approaches to managing assets.
The concentrated strategy aims at delivering global growth in real estate.
“It is making sure we invest in the best real estate companies across the globe with a high conviction philosophy where we have 30 to 40 names in the portfolio, but always capital is deployed to the best idea, said Kavouras, adding the strategy includes REITs and REOCs.
“MLC chose the first strategy, so we have implemented the same strategy that we use for other clients to the benefit of MLC's portfolio.”
That strategy is exactly what attracted the Australian wealth manager to the Montreal company.
Presima a good fit with MLC's strategy
Jonathan Armitage, MLC's Chief Investment Officer said “Presima's track record of delivering above benchmark returns over the last five years, when most global property managers have lagged, supports our research that Presima is a sector-leading business. Their investment approach is also highly complementary to other managers in our global property securities strategy.”
Presima CEO Peter Zabierek added in a statement: “MLC are known for having an extremely rigorous approach when appointing managers. MLC is also one of the largest Australian investors in global REITs, having been one of the first Australian institutions to invest offshore in the sector in 2005.
Being awarded this mandate is testament to the qualities of our team and the robustness of our investment process. This is one of a number of opportunities we currently have in the pipeline and is further evidence of our credentials as a proven global REIT manager.”
­Zabierek took over the CEO's position last month after a global search to replace former chief executive Nick Basile.
Zabierek has worked exclusively in the global REIT area for the last 15 years.
He most recently finished 10 years tenure with Global Real Estate Securities at Urdang Capital Management as managing director and co-head, growing the business from $250 million to $7 billion.
If it has growth potential, we're looking at it
Presima said the company is willing to look at markets anywhere in the world, but it does not have regional quotas or favourites based on geography. “If it has growth potential, then that is what we're looking at,”  Kavouras said.  
Presima is a wholly owned subsidiary of nabInvest, National Australia Bank's direct asset management business. National Australia Bank's asset management business totals approximately $101bn (AU$96bn).
Presima has been managing real estate securities portfolios for over 10 years, and until June 2010 it was part of SITQ, a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). CDPQ also owns Ivanhoe Cambridge, it's real estate arm and a growing player in World markets.
“We have put in a lot of work to start growing,” he said. “Prior to 2010 we were part of the Caisse de  dépôt, where we were pretty much a captive manager for the Caisse and it's immediate friends, so we were not theoretically a commercially driven firm to grow in a normal business sense,” he said.
“Post 2010, we were acquired by NAB, National Australia Bank Group and now we have a sense of commercial purpose and we have been trying to growth the firm and we have been quite active in putting things together to make us competitive and attractive to investors across the globe.”
Clients now come from close to home in Quebec as well as elsewhere in Canada and the U.S. With Tuesday's announcement, Australia has been added to the list and there are clients looking at Presima from Japan. South Korea and Europe.
“We are a global boutique and we are open for business no matter where investors come from,” said Kavouras.

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