Real Assets Adviser

January 1, 2024: Vol. 11, Number 1

$0.00 Add To Cart

From the Current Issue

Managing people: What is key for managers, and what is truly motivational to employees

Not everyone who reads this column is responsible for managing people, but at some time in your career, if not now, you may be called upon to do so. Ferdinand Fournies, the author of the book Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do and What To Do About It, points out that being promoted into a management role for the first time is akin to being knighted.

New nuclear projects remain a challenge for public power

Absent broader joint action, improved cost competitiveness and/or greater certainty of cost and delivery, most U.S. public power systems are unlikely to pursue new nuclear construction over the next few years, and those that do face the risk of weakened credit quality, Fitch Ratings says. The recent announcement by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and NuScale Power to terminate their Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) illustrates the challenges facing public power systems as they consider new nuclear construction.

High finance: How Alaska and JetBlue mergers could reshape the domestic airline business

Airline consolidation is not only relatively common but necessary for growth and competitiveness, and the recent announcement of Alaska Airlines’ planned acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines is a prime example of this trend. The move, valued at $1.9 billion, signifies more than just a business transaction. It represents a strategic positioning for future growth in a highly competitive, highly concentrated sector.

AI on the farm: Three ways artificial intelligence can help tackle the challenges of modern agriculture

For all the attention on flashy new artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, the challenges of regulating AI, and doomsday scenarios of super-intelligent machines, AI is a useful tool in many fields. In fact, it has enormous potential to benefit humanity. In agriculture, farmers are increasingly using AI-powered tools to tackle challenges that threaten human health, the environment and food security. Researchers forecast the market for these tools will reach $12 billion by 2032.

5 Questions: Real estate hangs in the balance for 2024

With some key macroeconomic forces gradually shifting, what can real estate investors anticipate in 2024? Principal Asset Management recently issued its annual Inside Real Estate forecast, offering its analysis of those and other issues. Among the report’s authors is Arthur Jones, senior director of real estate research and strategy at Principal Real Estate.

A bullish report: Goldman Sachs says it’s time to go long commodities

In a new report, Goldman Sachs makes the case that natural resources are poised to increase in value in 2024 on a potential end to the current monetary tightening cycle, shrinking recession fears, hedging against geopolitical risks and demand for “green energy” metals such as copper and aluminum, among other drivers.

Every state gets federal funding for broadband, but not all are ready

When the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed in late 2021, it included $42.5 billion for broadband internet access as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program. The program aims to ensure that broadband access is available throughout the country. This effort differs from previous federal broadband programs because it promised to allocate the funding to individual states and allow them to figure out the best way to distribute it.

IPO activity may be set for 2024 revival

The ecommerce fashion startup Shein filed to go public in November, fueling speculation the IPO market is set to heat up in early 2024, coinciding with an expected end to monetary tightening at the Federal Reserve.

The challenges and opportunities in senior housing

Senior living facilities took the brunt of the early COVID-19 pandemic. A fragile elderly population was no match for an aggressive novel virus. As a large percentage of residents succumbed to the virus, you had to wonder if the industry itself would succumb. After all, it’s hard to bounce back from headlines painting group homes and senior communities as death traps. It might be hard, but apparently it isn’t impossible, and new figures released by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC) indicate the senior housing market is doing just that.

Tax Update: Court ruling might mean higher taxes for fund managers

The Internal Revenue Service scored a significant win over the hedge-fund and asset-management industries in a case that could bring higher taxes for many fund managers. The U.S. Tax Court’s ruling could require managers to pay self-employment taxes of more than 3 percent on much of their income. If the opinion survives additional legal battles and is applied broadly, it will close off a popular technique that lets them exclude millions of dollars in income from self-employment taxes and related levies that others must pay. 

Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news

Charlie Munger, the late vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, quoted in Damn Right, his 2000 biography: “Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich. Not because I wanted Ferraris. I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it. I thought it was undignified to have to send invoices to other people. I don't know where I got that notion from, but I had it.”

Reshoring’s ripple effect has broad implications

As evidenced in dozens of announcements of upcoming projects over the past two years, the United States is on the cusp of a manufacturing investment supercycle. Poised for sustained growth well into the next decade, this renaissance is being driven by an increased focus on reshoring, the implications of which are reverberating through the commercial real estate market. As the nation pivots toward domestic manufacturing, a phenomenon known as the “ripple effect of reshoring” is gaining momentum.

A practical guide to impact investing: Case studies for how today’s institutional investors can change the world

Impact investing has boomed from only $25 billion in 2013 to more than $1.164 trillion in 2022, according to the Harvard Business Review and estimates from the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). What is impact investing? The term refers to investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return, according to Amit Bouri, the CEO of GIIN. Impact investing is more than just “screening out” or avoiding certain categories that might be considered taboo, such as fossil fuels or weapons manufacturing, but instead proactively investing in business strategies that make the world a better place.

The when and how of California’s floating wind

There’s been a rapid pace of offshore wind policy transformations in California since 2018, and the state is now at the precipice of constructing floating offshore wind farms in the Pacific. That is one of the takeaways from a panel discussion hosted by Reuters in September with industry and government leaders from the offshore wind sector.

Unlocking the potential of industrial outdoor storage

Industrial outdoor storage (IOS) is industrial-zoned land primarily used for the storage of trucks, trailers, vans, large equipment, containers and materials. The land can be improved by installing pavement, perimeter fencing and flood lighting. The defining factor of IOS, as compared with traditional enclosed industrial, is that the primary value is derived from the open, horizontal outdoor space, rather than a vertical building. This is reflected in the way IOS properties are rented on a per acre basis as opposed to per square foot. Any enclosed spaces on an IOS property serve ancillary purposes, such as truck maintenance and repair, loading and unloading, or back-office needs, and typically make up less than 20 percent of the property.

RIAs that have broken big on alternatives

There are few trends in private wealth that are more talked about than the so-called death of the traditional 60/40 stock-and-bond portfolio. The reason? Though the 60/40 has served investors well for decades, the historic bull market on Wall Street is believed to be running out of steam, and the bond market has been dragged down by interest rates far lower than historic rates, (though that has changed over the past couple of years with Fed rate hikes). Some industry observers suggest the 60/40 will be replaced by the emergence of more diversified portfolios containing a rich blend of alternatives and real assets. That could mean the 60/40 will be reformulated as a 50/30/20 or 40/30/30 portfolio.

Research Roundup: January 2024

State Street writes that the investment industry runs on data, and recent advances in data quality and access have built the industry to its current state. Further innovations in the aggregation and use of data will transform the investment business, it reasons in a report it published and titled, Capturing the data opportunity: Institutional investors in the age of AI. Read it here.

Regulation Update: Time to close DOL rule loopholes

The Department of Labor (DOL) is soon to release a rule proposal that is expected to strengthen protections for retirement savers who receive conflicted advice from their financial advisers. Due to loopholes in the DOL’s current rules, financial professionals and firms are free to put their own self-interest ahead of retirement investors’ interests. They may steer retirement savers into products, services or account types that maximize their own revenues but come with excessively high costs, poor performance, unnecessary risks or illiquidity, thereby undermining retirement savers’ financial security. Conflicts of interest among many advisers take a huge toll on the ability of millions of hardworking Americans to have a financially secure and dignified retirement.

Target allocations to real estate are flat for the first time since 2013

Amidst the backdrop of a tumultuous economy, rising interest rates and frozen transaction markets, institutional target allocations to real estate have remained flat for the first time in 10 years, at 10.8 percent, finds the 11th annual Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor, published by Hodes Weill & Associates and Cornell University’s Baker Program in Real Estate. Institutions have chosen to spend 2023 focused on managing their existing portfolios in an environment in which investors are waiting for valuations to find a bottom. While the survey finds that institutions expect to hold target allocations steady in 2024, investors believe the next few years will prove to be good vintage years to capitalize on expected dislocation and distress.

Forgot your username or password?