Ready, set … Restrictions on Asian insurance companies have eased, and big insurers are beginning to invest in real estate abroad
In January, Hong Kong–based Gaw Capital Partners, a real estate private equity firm, announced it assisted Chinese insurer Ping An Insurance Group Co. in acquiring the 385,000-square-foot Tower Place office building in London for a reported £315 million ($482 million). It was the second London office deal in which Gaw Capital teamed with Ping An Insurance; in 2013, Ping An bought the Lloyd’s of London building for £260 million ($387 million).
“This is just the beginning for Asian insurers,” says Goodwin Gaw, chairman and managing principal for Gaw Capital. “The pace of acquisitions will pick up.”
The Asian insurance market has been shaken by regulatory changes, and the outward flow of capital has begun to wash ashore in specific gateway cities of the West, most notably London and New York City.
In February, an affiliate of China’s Sunshine Insurance Group went shopping for some U.S. real estate and ended up buying the Baccarat Hotel New York in M