Friday, August 17, 2012

Reinventing Your Life / Raising Institutional Capital / Dutch-U.S. Real Estate Trade Mission

"We've got a number of investors who are not only interested in our fund but tell us they've "recommended" us to their investment committee.  Then why is it taking so darn long for them to sign the subscription agreement?"  Something similar has come up in multiple conversations I've had recently.  "To us, they're either in or out."  This pragmatic statement came from another fund manager that I had breakfast with only this morning.

"We seem to be at a natural pause," a good friend said over coffee the other day.  "We're always looking forward to this or that landmark event, hoping that things will change dramatically after, for example, an election. But I believe we have been disappointed that this has not happened in recent history."

Even though this week's industry news mentions a number of fund closings, the talk is more and more about institutional investors thinking that a commingled fund is not their first choice anymore.  If that is true, and I believe it is, there may be more opportunities for solid, regional real estate operators to tap into institutional capital in more ways than they have before, which has typically been on a deal by deal basis.  Some of these regional operators have spoken with me about "How do we get some of that there pension fund money?"  The help I offer them is in the form of my one-day, soup-to-nuts session on "How to Raise Institutional Capital."  It's really to get people to understand what it takes to be seen as an institutional real estate fiduciary and also what to expect when going out to market your first fund.  

But what about the more well-established investment advisers?  "It's not easy but we are raising money.  Although, as a large firm, with a lot of mouths to feed, we need to have multiple products in the market at the same time."   We, as an industry, are clearly at an inflection point and, in the end, we should probably give up on things returning, at least in our lifetimes,  to what they were during the last go-go cycle (even though CMBS is coming back it is not the savior).  But, as I have planned, and fully expect to be around until 2068, it'll be interesting to see if I'm right.

Reinventing Your Life is the title of a great book that I'm pretty sure has been mentioned on this page before.  Having read it a couple of times, I've learned a lot and been successful, to some degree, in making some changes to myself that have benefited both myself and those close to me.  There are other things, deeply ingrained things, that are much more difficult to change.  When you read this book you'll get what I'm talking about. 

As some of you know, and others have read between the lines, my life is I've moved from Napa Valley to New York to start the next chapter.  There are multiple reasons behind the move, not the least of which is that New York is the capital of the commercial real estate industry.  Also, a number of my existing (11) clients are based there and because of my deep roots in the New York area, the potential for new business is considerable.

New York is also closer to Europe than California (Duh!) and I will be spending more time across the pond, something I'm looking forward to.

My first Europe trip this fall will be for my own Dutch-U.S. Real Estate Trade Mission in Amsterdam on Oct. 3-5.  Announced here last week it seems to have struck a nerve as we've had some sincere interest in attending this invitation-only event.  Stay tuned.

Later in October, I'll be back in Amsterdam again to attend and moderate a cool panel at PERE's Global Investor Forum.  

What else is new?  Early this week I shook hands (where I'm headed I don't need contracts!) on a brand new, broadcast-quality and digitally-delivered monthly interview series that I've wanted to do for a long time.  It's part of my personal commitment to advancing mentorship in the industry and providing events, tools and content to help younger people learn, grow and connect.  More details on this next week.

So, like you guys, this summer has been a busy time for me, although I'm starting to sense that people are checking out for the end of the summer holidays.  Yes, my personal life is changing but it is fairly clear that it's for the good of all involved.  That doesn't mean it's easy but at least I'm not second-guessing myself.

Song of the week:  Make A Plan To Love Me

Best donuts in a long time:  Mission Donuts, Laguna Niguel, CA (go very early).  

Congratulations:  Skip Miller on joining New York Common Fund as Director of Real Estate Investing.

Quote of the week:  When one door of happiness closes, another opens but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

On the road...

Aug. 20-Sept. 5:  New York which is my new home base.
Sept. 6: Ithaca, NY-Cornell University:  Careers in Real Estate:  Connecting the Dots discussion with students.
Sept. 13:  Los Angeles to moderate the Real Capital Analytics (RCA) breakfast briefing.
Sept. 14:  San Francisco to moderate the RCA breakfast briefing.
Sept. 17-19:  New York
Sept. 21:  Boston to moderate the RCA breakfast briefing.
Sept. 25-28:  New York
Oct. 3-5:  Amsterdam for the first Dutch-U.S. Real Estate Trade Mission (Invitation only).
Oct. 8-12:  New York
Oct. 14-16:  Chicago to attend the NAREIM Fall Executive Meeting.
Oct. 17:  Chicago-DePaul University: Careers in Real Estate:  Connecting the Dots discussion with students.
Oct. 18:  Chicago-University of Chicago: Careers in Real Estate:  Connecting the Dots discussion with students.
Oct. 19:  Still in Chicago for client and prospective client meetings.
Oct. 22-24:  Los Angeles to attend the PREA conference.
Oct. 25-26:  Amsterdam to attend and moderate a panel at the PERE Global Investor Forum
Nov. 5-6:  New York
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 chair the PERE Forum.
Jan. 23-25, 2013:  Laguna Beach, CA (Montage Hotel) to attend the 10th Annual IMN Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing.

Music News: Our New CD, "Wait for Me" is now available on iTunes (search 'felix wait for me').  Thanks.

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