Friends First is a best in class property fund manager due to our exceptional in-house expertise. The Irish Commercial Property Fund is managed with a clear risk-aware strategy and an open and transparent approach. Friends First is responsible for all aspects of the fund management and the direct property management, which enables fast and efficient decisions to be made on behalf of policyholders.
Key features of the fund strategy include:
- Invests in Irish property, mainly across retail, office and industrial.
- Core / core + focus with appetite for value-add opportunities.
- Primarily Dublin-focused (currently 85.6%) with strategic investments in larger urban areas of identified growth opportunities.
- Income-focused strategy, with redevelopment and refurbishment opportunities being progressed.
- Does not currently hold any investment in REITs.
- The fund can take on short term borrowing in order to secure property acquisitions. Currently there is no borrowing in the fund.
Proactive investment approach
The proactive investment approach in acquiring and managing Irish property and implementing active asset strategies meant 2017 was an active time for the fund.
- Letting Activity
C. 200 tenants* are proactively managed within the fund. The vacancy rate is 5.68% and some interesting lease proposals are currently under review. City centre locations are in high demand as space becomes scarce; for example the Clarendon Collection properties which are in close proximity to the prohibitively expensive Grafton Street, Dublin 2.
- Redevelopment Activity
Redevelopment plans for a number of properties are being progressed. Major works are expected to commence by Q1 2018 in properties such as Enterprise House, Blackrock Shopping Centre and Royal Hibernian Way.
- Acquisition Activity
Examples of recent acquisitions include the Merrion Collection, a portfolio of four retail properties in Dublin 2, with value-add potential and a modern office building in Galway with a strong regional office location. In December we closed on the acquisition of Cairn House, in the South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18. This is a very exciting opportunity for the fund. It has short-term value add potential through letting the vacant space, and in the medium term we will explore adding additional space, as the property has planning permission for an extra floor.
Award Winning Property Management
The Friends First fund management team recently won the title of Property Manager of the Year 2017 at the Irish Pensions Awards. This is a great accolade for the Irish Commercial Property fund which has generated a strong performance and has increased assets under management in recent years to over €500m.**
For more information on the Irish Commercial Property fund download our quarterly report or visit the dedicated web page located in the Fund Centre on our website. To learn more about the full range of Friends First products, speak to your Financial Broker or visit friendsfirst.ie.
*Across all directly managed property funds
**Source: Friends First; 30th September 2017