Monday, September 29, 2008

Aviva Investors

i'm excited to tell you that i've joined Aviva Investors Multi-Manager Real Estate team as Head of Marketing for North America. yes, it's a long title but it helps me to remember what i was hired to do. actually, my responsibilities will probably include being an ambassador for all real estate products offered by AVIVA Investors. today is the official day of my announcement. and it's also the official day of the announcement of the launch of the AVIVA Investors brand which is the only sub-business of AVIVA plc, the worlds fifth largest insurance company. AVIVA Investors has been formed by combining AVIVA Capital Management and Morley Fund Management. we have offices in London, New York and Singapore. Aviva Investors is one of the world’s largest real estate managers with $50 billion in assets under management, and is one of the largest real estate multi-managers with more than $10 billion under management, invested into indirect real estate strategies. i’m very excited to have this opportunity.

i really don't know what i can add to everything being written and talked about regarding the state of financial affairs in the u.s. today. suffice it to say that others much smarter and closer to the situation than i have said that unless the government steps in further our entire economy could crumble. hopefully, the final solution will be one that takes everyone into consideration. but, once things do settle down, and i have a feeling that it will be sooner rather than later, we can move forward, albeit at a slower and more careful pace but perhaps 'the bottom' will have arrived and things can only go up from there. we all need to keep our fingers crossed because as a friend of mine used to say, “we’re in deep doo-doo” right now.

Pete Seger, the legendary folk singer who turned 89 this year has released a new album. I read this today in the paper and it resonated with me so I wanted to pass it along to you:
"I hope the next revolution (after the current information-based one) will take the form of a 'willingness to communicate revolution.' It will involve becoming more generous, having a better sense of humor and talking to people we disagree with. And that must happen if there is going to be a human race here in the next century,'

from time to time i have thought about 'where time goes?' i guess that while i keep a very positive attitude on life and am convinced that i am going to live well past 100, there are moments when i wonder how it is that time can be passing so fast. perhaps it happens when i think about 'what have i contributed to the world?' and whether i'm just going through life, working to make a living, from time to time taking holidays and experiencing different people, cultures and geographies and that is something that is very important to me; i also know that there are more people, places and things in the world than i will have time or means to visit. but that won't stop me from trying but not trying in the sense of putting pressure on myself but rather just continue to stretch myself when i have the opportunity to expand my horizons. but that again is something that i do for myself but i don know that the experience of meeting people on their own turf and communicating with them also means something to them as well; i know it because i have talked about it with them. and, i've always believed, that the key to bringing our world closer together, while cross border investment and business deals are one component, and cultural exchanges are another, in my humble opinion, there is no substitute for people meeting people, one on one and talking. in this way we learn that we are all human beings and that the differences represented by our language or our habits, holidays or traditions are not the true essence of who we are as human beings. maybe i'm just a wishful thinker but i continue to believe that we can bring more peace and understanding to the world by taking advantage of any opportunity we have to contribute to our world's future.

but at times like these, when it seems like in so many ways and places, the stress, strain, pain, hatred and confrontation serve to separate us as people, both within and outside our respective countries it makes it more and more difficult to think of anything or anyone other than ourselves, our families and our and their own well-being. i too am feeling some strain of what is going on in the economy and financial world in the U.S. and perhaps some of what i'm going through is due to my believing that things would always continue to get better and for many years, for me, they did. i do feel that things will continue to get better for me and that the lessons learned are not the kind that are as damaging as they are with other U.S. citizens and others around the world who have made investment decisions which have caused them to lose some of their net worth. but i guess what i'm coming around to is that i've been thinking lately of what does someones' real 'net worth' consist of. it is only measured in terms of dollars and assets owned? i'd like to believe not. there's a phrase i read many years ago in a book whose name i cannot remember: "things worth being vs. things worth having." there is a big difference.

sunday’s new york times magazine section had a special advertising section dedicated to new york lawyers. but it wasn't just any lawyers (at least i don't think it was) it was 'superlawyers.' now, i may be wrong, but i thought all lawyers were superlawyers or at least they see themselves as superlawyers. and, as having good self-esteem is important in any profession, why shouldn't they? but what was interesting to me was the way those firms that decided to spend what may be a considerable portion of their annual marketing budget designed their ads. they run the gamut from anyone wear anything to all seven partners wearing the identical suit with only minor color changes in the tie. and everything in between. i don't know which of the firms i would choose from their photo or whether i'd just dismiss them one by one based on fashion statements and facial expressions. however, in addition to the 'ads' there was a directory which was listed by discipline. real estate, as you might imagine, has a lot of lawyers in new york. included in the listings (but not in the ads) were two friends, carl schwartz of herrick, feinstein and david rabinowitz of sutherland. these guys are big-time real estate attorneys and while you may see an ad of theirs from time to time in a real estate publication you won't see them in this superlawyer supplement, new york magazine or entertainment weekly (although, while i've never held one in my hand might be a place where entertainment or libel lawyers do advertise). "perception is reality" is a saying that i believe has a lot of truth to it and when someone runs an ad or a tv commercial where ones visage (the face of several colleagues) are out in the open i think you're taking a chance. is having photos in an ad any different than having photos of people on your website? not really but sort of. while websites should be both information and somewhat promotional they do have certain components of advertising. but ads are "in your face, buddy." whether they're in print, on tv or as a warm up to a movie played in your local theatre (which i think is an infringement of one of my constitutional rights, i just don't know which one). my suggestion: always put yourself in the others persons shoes; bounce ad ideas off people you know and trust (even if you've engaged an ad firm to create your ad). you know your industry better than anyone and they way you are perceived in your ad becomes the reality.

Where will I be?

Oct. 1-3: Chicago for PREA’s 18th Annual Plan Sponsor Real Estate Conference

Oct. 6-8: London

Nov. 12-13: New York to moderate a panel on "Asset Transformation Case Studies) at the fourth annual PERE Forum (Private Equity Real Estate).

Feb. 19-20, 2009: Chapel Hill, NC to attend the Kenan-Flagler Center for Real Estate Development’s Annual Conference and Real Estate Challenge Case Competition.


Magnus said...

Steve, congratulations to your new position. Sounds great. Looking forward meeting you on the international scene.

manila houses said...

This blog has a very good point of view you can’t really trust a person base of the way he/she dress or they’re facial expression. With the world economic crisis it’s really hard for us to loan to buy properties there is no such thing as stable now days. I really do hope this devastating crisis will end soon.

new Zealand jobs said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. I’ve learned a lot about real states just by reading it. I’ve always wanted to know a person’s view about this whole thing. And I thank you for sharing this.

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