MetLife Launches Third-Party Management Platform

Article excerpt

New York-based MetLife, the largest life insurance company lender, will launch a third-party asset-management business for institutional investors, including insurance companies, pension plans and sovereign wealth funds.

The company already owns and manages a $10 billion global portfolio of direct-equity real estate investments in office, apartment, retail, industrial and hotel properties; now it seeks to manage assets for outside investors.

"Asset management is a capital-efficient business, with attractive returns on equity," said Steven Goulart, executive vice president and chief investment officer with MetLife. "The strong demand for high-quality private assets among institutional investors makes this an attractive time for market entry."

Goulart said MetLife has $500 billion in general account assets in addition to its asset-management experience. "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," he said.

MetLife has reorganized its real estate group to launch the third-party asset-management initiative. Robert Merck, MetLife's global head of real estate investments, will lead the new organization, renamed MetLife Real Estate Investors and composed of 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. …