The Round-Up, March 2022

Sphere of Influence

To our valued clients and friends, 

Barely three months into 2022 and the big gulp of fresh air that is (what feels like) the end of a pandemic has been cut mid-breath and taken over by the Ukraine crisis that is having us grapple ever more with our deepest most primal fears and needs for safety, security, and sanity.

As Ukrainians worldwide experience unspeakable injustice and suffering, what this war will mean to us as individuals, businesses, and to humanity at large will be determined by our actions and reactions.

The words “Sphere of Influence” echo in my mind as I think of the times we live in, the crises that we are facing and our ever-growing responsibility to right wrongs and create a better world for future generations. I believe it is the Dalai Lama who said that humanity’s suffering is self-inflicted; there is solace in that statement, presumably if we have created our problems, we should be able to fix them. With every crisis comes opportunity, opportunity to do better, opportunity to make better decisions. We receive and share an unprecedented amount of information each day, news and goods travel at incredible speed, and our ability to reach and affect each other is far and wide. And while we are grappling with what seems like immense burdens such as a looming world war and climate change, we are in parallel witnessing a wave of awareness in our societies that will hopefully drive increased rights for minorities, LGBTQ+, and women.

As LPs continue to push the ESG and EDI agendas, how do we service your industries for continued success? What is our sphere of influence? As talent advisors, we find ourselves in an extremely privileged position of speaking to, sharing with, and influencing leaders and their organisations through arguably their richest asset, people. And in our narrow Real Assets space, we are influencing those who shape today’s and tomorrow’s-built environment, the physical world that encompasses our businesses and communities. As an organisation and as individuals, we are committed to challenging ourselves and our counterparts to be smart and creative in reaching long term sustainable success, we are committed to creating a forum for diverse voices around difficult conversations, we are committed to advising on and delivering the highest calibre of diverse talent.

Over the course of the year, the Round Up will focus on those themes through conversations with industry leaders and influencers. For this edition, our Raw section will cover voices on the challenges faced by women in the industry; some of which have surprised us all here at Sousou Partners. We are also honoured to feature a conversation with Sabina Reeves, Global Chief Economist and Global Head of Real Assets Research for CBRE Investment Management, who shares her views on current challenges and more.

Warm wishes,
Serene Hamzawi

challenges within real assets

As Raw As It Gets

We asked female leaders on “their challenges within real assets”

“There tend to be a lot of women at a junior level, but they fall away rapidly at a senior level, and this is not simply because historically firms have not hired women, it’s also because workplaces are not geared to keep women with families and are not geared to draw them in again if they take maternity leave etc.”

“Another thing which impacts women’s ability to grow is that it’s very hard to network in a male dominated world. Sometimes I’ve been at conferences, and it can be awkward to approach a man to make a connection and I often notice an immediate shift in attitude when I approach”

“I absolutely believe a pay gap exists. It’s not intentional but based on the fact that the people who are evaluating performance are all men and what they value is very different to the reality of what is valuable.  For example – I’ve seen smart, effective, commercial women who are also interested in management, culture and mentorship and throw themselves in to the platform at the cost of some hours on the commercial side and then a pay gap starts impacting”

“In the US, strong female juniors are bidding on pay when receiving multiple offers [from REPE firms] and play this out – this is definitely creating wage inflation for women”

“Female pay is behind as women have longer tenure – they have the step change increases rather than bulk increases created when you move company or roles – we call it pay erosion for long tenure staff ”

“Firms are using other levers to attract female talent like flexibility; care culture; good insurance in case of long-term illness; and working from home, which is well received ”

“As a senior woman I have heard people ask each other if I have the ability, in a way they would not question a man. This is not just an issue in my firm, I have heard this questioning going on in all sorts of organisations”

“Big firms often group people with similar experience levels in the same bucket and average out compensation so female compensation average drops away as you often end up with PAs being measured against women in investment roles which skews the stats”

“[A global asset manager] has a central pot from which they compensate women who are underpaid on base against the average of men in the same level; this pot applies across all levels. Some women were up to 30% underpaid and over the last three years have been brought up to par, eventually, it should all balance out”

“We have made significant efforts to recruit graduates from Universities that are not traditionally included in the Private Equity world, one step at the time”

“Our enhanced family support programmes are established to give women the opportunity to climb up the internal ladder without sacrificing the chance to have a family”

“With pressure from LPs we do see more focus for equal pay, although in companies with private money it might be less forced”

Expert Opinion

Interview with Sabina Reeves

Sabina Reeves is Chief Economist & Head of Insights & Intelligence for CBRE Investment Management. She is responsible for the firm’s 30-member real assets research team and has a specific role in selecting the economic scenarios and macro risk assessments that power the firm’s proprietary real assets forecasts. In addition, Sabina has executive responsibility for the firm’s 20-member Analytics and Risk Measurement team. Previously, Sabina served as Head of Research for the firm’s EMEA region and the global quantitative team. Sabina started in the industry in 2001 and joined the firm in 2008. She was previously Chief Economist at IPD. Prior to IPD, she worked for Capital Economics, where she developed its UK residential and commercial property market analysis and forecasting service. Sabina studied economics at Lincoln College, Oxford University, and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

FULL INTERVIEW
Webinar-NTRs

Webinar

Non-Traded REITs

Sousou Partners hosted a conversation to discuss the merits of Non-Traded REITS (NTRs) with two well-respected experts and front runners in this space. Ghada Sousou was joined by  A.J. Agarwal, President of BREIT and Senior Managing Director at Blackstone Real Estate Group, and John McCarthy, CEO of SREIT, Starwood Capital Group. A global audience joined this webinar representing LPs, Family Offices,  Private Equity groups, Investment Managers and Fund Managers from Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. A.J. and John shared their experiences and thoughts on why Blackstone and Starwood Capital entered the NTR space, how it has changed over time, and their views on the future of NTRs.

Whilst real estate has traditionally focused on investing capital for institutional investors, Blackstone and Starwood launched their Non-Traded REITs to address the underserved High Net Worth (HNW) space, providing HNW investors with quality real estate solutions that deliver attractive income and total returns. Since the NTR model was first launched decades ago, there have been a variety of changes to create REIT 2.0, which is characterised by higher quality managers, lower institutional-level fees, higher transparency, greater liquidity to investors, and strong performances to date.

Despite new entrants coming into the space, taking advantage of the vast pool of untapped capital from HNWs looking to invest in high quality real estate ($36 Billion of capital flowed into all NTRs in 2021 alone, three and a half times more than in 2020), the outstanding performance, alongside the prestige of the managers themselves, and the struggles of the fixed income market have proved highly attractive to investors. This is likely to become more pronounced this year due to rising interest rates, and 2022 is expected to be a strong year.

We would like to thank A.J. and John for their time and insights.

Talent recruitment

Key Moves

A highlight of key people moves within global real assets over the last two months

Female Leaders

  • NREP hired Heather Mulahasani as Partner to explore adjacent infrastructure investment opportunities
  • Laura Hines-Pierce was promoted to Co-Chief Executive Officer of Hines
  • Nuveen appointed Saira Malik as Global Chief Investment Officer
  • Nicola Free joined Wells Fargo as Head of Commercial Real Estate, Europe
  • Redevco appointed Marrit Laning as Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer
  • Susam Uthayakumar joined Prologis as Chief Sustainability and Energy Officer
  • Julie Townsend joined PGIM Real Estate as ESG lead for Europe and APAC
  • Octopus Investments hired Jennifer Ockwell as Head of Institutional
  • Laurence Weydert joined BNP Paribas REIM as Head of Asset Management, France
  • Colliers appointed Oana Stamatin as ESG Officer in CEE
  • Anna Rannisto joined CapMan as ESG Manager

Europe

  • Krysto Nikolic joined ICG as Global Head of Real Estate
  • Duncan Owen joined Immobel to lead the firm’s new investment management platform in London
  • Ares hired Philip Moore, Alessandro Luca and Anisa Dudhia to expand its real estate debt presence in Europe
  • Zahar Mejanni joined QuadReal as Managing Director and Global Head of Strategic Partnerships
  • Sirius Real Estate appointed Alistair Marks as Chief Investment Officer, with Diarmuid Kelly taking over as Chief Financial Officer
  • LaSalle IM hired Alex Edds as Head of Sustainability, Europe, Brett Ormrod as Net Zero Carbon Lead and Adam Dawson as UK Sustainability Manager

Americas

  • Marc Feliciano joined Manulife Investment Management as Global Head of Real Estate, Private Markets
  • Josh Pristaw joined Pretium Partners as Senior Managing Director, Co-Head of Real Estate
  • Kurt Summers joined Blackstone Infrastructure Partners as Head of Public-Private Partnerships
  • Jason Kern joined Cortland as President of Investment Management, supporting the firm’s continued growth in the US and overseas
  • Prologis appointed Tim Arndt as Chief Financial Officer

APAC

  • Patrick Kanters, APG Asset Management’s Managing Director of Global Real Assets, relocated to Hong Kong to support the firm’s expansion in APAC
  • Blackstone promoted Justin Wait to Senior Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Greater China
  • Mark Rider was appointed Chief Investment Officer of LGIAsuper and Energy Super
  • Dutch bank ING has appointed Darren Beatty as its Head of Real Estate Finance Australia
  • JLL hired Chris Street as Managing Director of Data Centres, APAC, based in Singapore

Transactions

A look at some of the largest real estate deals over the last two months

Geographical Focus: UK

Sector Focus: Offices

Market Insights

Market Trends

  • Europe lags behind both Asia and the US for the number of women in executive and board-level posts, at a low 14%, whilst women comprise just over one third of the total workforce
  • Investors deployed a record €359bn into European property in 2021, targeting homes and warehouses whilst moving away from offices and retail. Investment into the multifamily sector was up 42% on 2020, totalling €102.6bn
  • Europe is expected to capture c. 60% of global cross-border real estate capital investment in 2022, with over 50% expected to flow into the office sector
  • London remains the most attractive city for European real estate investment in 2022, with Paris and Amsterdam completing the top three. With three cities in the top 10 (Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich) Germany ranked highest out of European countries in terms of expected performance
  • Decarbonising buildings and ESG-requirements are set to create redevelopment opportunities across Europe in 2022, providing attractive investment opportunities for those prepared to undertake retrofitting and refurbishment
  • Construction of logistics assets has failed to keep pace with demand and vacancy rates globally have reached historic lows, giving landlords the ability to drive ever-harder bargains for tenants
  • Demand for warehouses in Central London has pushed prices to a record high, with assets selling for £44m per acre

Debt

  • Madison Realty Capital closed its fifth real estate debt fund with $2.08bn of capital commitments
  • PGIM Real Estate closed on €82bn for the latest fund it is High Yield debt series, with half of its capital coming from new investors

M&A

  • Altarea halted its plans to acquire Primonial stating that some of the conditions agreed upon at the time of signing terms in June 2021 had not been met
  • Schroders Capital completed the acquisition of Dutch real estate fund and asset management business Cairn Real Estate

Infrastructure

  • Stonepeak closed its fourth infrastructure fund at $14bn, nearly double the size of its predecessor
  • Blackstone raised a further $6.7bn for its flagship infrastructure fund, taking it to $23bn, over half-way to its initial $40bn target
  • DigitalBridge Investment Management closed its second flagship fund on $8.3bn, more than double its predecessor
  • Apollo closed its second dedicated infrastructure fund on $2.54bn
  • Colliers acquired a 75% stake in Basalt Infrastructure Partners as the firm continues its expansion into Infrastructure