Last week Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) – the entity that controls Norway’s $890 billion wealth fund – announced that it would be ramping up its investment into global real estate.

The fund has been permitted to invest into real estate since 2011 and at the end of 2013 held 1% of its portfolio in real estate. However, because its target allocation is actually 5%, it will seek to invest 1% of its fund in each of the next three years.  Yes, $27 billion looking for real estate investments during the next three years.

There are a few interesting components to their strategy.  First, NBIM staff dedicated to real estate will increase to about 200 people – a lot more eyes, ears, and hands to source and manage their real estate investments.  Geographically, most of NBIM’s recent investment has focused on the US and Europe and they will now look at other major markets in Asia and “global cities outside Europe.”  This could include a more direct stake in emerging markets.  Finally, NBIM will be doing fewer JVs and looking to manage fully-owned properties, plus an increase in active involvement with development.  Part of this strategy will also be seeking public-to-private transactions.

Not only does this story underscore some of the trends identified in our earlier posts in this space (e.g., Capital Surge), but it is also interesting to think about its impact on the marketplace.  NBIM’s activities could be seen as a significant competitive presence to other buyers and sellers of real estate investments. Plus, the weight of capital in the more attractive markets may affect pricing and risk-adjusted returns.

NBIM, as stated before, plans to increase the number of staff dedicated to real estate to approximately 200 professionals.  Regardless of the number of staff dedicated to an investment strategy, the ability to manage information between team members and coordinate intelligence-gathering is critical.  While investors continue to seek ways to automate paper-based processes and access broader data, they are also looking for ways to quickly and efficiently distribute updates within their own organizations, no matter how small or large.   Accordingly, transparency and communication is the hallmark of the most adept fund managers. Today, cleverly designed technology infrastructure can go a long way in supporting highly effective investors and investment managers.

This is the Sterlinks blog. Access Sterlinks tools to maximize your internal resources by visiting http://www.sterlinks.net.

Previously in this space (“Capital Surge” and “Capital Surge: Part 2“) we’ve discussed a couple of interesting conclusions from the Cornell University’s Baker Program in Real Estate & Hodes Weill study the “2013 Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor” in relation to more recent news.

A third key take-away from the survey that caught our attention is the shift towards an increasingly global, cross-border investment strategy for many institutional investors. One of the more revealing stats is that Asia-Pacific investors are currently under-invested by 130 bps and also plan to raise their targets by 140-150 bps (i.e., almost 300 bps of their portfolio’s total size will be newly invested in real estate in the near-term).  So, don’t be surprised as this set of investors ramps up their investment quite rapidly.

In addition, despite being not as under-allocated, 38% of North American investors (compared to 24% of investors from Asia-Pacific) revealed their intent to increase their investment into private real estate during 2014, according to data-provider Preqin.  So whether capital placement is driven by need or want the conclusion remains that capital placement certainly will be on the rise, and not only in investors’ back yards.  For instance, of the North American investors seeking investments in the next 12 months, 38% are targeting Europe, which is up from 17% a half-year ago. 60% of Asia-Pacific investors are aiming at Europe, versus 39% a half-year ago.  Those are impressive jumps.

Furthermore, CBRE released a report earlier this week regarding Middle East capital flows into real estate (“In and Out – Middle East”). This research report anticipates a substantial amount of capital flowing from that region over the next decade.  CBRE estimates $180 billion will be invested by Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) and private investors from the Middle East in Europe (80%), the Americas (10%) and Asia-Pacific (10%). The domestic markets don’t have nearly enough volume to absorb the SWF’s investment targets, hence the capital predominantly goes internationally. By comparing this amount to the $45 billion invested between 2007 and 2013 we can begin to understand how significant an increase it is.

Therefore, in order for these investors who are escalating their investment volumes internationally to invest further and further from their front door, it requires technology to bridge that geographic gap.  Evolving technology will allow institutional investors to use their resources effectively from a central base – for both identifying & sourcing investment opportunities as well as organizing multiple due diligence processes efficiently.   Moreover, investment managers can benefit from the same technology by being able to extend their marketing reach to capital partners further afield.

This is the Sterlinks blog. Access Sterlinks tools to maximize your internal resources by visiting http://www.sterlinks.net.

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

 

CalSTRS Adopts Sterlinks Due Diligence Technology and Joins Sterling Analytics Advisory Board

Sterlinks software platform offers California pension plan investment team broader market data, enhanced transparency with investment managers, and longer-term visibility on potential investment partners

SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, 2014 — The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) this week adopted Sterlinks, a cloud-based utility that automates due diligence and analytics on investment opportunities. Sterlinks is the flagship technology product of Sterling Analytics (http://www.sterlinganalytics.net).

In addition to adopting the Sterlinks platform to expand and improve CalSTRS due diligence capabilities on global real estate investment opportunities, investment officers Josh Kawaii-Bogue and Kevin Bassi will represent CalSTRS on Sterling Analytics’ Advisory Board.

CalSTRS is interested in leveraging technology and data to improve its investment process.

CalSTRS expects to use the Sterlinks platform to augment internal resources and reduce costs related to travel, document retrieval and administrative tasks.

“We believe Sterlinks gives the CalSTRS investment team access to a broader set of data and analytics related to investment opportunities, fund managers and operators.  This will support our investment staff in navigating complex global real estate markets where access to the best local expertise and market data can be an advantage,” said CalSTRS Director of Real Estate, Mike DiRe.

“We hope to use the data and analytics gained from the Sterlinks platform to supplement our research on major investment decisions related to our $22.4 billion real estate investment portfolio,” said Investment Officer Josh Kawaii-Bogue.

“CalSTRS leadership is charged with steering the second-largest pension fund in the U.S. We look forward to supporting them with technology to achieve their investment objectives effectively,” said Meera Balakumar, Director of Sterling Analytics.

The Sterlinks platform will offer the CalSTRS real estate team the following principal tools:

  • Partner Due Diligence hub: to centralize and automate due diligence on global investment managers and operators;
  • Sterlinks Notebook Client Relationship Management (CRM): to track and manage new and existing investment relationships; and
  • Network Builder: for desktop and mobile-enabled networking with global real estate investors, managers and operators.

About Sterling Analytics

Sterling Analytics provides institutional investors with technology tools designed to help them identify investment partners, build intelligent partner relationships, and manage partner due diligence. Sterling Analytics’ flagship next-generation due diligence software, Sterlinks, is tailored to the needs of the institutional investment process. The Sterlinks platform integrates client relationship management (“CRM”), networking, due diligence and analytics to strengthen and build capital partnerships.

About CalSTRS

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $183.8 billion as of April 30, 2014, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plans. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California’s 868,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,600 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.

Contact:
Sterling Analytics Press Team
+1(415) 868-5391
info@sterlinganalytics.net
www.sterlinks.net
www.twitter.com/sterlinks

As mentioned earlier in our “Capital Surge” post from a few days ago, the “2013 Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor” from Cornell University & Hodes Weill identified some interesting trends in the industry.  We’d like to expand upon another noteworthy takeaway from that study today, including a bit more recent info:

“Institutions continue to shift from direct investing to outsourcing to third-party managers.”

It’s been explained that the flow of capital into real estate will be steady in the coming years. A particularly active set of investors will be small to medium-sized institutional investors (i.e., under $50 billion in global AUM).  One of the likeliest vehicles for smaller players to place capital would be through private funds.  In fact, 66% of investors with under $50 billion in AUM will invest via private funds.

In contrast, investors with over $50 billion in AUM (just 47% in funds) tend to prefer JVs, separate accounts, or going direct.  For example, large insurance companies tend to focus on larger, lower-yielding core deals and have bigger staffs who can more readily manage their investments without 3rd parties.

Meanwhile, the private real estate funds will see a rise in interest coming from these several investors looking to increase their under-target allocations.  As such, investors will soon be competing to place their capital into the best funds and, in turn, investment managers will be fielding more investor requests (e.g., Due Diligence Questionnaires).

Case in point: data-provider Preqin has some revealing stats in its Q1 2014 Quarterly Update that shows 54% of private funds that closed in Q1 2014 either met or exceeded their capital targets.  Furthermore, their May Real Estate Update reveals that funds focused on Europe – one of the most attractive investment regions currently – have met or exceeded their capital raising goals in 72% of the funds that closed in Q1 2014.  While this is up from 2013 and 2012 (57% and 46%, respectively), what is most remarkable is that 29% of the European focused funds exceeded their fund raising goals by more than 25%.  An additional tidbit is that in the past year the average time these funds are marketing has dropped to 17 months from 19 months.

A corollary to this is that mediocre managers may take advantage of the large amount of capital eagerly seeking a home. Investors will need to maintain their rigorous investment review processes in order to place capital in those “best in class” funds. As capital surges into real estate it will likely become increasingly competitive for all.  Parties who are able to use technology to be efficient and maximize their resources during this screening and selection process will have a leg up on their peers.

Check back with us soon as we delve into one of the report’s other key conclusions.

This is the Sterlinks blog. Access Sterlinks tools to maximize your due diligence resources by visiting http://www.sterlinks.net.

The flow of capital into real estate has been picking up momentum, driven by a variety of sources.  At the beginning of the year, Cornell’s Baker Program in Real Estate and Hodes Weill released the results of a study they had conducted entitled the “2013 Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor.” Its focus is on the trends of allocation of capital into real estate. Combining the conclusions of that report with updated data from the first two quarters of 2014, we highlight some noteworthy trends in capital flow.

Let’s examine a couple of the study’s key conclusions in today’s context:

  1. Institutions are significantly under-invested in real estate, which is resulting in greater capital flows into the sector.
  2. Institutional allocations to real estate are increasing, indicating that the pace of annual investments will likely continue to accelerate well beyond 2014.

It has been well publicized that capital is currently flowing into real estate as the global financial crisis begins to be talked about more and more in the past tense. It is welcome news that capital will continue to flow into the sector for the coming years. This is being driven largely by two components: (1) being short of current target allocations and (2) the aim to raise those allocation targets further.

The report mentions that nearly 40% of institutions are below their portfolio allocation targets for real estate by more than 100 bps. (Industry estimates of institutional AUM are $60 – $80 trillion.) In fact, we can add more fuel to the fire by comparing the distribution of real estate investors’ current target portfolio allocations to the distribution of their actual allocations in Q1 2014. No surprise on the punch line: allocations are still below targets. Moreover, investors are expected to increase their targets by over 50 bps on average.

One sub-set of investors to note is the institutions with less than $50 billion in AUM, whose current under-allocations are 104 bps on average. Investors with $5-$10 billion in AUM (100 bps below target) and those with less than $1 billion (-125 bps) are the most under-allocated within that group. Therefore, while the report indicates capital’s continued and accelerated flow into real estate, it can be expected that there will be various sources of this capital (as opposed to just a few mega-investors topping up their allocations).

Technology now available will aid these investors in their efforts to boost their real estate investments while allowing them to be thoughtful, conduct thorough due diligence, and manage risk.

Check back with us soon as we delve into some of the report’s other conclusions that we found worthy of discussion at this point.

This is the Sterlinks blog. Access Sterlinks tools to maximize your internal resources by visiting http://www.sterlinks.net.

A quick note on how successful fund managers differentiate themselves to investors: information.

Investors seek clear, detailed information on fund managers from the very beginning of a prospective relationship. In fact, a lack of clarity in fund information early in the process is a red flag regardless of a manager’s history. Investors know you’re a potential partner when they are able to review details on fund strategy, track record, team and terms easily.

Make it easy by adhering to standardized methods in communicating fund information.

For real estate managers, INREV provides detailed guidance on presenting your track record.

For private equity funds, AltExchange has done a remarkable job of boiling down key metrics.

Use these templates to signal your ability to be a true partner to your investor.

Finally, take a look at the graphic by data provider Preqin: active investors appreciate proactive managers.

fundraising private equity real estate

Investors describe their preference for originating investments to Preqin.

Employing current technology to better communicate and organize yourself during the fundraising process will be appreciated by potential investors. Making a strong impression matters, and technology can make that simple to do.

This is the Sterlinks blog. Access Sterlinks tools to maximize your internal resources by visiting http://www.sterlinks.net.

 

If you’ve been watching this space, you know that over the last several weeks, investors on Sterlinks offered us general feedback on what makes for good meetings with investment managers.

Here is the final installment advice as you prepare for your next meeting.

Third in our three-part series, this is feedback you don’t always get to hear directly from investors after you meet with them:

  1. Don’t spend 10 minutes trying to get hooked up to the overhead projector while everyone waits. Time is too valuable, and unnecessary delays set a bad tone for the rest of the meeting.
  2. Don’t devote too much time to finding out personal information.
  3. Being overly familiar can make for an awkward or uncomfortable meeting.
  4. When speaking, be organized and conscious of time. Present properly.
  5. Avoid going off on any obscure point.
  6. Show that your platform brings a team, not just one ego.
  7. Related to #6, don’t dominate the conversation away from the rest of your team.
  8. Name-dropping is generally a bad idea, avoid it as much as possible.
  9. Fictitious urgency is easily detected. Real urgency sometimes does not matter.
  10. Investors often know each other and may chat. Their discussions may cover conversations they have had with you.

One final pro-tip from successful managers: practice with mock questions and answers. Video-tape mock question-and-answer sessions to refine your team’s verbal clarity and body-language.

Rest assured, the investors who provided this thoughtful feedback are eager to identify and forge relationships with the best partners they can find.  They want to know about you.

We hope you enjoyed our collection of feedback on investor meetings. Even as we conclude this series, investors continue to offer us nuggets of wisdom regarding investor communication. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

This is the Sterlinks blog. Access Sterlinks tools to maximize your in-house resources by visiting http://www.sterlinks.net.

 

 

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