Friday, August 3, 2012

How to Raise Institutional Capital / Research Jobs? / "The Mentors"

"How do we get some of that there pension fund money?"  This question has been posed to me many, many times.  Often the source is a successful regional real estate company, with a great story and track record, but that has never raised institutional capital or at most for a one-off deal.  Some of these companies have hired me to conduct a unique training session, "How to Raise Institutional Capital-A One-Day Soup-to-Nuts Introduction."  When the day is over, my client's reaction sometimes resembles,"It can't possibly take that long to raise an institutional fund, could it?" or "Boy, I'm really going to have to make a considerable investment in our reporting, compliance and risk management capabilities."  And, sometimes, they decide, "It's not worth it."  But I remind them that all the successful real estate investment managers started in the same place, more or less, and perhaps it's only a question of patience (Warning:  Serious amount of patience required, learning to accept rejection, realizing that things will not go according to your timeline and how long it takes to develop trust to the point that an institutional investor, and/or their consultant, will endorse you).  However, once you are accepted 'in the club' you have to do something get yourself thrown out.  So, maybe it is worth it!

This leads to another thought about what I believe we're going to see more of:  managers going out of business or merging (if they can get past the money aspect of what they believe their firm and they are worth).  All this basically brings us to one word:  change is afoot.  Lots of it.  And with change comes possibilities; possibilities for our companies and for ourselves.  This is not a time to be faint of heart.  We are at an inflection point and we can seize the day....if we dare to.  

Notice:  The Association of Real Estate Research Professionals, a 1000+ member group on, wants to identify real estate research positions for their members.  If your firm is seeking someone with that experience (all levels) please let me know and I'll post it to the group.  Thanks.

My fall tour of university real estate programs is really coming together.  The title of my discussion with the students is, "Careers in Real Estate: Connecting the Dots." As I prepare, I'm going to use my own career as a starting point:  The job, The connecting of the dots (how I got the job) and what I learned there.  The learning part is technical learning but rather what I learned about people and about myself.  And, just like on the last college tour, I know we will all be learning from each other.  

People who are thinking:  In Asheville, NC visiting my son and his sons this week, we went to a place called "The Tree House:  A Cafe at Play."  It's a very cool idea and the only one in the U.S. (for now, anyway).  It's got an indoor treehouse and is chock full of educational toys.  In one section are a bunch of tables (the cafe) where parents (and their children if they must) can hang out, have a snack, work on their computer (shame on them), etc.  One of the very cool features is that you can order really good food that is "delivered" by a restaurant next door!  There are lot of other services that they offer like art classes, music classes and yoga for kids.  There's also a drop-off service (ages 12 months-8 years) for when a parent needs to leave their child for a bit and run some errands (or just needs some time for themselves!). Anyway, it's great to see people thinking differently and filling a need (for both the kids and their parents).  

Driving from my home in Napa Valley to southern California yesterday the diversity of the landscape allows this conclusion: each of us plays a part in the success of others.

Just as the farmer in Modesto needs workers to provide food for our tables, the analyst just beginning their career needs someone to provide guidance so they can provide food for their "table".  Each successive rung on the ladder has a similar characteristic to it.

As I continued the drive it became clearer to me that for our industry to grow there needs to be a forum for the knowledge and wisdom of a senior industry professional to be shared with younger professionals....tomorrow's industry leaders. 

So it is with great pride and excitement to announce that The Felix Consulting Group is launching an on-going series of regional events called, The Mentors.  This is something that has been on my 'to-launch' list for many years.  Stay tuned for the details. 

On the road....

Aug. 13-17:  New York for a client coaching session and meetings with prospective clients.

Sept. 3-7:  New York

Sept. 13:  Los Angeles to moderate the RCA Breakfast Briefing and introduction of their newest product.

Sept. 14:  San Francisco to moderate the RCA Breakfast Briefing and the introduction of their newest product.

Sept. 21:  Boston to moderate the RCA Breakfast Briefing and the introduction of their newest product. 

Sept. 6:  Ithaca, NY-Cornell University:  Careers in Real Estate-Connecting the Dots discussion with students and their advisors.
Sept. 18-19:  Chicago to attend the NAREIM H.R Council Meeting

Oct. 3-5:  Amsterdam for the launch of a very special industry event (Announcement coming next week). 

Oct. 14-16:  Chicago to attend the NAREIM Fall Executive meeting.

Oct. 14-16:  Chicago to attend the NAREIM Fall 

Oct. 17:  DePaul University:  Careers in Real Estate: Connecting the Dots 
discussion with students

Oct. 18:  University of Chicago/Booth:  Careers in Real Estate: Connecting the Dots discussion with students.

Oct. 19:  Chicago for meetings with prospective clients.

Oct. 22-24:  Los Angeles to attend the PREA conference

Oct. 31:  Seattle, WA-University of Washington-Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies-Careers in Real Estate: Connecting the Dots discussion with students and other meetings.

Nov. 7:  Washington, DC-Johns Hopkins University:  Careers in Real Estate: Connecting the Dots discussion with students

Nov. 8-9:  New York to attend and serve as chair at the PERE Forum

P.S.  Thanks to my long-time friend, Michael Kalmonson who acted as a sounding board for some parts of this week's column.

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