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Institutional Real Estate Americas

October 1, 2013: Vol. 25, Number 9

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  • The oligarchy: A small number of huge investment managers are starting to rule the business

    It is good to be an oligarch.

    To be an oligarch is to have resources galore. It’s an opportunity to control countries — such as Russia, the Ukraine or Saudi Arabia — and to dominate industries such as institutional real estate investing. Especially institutional real estate investing. The industry has always had its “bigs,” but the biggest of the bigs are accumulating assets under management with such speed and immensity that some observers are getting alarmed the industry is going topsy-turvy.

  • Western exposure: A swell of Asian investment dollars is crossing the Pacific and finding a home in the Americas

    Since the start of the global economic recovery, Asia-based investors have unleashed a rising tide of capital on the world stage. In 2009 alone, they directly acquired more than $2 billion worth of commercial property in the United Kingdom, nearly five times as much as they deployed in the United States that year.

  • A shift in sentiment: Investors leave their angst behind and focus on the future

    In September, we conducted our fall Editorial Advisory Board meeting for The Institutional Real Estate Letter – Americas. The year’s fall meeting was held at The Montage resort and spa in Laguna Beach, Calif., with 37 investor types (including representatives from corporate, public and Taft-Hartley pension funds, endowments, foundations, family offices, fund of funds managers, and insurance companies), plus 16 consultants and 44 investment managers in attendance.

  • Blackstone to take Hilton Hotels back to Wall Street

    The Blackstone Group’s tenure as a guest at Hilton Hotels is not coming to an end, by any means. But the investment manager, which took Hilton private in 2007 for $27 billion, is showing early signs that an eventual exit strategy is on its mind.

  • Oh, Canada! Your condos are too bountiful

    Canadian condominium towers are reaching for the sky — fast — and that has got some economic observers concerned condo developers’ reach is exceeding their grasp.

  • CMBS delinquency rate keeps dropping

    Despite rising interest rates and concerns that the Federal Reserve will bring an end to the economic stimulus created by its quantitative easing program, the CMBS delinquency rate continued its happy decline.

  • Major U.S. markets are on the move

    The U.S. commercial real estate revival continues apace, though its performance is uneven in some regions. That is the word from the latest Commercial Property Price Indices report from Moody’s and Real Capital Analytics.

  • Investors, managers vote on the

    Domestically, it is time to start investing in secondary cities while avoiding investments in the apartment sector. Internationally, Europe is again a land of investment opportunity. Strategically, plan sponsors are expecting to commit more dollars to value-added investments on both a percentage and dollar-volume basis.

  • REITs find 2013 is a summer to forget

    Things were looking pretty rosy for the REIT market in early 2013. Following up on its 2012 total return of 19.70 percent, the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index fashioned an impressive 14.94 percent return through the first four months of 2013.

  • South Korean investors expand their horizons

    South Korean real estate investors put a couple of stakes in the ground during 2009 and 2010 that grabbed the attention of institutional investors. It was then that the National Pension Service of Korea bought two of the world’s landmark office buildings in London and Sydney, Australia.

  • Super-size me: Investment managers grow larger as they expand their reach and ride a wave of asset appreciation

    In recent years, several investment managers have deployed their own versions of the “special sauce” to super-size their assets under management and jump to the top of the global real estate investment manager rankings. Through aggressive growth and M&A strategies Brookfield Asset Management, CBRE Global Investors and The Blackstone Group have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, based on a global survey of real estate investment managers conducted by Property Funds Research (PFR) and Institutional Real Estate, Inc. (IREI).

  • Stuck in the middle: Commercial real estate investing in an unequal economy

    Lost in all the emotion and politically charged rhetoric surrounding income inequality are the implications for investors and their investments.

  • Capital punishment: The abuse and misuse of the IRR and NPV

    Most real estate investors rely upon one or, at best, a few metrics to gauge the merits of a transaction or a portfolio of potential transactions. The internal rate of return (IRR) is perhaps the most popular metric but, compared to the net present value (NPV) criterion, it is flawed. The IRR method may lead to inconsistent project rankings and value-destroying investment decisions.

  • The REIT wrapper: Standard & Poor

    With the proliferation in specialty real estate investment trusts, Standard & Poor’s continues to consider how to evaluate REITs as the definition of “real estate” expands beyond the boundaries of our REIT criteria. The current criteria focus on companies that own and operate real estate in traditional property sectors.

  • Let's be clear: You work for me

    Investors are concerned about conflicts of interest with managers in joint enterprises. To address potential conflicts of interest, investors need a robust manager standard of care that is clearly set forth in the operative documents. Because the standard of care can be modified by contract, investors cannot rely on old-fashioned notions that the manager always must consider what would be best for the investor. Instead, investors need to understand the manager’s duties as set forth in the documents and how they affect the manager’s actions when conflicts of interest arise.