Back to top

Image: Bigstock

MetLife (MET) Unit's Commercial Real Estate AUM Grows to $106.7B

Read MoreHide Full Article

MetLife, Inc.’s (MET - Free Report) institutional asset management unit named MetLife Investment Management (MIM) recently disclosed that it executed new commercial real estate debt and equity transactions worth $10.7 billion during 2020.

On one hand, 137 commercial mortgage loans amounting to $8.5 billion, which stemmed from the origination and institutional investor activity, resulted in total commercial mortgage loan assets under management (AUM) attaining a gross market value of $74 billion as of December 2020-end.

On the other hand, a robust real estate platform and strong risk management capabilities of MIM have paved the way for offering real estate financing and investment aid to communities. Case in point, MetLife’s unit purchased properties worth $2.2 billion during last year as a result of which the AUM of MIM’s total real estate equity portfolio achieved a gross market value of $32.7 billion. Notably, MIM has been following a strategy of intensifying focus on property types encompassing last-mile distribution centers and suburban apartments for the past few years.

Further, the international portfolio of MIM has been growing with rise in commercial real estate AUM attained last year courtesy of its commercial real estate platform and asset management capabilities spanning across the United States and several international markets of the U.K., Japan, Korea, Chile and Mexico. While MIM generated commercial real estate transactions of more than $843 million in Asia during 2020, commercial real estate debt originations worth $527 million took place in the U.K. during the same time frame.

The abovementioned debt and equity origination activities have led to MIM’s commercial real estate AUM reach a global gross market value of $106.7 billion as of Dec 31, 2020.

It has to be noted that the volatile markets resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the risk-taking abilities of investors, who wanted to hold cash reserves instead of investing them. As a result, significant pressure was exerted on market liquidity during the early phase of the pandemic. The pressure started easing gradually when central banks and governments took steps to inject liquidity into the economy starting with interest rate cuts. It was during this early pandemic phase that MIM continued to act as a stream of debt capital amid the commercial real estate market with an intent to assist borrowers. Notably, MIM originated $15.7 billion private placement debt during 2020 comprising 215 deals, which increased the value of MIM’s total private placement debt and private structured credit portfolio to $102.1 billion at 2020-end.

Per MIM, its robust real estate platform has somewhat helped the company to tide over the challenges put forward by the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from this, MIM also believes that the same platform is well-poised to tap growing opportunities during this year as well.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) multiline insurer have soared 97.2% in a year compared with the industry’s rally of 69.7%.

Moreover, these origination activities undertaken by MIM has been providing an added impetus to MetLife’s asset management business. Similar to its subsidiary MIM, MetLife has been striving to reduce the financial stress of its members through its proven expertise in managing longevity risk and strong presence in the reinsurance space. The company has been steadily pursuing reinsurance agreements focused on risk-sharing, reduction to risk exposure and limiting losses suffered.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the insurance space are Old Republic International Corporation (ORI - Free Report) , James River Group Holdings, Ltd. (JRVR - Free Report) and First American Financial Corporation (FAF - Free Report) . While Old Republic sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), James River Group and First American Financial carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Old Republic, James River Group and First American Financial have a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 65.77%, 11.63% and 15.86%, respectively, on average.

Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana

If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027.

After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%

You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.

Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>