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AMP to break its investment mould

By Christine Nikiel

Thursday 24th April 2003

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Investors can expect to see more risk-taking in AMP Henderson Global Investors' attitude to property investment.

AMP is setting up a new property investment unit, to be headed by Property For Industry boss Peter Alexander.

AMP head of property Anthony Beverley said the first initiative would be to set up an "opportunity fund" which would look to attract equity for high-return investments.

The new venture will be a break from the company's traditionally conservative approach to investing and will see it become more opportunistic and target higher returns.

As it is, AMP's New Zealand investments ­ listed AMP NZ Office Trust (ANZO), which invests in premium office buildings, listed industrial specialist PFI and the AMP Property Portfolio ­ do not allow high risk-taking investment.

"We'll be getting into risks we can manage. There's market hungry for higher returns and we feel we can service it," Mr Beverley said.

Mr Beverley said the new venture was a result of the company's "core and satellite approach" to property investment, an approach used widely overseas.

Although AMP's core property investments ­ conventional real estate such as office, industrial and retail property, with a focus on yield-based returns ­ all had established track records, AMP Henderson was aware of a range of higher risk and return opportunities that did not fit the well-defined investment mandates and risk profiles of the core funds, Mr Beverley said.

The new unit would focus mainly on satellite activities ­ more opportunistic and targeting a higher return and greater risk ­ and would operate across all property types and transactions, Mr Beverley said.

The unit would seek property transactions on its own account and in conjunction with joint-venture partners, he said.

While not speculating on potential partners, Mr Beverley highlighted the successful joint venture between AMP and developer Willis Bond, a joint partner in The Hub industrial estate at Botany Downs in Auckland.

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