Clarion Enhances Presence in UK with New London Office

After undergoing a management buyout last year, Clarion Partners continues its expansion by opening an office in London and naming Jeroen Verheijden as the new senior vice president.

Clarion Sr. VP Jeroen Verheijden

The U.S. real estate market continues to rank high on foreign investors’ radar and Clarion Partners is bolstering its attention to clients based in the U.K. the Eurozone and the Middle East with the opening of an office in London.

“Non-U.S. investors constitute a large part of Clarion Partners” investor base, so this is a good reason to establish a presence in the region to make sure that there are strong ties with our current investors,” Jeroen Verheijden who has just come aboard at Clarion as senior vice president, told CPE.

It’s not Clarion’s first time at the rodeo. As the Americas real estate investment management arm of global financial institution ING–a role it held until last year, when Clarion bought the business back in a $100 million management buyout–Clarion played a major role in addressing international clients’ fervent interest in the U.S. market.

“As a stand-alone company there’s technically never been a London office but for much of Clarion Partners’ history, it’s been part of a big global business,” said Hugh Macdonnell , managing director with Clarion Partners .”The U.S. Americas team helped build and grow ING’s global platform.”

Clarion has had a foothold in Europe and the Middle East for more than a decade.

Indeed, international investors’ keenness on the U.S. market is strong and the numbers tell the story. Of the approximately $40 billion of transactions  at the mid-year point this year, 35 percent involved cross-border parties, according to a report by commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

“There is a lot of global interest in the United States, because U.S. commercial real estate and its products are perceived to be stable, well-run and transparent,” said Macdonnell.

And you cannot get more transparent than the United States. The nation ranks as the most transparent real estate market in the world, as per JLL research. The country’s status is buoyed by its top-notch investment performance data series, providing some of the deepest investment markets coverage in the world and ranking among the top countries in index market reporting.

With the opening of the London office, Clarion is emphasizing that, like politics, real estate is local.

“It’s very important to be physically close and have senior level executives participating in all those communities and understanding the opportunities,” Macdonnell added.

It will be Verheijden’s responsibility to lead the effort for Clarion in the U.K., across the Eurozone, as well as in the Middle East. Given his history, it appears he is certainly equal to the task. Before becoming a part of the Clarion team, Verheijden held the positions of client portfolio manager and global real estate multi-manager with Aviva, a leading global asset management business headquartered in the U.K.

Verheijden has hit the ground running, wasting little time in pursuing his goals in his new post. “I want to ensure that we provide good access to great investment opportunities–that’s primarily what I choose to accomplish.”