- July 1, 2021: Vol. 15, Number 7

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Defensive moves: Investors are engaged in a flight to safety. But the push for security could create its own risks

by Marek Handzel

We live in strange and unprecedented times. It is natural, therefore, for investors to target sectors and assets that provide high-certainty, low-volatility income streams. But is there a danger that many of today’s “safe” investments — by virtue of their very popularity — will become tomorrow’s risk-laden allocations?

When it comes to defining a safe investment, everyone has a slightly different opinion on what is truly defensive, says Paul Gibson, chief investment officer, EMEA direct real estate strategies, CBRE Global Investors. Nevertheless, there are some key components that no one can ignore.

Relative immunity from the economic cycle is one of those factors, says Tony Smedley, Heitman managing director and head of European private equity. “Importantly, structural barriers to supply and steady and predictable demand conditions are essential for real estate to be defensive,” he says. “Structural demand growth must be reinforced by durable supply

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