21st August IPE real estate reported that the San Francisco City Retirement Fund had invested a substantial sum into the Apollo European Principal Finance Fund. Launched in May 2007 Fund Managers had seen significant investment opportunities in the non-performing loan market in Europe. Financial Institutions would come under pressure from Regulators and competitors to dispose of their non-performing real estate loan portfolios (mortgages to you and me). There was profit to be made out of “relaxed underwriting standards in the past, overleveraged customers and softening real estate markets”. The UK is seen as a target area which makes sense as Apollo has a big interest in Countrywide PLC owners of Dixons, Bairstow Eves and many other UK estate agency brands. Coincidentally, Countrywide has a nice looking website (which includes a tasteful picture of a padlock) devoted to their Repossessions “Solutions” Service which is targeted at the very Financial Institutions that Apollo sees to be under pressure. Some may call it synergy. Cynics may view it as Private Equity profiting from the mayhem in the financial markets that they helped to create by over leveraged / covenant lite deals. The next time you take advice from an Estate Agency you might want to consider who is behind them and what they are up to.