Norway’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, has assembled a cast of real estate advisors to help it begin investing up to 5 percent of its assets in global property.
PERE has learned that among those on the real estate advisory board of Norges Bank Investment Management – which manages the capital of the gigantic oil and pension fund – is Mark Burton, former property chief investment officer of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council.
The real estate advisory board has already held meetings as it prepares to invest in real estate both directly and indirectly on a global basis.
Burton, whose career in property spans 40 years, declined to talk about other members of the advisory board, but told PERE: “The market has moved in its (the Norway fund’s) favour. Today it can start investing in one of the worst real estate markets of all time. I believe that eventually it will become one of the biggest real estate players on a global basis.”
Earlier this year, Karsten Kallevig, head of Japan at private equity real estate firm, Grove International Partners, was appointed head of real estate investing at the fund. He takes up the position next month.
Following approval from the Norway government in March, the fund may begin making investments via property funds, joint ventures or separate accounts so long as the assets are in established OECD countries or with countries with which Norway has a relevant tax treaty.
Burton retired from the Abu Dhabi Investment Council in May this year following three years in the role.
Apart from Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, he has taken up a number of other non-executive roles, including at London-based property investor London & Stamford, which announced today it would seek to list on London’s main stock exchange and become a REIT following a period on the junior Alternative Investment Market.
In addition, he has taken up non-executive positions at China private equity real estate firm CITIC Capital, Canadian retail company Hudson’s Bay Company, US REIT Retail Opportunity Investment Corporation, factory outlet business Value Retail, and London-based investment management firm Internos Real Investors.
Burton also continues to represent the Abu Dhabi Investment Council on its investment in the Chrysler Building in New York, in which the sovereign wealth fund purchased a 90 percent stake in 2008 from Prudential Real Estate investors.