Real Assets Adviser

April 1, 2022: Vol. 9, Number 4

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From the Current Issue

The ‘big short’: What do shorter-term office leases mean and will they last?

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, office lease terms have shortened as tenants sought more flexibility while rejiggering their workforce structures and feeling out their long-term office space needs. If shorter leases are a lasting trend, that could mean more cash flow volatility for office owners, as well as greater concessions and capital costs that come with greater tenant churn.

Profile: Erika Cramer, investment banker turned venture capitalist is betting women entrepreneurs can close the ‘equity gap’

This business startup didn’t take formation on the back of a napkin, it happened in the Picco Restaurant parking lot in Larkspur, Calif., in the bucket seats of Erika Cramer’s 2015 Audi A3 blue convertible. Cramer had just had dinner with Julie Castro Abrams, founder of the organization How Women Lead, and the two ladies would sit for another full hour discussing the concept of a gender-lens-focused venture capital firm.

Report card on private equity: Fast expanding PE funds eye venture capital and real asset opportunities

The irritating reality for investors in 2022: The financial world offers safe yields below the rate of inflation. Predictably, investors hunt for real returns, and they are turning from the transparent and richly priced public markets to private equity funds. But stalking riches in an environment of scant returns, the private equity funds also must edge out further on the branch of risk, chasing venture capital type plays, or ever more leveraged or exotic hard asset and property plays.

Philanthropy from the top: The ultra-wealthy account for 36% of global giving by individuals

While the world continues to grapple with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, philanthropic giving by the ultra-wealthy continues to expand for many nonprofit and education organizations’ fundraising departments. Indeed, global philanthropy and the major role played by the ultra-wealthy is manifest — as are society’s growing expectations of this group’s responsibilities, given rising inequality and surging UHNW wealth, even during the global pandemic.

Investing in cybersecurity in the age of ransomware

The need for cybersecurity has exponentially increased over the years, with the pandemic-driven transition to a work-from-home environment accelerating the trend. With this increased focus on cybersecurity comes opportunity for investment in companies with solid fundamentals in this industry.

Hyperloop goes back burner: Dallas-Fort Worth transit corridor focusing on high-speed rail

The Regional Transportation Council is still dead set on establishing an Interstate 30 corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth for high-speed transportation, but it has decided the futuristic hyperloop of Elon Musk’s dreams will not be the mode of transport. Rather, it will concentrate its efforts strictly on a high-speed rail system capable of operating at 250 miles per hour.

The future of family wealth: Success for multifamily offices will revolve around five key factors

The family wealth community in North America has been on a roll for some time now. The client-centric model that took hold in the 1980s with the advent of fee-only financial planning has spread like wildfire to encompass the entire food chain, from single family offices advising billionaires, multifamily offices advising “mid-market” families of tens to hundreds of millions, and financial advisers advising millionaires. The ecosystem of family wealth includes tens of trillions of assets from more than 100,000 North American private households, yet it is served by only several thousand firms at most. It remains a highly fragmented and confusing landscape, with no one provider approaching a 10 percent market share.

Lighting the fuse: A nuclear fusion record is broken, but power generation still far off

Scientists at a nuclear fusion lab in the United Kingdom just broke the world record for the amount of energy produced in a single fusion reaction. Scientists first demonstrated the ability to fuse two atoms in lab experiments in the 1930s. Nuclear science has come a long way since then, but still has not managed to harness the energy produced by nuclear fusion to generate electricity.

Cryptocurrencies continue to mature, as hedge funds bet big on the digital asset

An executive order signed by President Biden is directing his administration to review the government’s approach to cryptocurrencies, with the intent of ensuring the United States continues to play a leading role in the fast-growing $1.85 trillion business — while also protecting consumers from fraud and the overall U.S. financial system itself instability.

The serendipity that is lost in hybrid offices

The hybrid workplace is failing to live up to expectations in a number of ways, according to some observers. By one estimate, spending an average of three days each week in the office can limit encounters between any two workers by 64 percent compared with pre-pandemic norms. The gap widens to 84 percent in potential interactions for those in the office two days a week.

After a years-long surge in campus construction, universities find themselves overbuilt and are looking to retrench

The cumulative capacity of American colleges grew by 26 percent between fiscal years 2009 and 2019, according to federal data compiled for a report released this past year by EY-Parthenon, a consulting company, while enrollment increased by only 3 percent. Meanwhile, the annual cost to colleges of carrying the resulting 3 million to 5 million excess seats, and extra personnel, the report’s authors write, could be as high as $50 billion.

Where the world’s ultra-wealthy reside

New data from this year’s Wealth Report by Knight Frank shows that the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) grew 9.3 percent between 2020 and 2021. Nearly all regions saw an increase during the time period. UHNWIs are defined as having net assets of $30 million or more, including their primary residence.

Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news

Michael Chobanian, founder of Kuna, a popular Ukrainian crypto exchange: “We don’t trust the government. We don’t trust the banking system. We don’t trust the local currency. The majority of people have nothing else to choose apart from crypto.”

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