MetLife to launch third-party asset management business
10 October 2012
MetLife, Inc. announced Tuesday (October 9) that it will launch a third-party asset management business that will build upon its expertise in select private asset sectors, including real estate equity, commercial mortgages and private placement debt. The business, branded MetLife Investment Management, will focus on creating investment opportunities that can generate long-term returns for institutional investors, including insurance companies, public and private pension plans and sovereign wealth funds.
"Today, MetLife is already one of the largest institutional investors in the world, with US$500 billion in general account assets that we have managed for the long-term to generate strong returns for both our policyholders and shareholders," said Steven J. Goulart, executive vice president and chief investment officer of MetLife, Inc. "Our extensive business platforms for originating commercial mortgages, investing in real estate equity and sourcing private placements are well established. We have the talent, scale, reputation and in-market presence to acquire high quality assets with the potential to create strong returns. We will leverage these strengths to meet the needs of third-party institutional investors who have demonstrated an increased demand for these private asset sectors where MetLife has proven capabilities."
"This initiative leverages MetLife's brand and reputation as a trustworthy investor. It is also driven by MetLife's enterprise strategy, which targets opportunities to leverage our existing organizational expertise and global scale to create long-term value for our shareholders," said Mr. Goulart. "Moreover, asset management is a capital-efficient business, with attractive returns on equity. The strong demand for high quality private assets among institutional investors makes this an attractive time for market entry."
MetLife's launch into the third-party asset management business comes after an extensive study of market opportunities and research with investors, consultants, placement agents, and other industry participants.
To implement the third-party asset management initiative, MetLife is making organizational changes within its real estate group. The new organization, renamed MetLife Real Estate Investors, will be led by MetLife's global head of real estate investments, Robert Merck, and will manage investments for both institutional investors and MetLife.
In order to capitalize on its direct real estate investment capability, MetLife Real Estate Investors has created a real estate equity strategies group, and a real estate debt strategies group.
Mark Wilsmann, who has led MetLife's commercial mortgage operation since 2003, will head the equity strategies group. "Our goal is to lever our industry-leading real estate platform to become a top five institutional real estate investment manager," said Mr. Merck. "Mark's success in building our commercial mortgage business, his nearly 30 years of diverse real estate investment experience and his broad industry relationships make him well suited for this new assignment."
Brian Casey, who previously headed up MetLife's Washington, D.C., regional real estate office, will lead MetLife Real Estate Investors' debt strategies group. "Brian brings a unique perspective to our business, as evidenced by the leadership he has shown in running our real estate operations in Washington, D.C. His efforts have been a key element in positioning our platform for future growth," said Mr. Merck.
More News >
Discuss: MetLife to launch third-party asset management business