Message from the Chairman

In 2014, we saw the first real signs of a significant recovery in the real estate sector, as transactions in the Dutch market more than doubled compared to 2013, which was already quite a good year. It was also a year in which we very much reaped what we have sowed over the past few years. We had a record year, as our Dutch Investments business unit invested over € 600 million and International Investments invested more than € 500 million in listed and unlisted funds. And because all of our over € 400 million Dutch residential investments were in new-build properties, we have secured our pipeline for the coming years.

We also took our first steps in a segment with excellent growth potential, acquiring the first properties for our Healthcare Fund. The ageing population, increasing demand for various levels of assisted facilities and the increasing quality demands in the healthcare sector makes this an essential feather in the cap of any real estate investor looking for a balanced portfolio. We expect to make more acquisitions in this sector in 2015 and beyond.

We are really seeing the benefits of our strategy of downsizing our development activities and opening up the funds to third-party investors. And of all the additional checks and balances we have introduced to comply with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. Consequently, we welcomed a second new investor to the Residential Fund, following the Rabobank pension fund’s investment at the start of 2014. By 2 January 2015, three more investors had committed to the Residential Fund. We are seeing serious interest from investors in our commercial property funds.

Very importantly, of course, our funds continue to book solid returns in what are still challenging markets. Our Dutch Investments booked a return of 3.3% and outperformed the IPD benchmark (except for the Office Fund). Our International Investments business did remarkably well last year, booking a return of 19.5% on its listed and unlisted funds, with a little help from a strong US Dollar.

Of course, this is largely thanks to our strategy of continuing to invest during the crisis. That consistency also showed that we are a reliable partner in the market and that we are serious about growth and our ambitious targets. It put us in an excellent position now the markets are picking up and investors moving back in.

The market has also changed and is now a real seller’s market. Volumes in the Netherlands doubled to € 10 billion last year as investors are looking for higher returns. Bonds are at record highs and the stock market is trading at fair value, so real estate has become a real alternative. Investors’ biggest challenge is to find the right investment manager and that is where we come in. We have a clear market vision, roots in pensions and real estate, high-quality governance, a strong commitment towards sustainability and a great track record. Investors know they can trust us with their capital.

On top of this, we keep a close eye on our fees. A recent benchmark study showed that our fees are below the industry benchmark for Dutch Investments and at benchmark level for our international portfolio. And the outcome of a client satisfaction survey we conducted with bpfBOUW and our first two new investors was very positive, as we emerged with an average score of 7.7. It also provided us with a lot of insight into what investors want or need from their investment manager. These results capped what was already an excellent year for us.

I would like to thank all our employees for their commitment, dedication and focus over the past year in a time of market uncertainty and changes within Bouwinvest itself. And I would like to welcome our new Managing Director Finance, Arno van Geet, who joined us in 2014.

We bid farewell to Jacques van Ek, who has been chairman of our Supervisory Board for the past eight years. We are very grateful to him for his commitment, his inspiration and his contribution to Bouwinvest’s success. We wish him well.

Dick van Hal, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Statutory Director

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