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The management tool that gives asset managers a consolidated view of their real estate assets

Cheng Peng
19
April
2022

Xavier de Saqui de Sannes, Director of Asset Management France at AEW, shares with us how SONEKA is creating value for its team of over 100 people.

Can you introduce AEW and explain what you do?

AEW is one of the world's largest asset managers with just over $80 billion of real estate assets under management worldwide, spread across three platforms: the United States, Europe, and Asia. Europe is the largest with $38 billion. Third-party manager and fund creator. So we have institutional and private clients, since we also manage SCPIs and public OPCIs, with assets spread over all asset classes.

I head the Asset Management for France. So the two teams: ex-institutional and ex-SCPI scope. This represents a little over a hundred people in France. Since 1 February, the teams have merged and are learning to work together with the same operating methods, even if the purpose is not always the same. 

How did SONEKA help you with the integration of the two teams? 

Yes, because SONEKA is really the central tool of Asset Management. It is the steering tool.

Before SONEKA, we had a cash flow tool. 

If I have to summarise how an asset manager works, whether he is an institutional or a general public: he manages his assets, which are a small vehicle, with a large rear-view mirror that gives him exactly what he has seen and done in the past, and two or three outside dials that give him the outside temperature. But as he drives, he sees his rear view mirror. He can't drive, and he can't project.

And so SONEKA reduces the rear-view mirror and gives visibility and allows assets to be projected.

Globally, it must control the creation of value. For the general public, it will be more like steering the distribution over three years, so there has to be some visibility ahead. And the institutional manager needs to project himself to see what value creation he is going to do.

So yes, SONEKA as a central asset management tool helps to converge working methods.  

Does SONEKA help you manage such a large team?

Yes, I won't tell you otherwise.

What I was telling you is that SONEKA is the central tool. So SONEKA is the source that will enable us to create all our reports. SONEKA allows us to consolidate, to have a client, tenant and brand axis. And this is transverse to all asset classes in France and tomorrow in Europe.

The whole aspect of sustainable development will also be integrated into SONEKA. We see the constraints that we have, which are increasingly strong from the regulator on a certain number of things that we have to do. And SONEKA will enable us to have this consolidated vision.

You have to imagine that with a heritage of 1,800 assets, if we didn't have a tool that would allow us to consolidate easily, it would take days or weeks of work to consolidate a data.

Whereas this is native. 

How is the relationship with the SONEKA team on a daily basis?

It is very good.

What is exciting and interesting is to share our desires, our letters to Father Christmas, and to translate them into very concrete things that we can put into practice. 

Is there anything else you would like to share about SONEKA?

Well, I'm glad we have that.

It was an excellent decision at the time to set up SONEKA.

I feel that the asset managers are taking it on board more and more, and see the benefits. So as soon as it is accepted by Asset Management, by the employee, the middle managers and above can only applaud, because it means that what has been put in place serves to create value.

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