- May 2012: Vol. 24 No. 5

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What’s in a Name? It Does Matter What You Call Yourself

by Geoffrey Dohrmann

I’m not sure the folks who are trying to push the idea that real estate investing is really a part of private equity investing are doing a good thing — at least, not if their intention is to position real estate investing as a subset of private equity investing.

If you look at the options that comprise the four quadrants of the real estate capital markets, then I have no problem. When thinking in that context, it’s clear that “private equity” is one of the four quadrants, the others being “public equity,” “private debt” and “public debt.” But in each case what you’re doing is accessing real estate through one of four basic financial structures. The asset that you’re accessing, however, in each case, is a real asset. In this case, it’s more akin in investment characteristics to investing in any other real asset, be it infrastructure, agricultural land or timberland. The value of the asset ultimately is derived from the nature of the contract that re

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