Publications

- June 1, 2021: Vol. 15, Number 6

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What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but nomenclature does matter

by Geoffrey Dohrmann

It’s pretty common to refer to institutional investors these days as “LPs” or “limited partners”, and to investment managers as “GPs” or “general partners”.

But while an investor can become a limited partner, and an investment manager can serve as a general partner, the terms are not synonymous.

A limited partnership, of course, is only one form of investment vehicle. Over the course of the history of the institutional real estate investment industry, closed-end and open-end fund vehicles have taken on many different forms. In fact, when I first entered the institutional real estate investment world in 1984, limited partnerships were so uncommon that the legal counsels of some corporate, public and Taft-Hartley pension funds in the United States refused to sign off on them during legal review.

In those early days, group trusts, insurance company separate accounts and bank trust accounts, as well as collective trusts and unit trusts, were the mo

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