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Published 10 October 2017
The Commercial Real Estate team at international law firm DAC Beachcroft LLP has - together with Royal London's other legal advisers - assisted Royal London on the launch of a new £2.7 billion UK property fund.
The Royal London UK Real Estate Fund is the largest-ever UK property fund at launch and invests in commercial property across all major sectors (industrial, offices, retail warehouses, shopping centres) and regions. It is designed to provide domestic and foreign institutional investors exposure to the UK commercial real estate market.
The fund invests in prime UK properties of which over two thirds are in London in high-profile locations including New Bond Street, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street and St Paul's. Royal London has said the immediate access to returns from a property portfolio of this quality, diversification and scale was a unique offering and something that investors would otherwise find difficult to access through one single fund.
A team of more than 30 real estate lawyers from DAC Beachcroft's Manchester, Bristol and London offices has been working on the project since March, preparing certificates of title on 23 assets worth approximately £700 million. The assets dealt with by DAC Beachcroft include some of the most valuable in the whole portfolio: the Victoria's Secret and Hugo Boss stores on New Bond Street, a significant holding of a whole block in Covent Garden and various buildings in Oxford Street, including part of the Marks & Spencer store at Marble Arch.
The DAC Beachcroft team was led by London Real Estate Partner, Helen Murcott, and Lindy Day and also included colleagues from the firm's Property Litigation, Construction and Planning groups.
This marks DAC Beachcroft's latest deal for The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Ltd, the UK's largest mutual life insurance company, having advised last month on its £150m acquisition of Hermes’ stake in Bluewater Shopping Centre.
Commenting on the deal, Helen said: "This project afforded us a great opportunity to work with Royal London on something different to our usual mandate, which is looking after its high street retail property portfolio. In the process, we have deepened our knowledge of many of its key assets, which will stand us in good stead for the future work which Royal London expects to flow from the launch of this new fund."
Andrew Boulton, head of DAC Beachcroft's Commercial Real Estate team in London, added: "I'm delighted with the work we have done for Royal London and the huge effort every member of our team has made. Special thanks must go to Helen and Lindy in particular for running this enormous project with such efficiency and attention to detail, ensuring we delivered a great product and service to our client."
Piers Hillier, chief investment officer at RLAM, said: "This fund launch is a vote of confidence in the UK and its real estate market. There are few places in the world with as many prime real estate assets as London and we believe its property market presents an attractive opportunity for domestic and foreign institutional investors. The long-term outlook for UK property remains attractive and the prime nature of this offering provides an excellent opportunity for investors to gain exposure to a high-quality and well-diversified property portfolio."