Friday, April 13, 2012

Money, money, money, money/presentationgym/Playful Social Media?

Where are institutional investors putting their money these days?  (As reported by PERE magazine)

1.  Prudential raises $568m for senior housing fund
2.  Cornerstone collects $515m for debt fund
3.  Aberdeen hauls $472m for Asia Fund of Funds
4.  Hemisferio Sul (formerly Prosperitas) to hold $650m close on latest Brazil fund
5.  Westport Capital Partner Fund III has closed on more than $571 (Distressed debt and assets)
6.  Angelo Gordon & Co. has closed on nearly $2.3 billion through two commingled vehicles targeting real estate assets (distressed commercial and residential properties or debt from owners and lenders &  high-quality, in-fill assets where sub-performance can be corrected and which are likely to appreciate over time)
7. Brilla Group has completed its first round of fundraising for the Colombian Beachfront Hospitality Private Equity Fund, which will invest in luxury hotels and resorts in the South American nation.

And these are not even all of those reported within the last 45 days.  Funny, I don't see the word "core" in any of these strategies.  From this can we infer that the gush of money that was only recently talking 'core, core, core' and 'safe, safe, safe' has sanctioned a more ambitious direction?  But, wait a minute, last I heard there were still substantial, make that huge, queues to get in to some of the large core open-end funds with some investors buying positions in those funds at a premium. So, I'm confused a little.  Maybe all this means is that there's a bunch of money flowing into commingled funds again, even with the outcries of wanting more control, separate accounts and club deals.  And, that there are more independent thinkers amongst the public pension funds particularly who may have decided that they've put enough money into core and now want/need to kick things up a notch.  Whatever is going on, it plays directly into my comments recently that there is change afoot and we are in the midst of it, right here, right now.

Cool find of the week:  presentationgym.  "We are passionate about practice, feedback and really exercising your skills so that you can deliver creative, authentic presentations which tell stories and win audiences over."  This is a terrific service which I intend to use myself.  Rather than ramble on about them I suggest you contact Clare Yang at ( to set up a "Presentation Checkup" and learn about how they can help.  

One more job-hunting tip:  "Don't send a form letter!  I get tons of them and nothing turns me off more than a form letter which is obviously going to a hundred or more similarly situated companies.  Personalize the letter, know about the company and why you are a (well-researched) particular fit for them, what it is about you that will ad value to their enterprise and why you are (likely to be) passionate about their business and their products.  Why you can "Make a Difference."  But, having said that...

There is a very interesting piece in the current issue of Knowledge@Wharton called "Hold That Password: The New Reality of Evaluating Job Applicants."  "...some employers have asked for direct access to the Facebook accounts -- including user names and passwords -- of people applying for jobs at their firms; the identity that individuals create in the world of social media is quickly becoming an important factor in hiring decisions and in people's broader professional lives...A 2011 survey found that 91% of recruiters reported using social networking sites to evaluate job applicants...the request for access to login information, however, raises serious legal questions. For one thing, Facebook has stated that sharing or solicitation of rights and responsibilities..."I worry that there is already a sense right now that our participation online may come back to haunt us," says an Internet attorney, "it inhibits our ability to express ourselves. If we can only express public relations-like statements, it takes away a good bit of the utility of the Internet. I think it would be a shame if we were to lose the playful aspect of this new technology." 

My two cents:  Sadly and pretty quickly we have lost the "playful nature of this new technology" (presumably social media).  We've all read about abuses and simply untrue postings and incriminating or phony photos of people.  There is nothing playful about that and given that the Internet is an open medium I believe it will only get worse.  The more open we think things are the more closed they really become.  (Please email me if you'd like a copy of the whole article).
Things beyond business:   Michael Giliberto is known to many in the industry.   As the co-creator of the Giliberto-Levy Commercial Mortgage Performance Index or as the now semi-retired former managing director at JPMorgan.  But some  know him as the lead guitar player in two, that's right two bands:  The Derivatives whose marketing tag line "....less than a legend, more than a garage band" who have been entertaining audiences in the greater NY/CT/PA area for more than 10 years with their classic rock and soul music and The Winston-Wolfe Band which plays rockin' blues. I've been trying to Michael's act for many years but my schedule never seems to jive with theirs.  But, one of these days....

Take Them Out to the Ballgame:  Here's a link to a good piece about how holding regular outings and get-togethers is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of building employee loyalty.  I got it from my long-time accountant and good friend, Jerry Shanker.

Just for fun:  Watch this video of the duet between Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.  She is terrific!

Congratulations to my friend Carl Schwartz who has joined the law firm of Hunton & Williams.  Carl is one of the leading real estate attorneys in New York and a class act.

On the road....
April 17-20:  New York for client meetings and other stuff
April 23-26:  Los Angeles to attend the PERE Global Investor Forum
May 14:  Please join me in the west coast celebration of the launch of my new consulting business, Solutions by Steve Felix.  It'll be in San Francisco at Blanc et Rouge Winte Bar, Two Embarcadero Center, 1st Floor.  I'll be there starting at 5:30pm and will stay with the last person standing!   
May 16-20:  North Palm Beach, Florida to attend the annual meeting of The Hoyt Fellows
May 22-25: London to attend the Annual IP Real Estate Investor Forum & Awards 
May 28-June 1:  New York to attend the IMN Opportunity & Private Real Estate Fund Investing Forum and client meetings
Sept 11-12:  Paris to attend the GRI Europe Summit

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