Real Assets Adviser

June 1, 2019: Vol. 6, Number 6

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From the Current Issue

Roundtable: Lessons lost on RIAs

Family offices, foundations and endowments have been teaching many lessons about effective investing, particularly with regard to alternatives and real assets. Unfortunately, many RIAs still are neither paying attention nor adopting the strategies that have profoundly enriched many family offices, endowments and other investing organizations.

Innovations for the built environment: MetaProp co-founders release book on the proptech space

A new book by Aaron Block and Zach Aarons attempts to develop an introduction to the real estate technology startup space. PropTech 101: Turning Chaos into Cash through Real Estate Innovation is part textbook, part manifesto, and it offers a comprehensive view of the sector. Block and Aarons established their real estate technology bona fides early on as co-founders of proptech venture capital firm MetaProp.

A short history of crowdfunding

While crowdfunding platforms got their start prior to 2009, they became popular in the aftermath of the recession as small and medium enterprises struggled to secure funding from professional investors. Since then, more than 1,000 crowdfunding platforms have been created for entrepreneurs, artists, innovators and community leaders to bring ideas to life. Among these platforms, there are a growing number dedicated to directing resources to infrastructure projects.

A spotlight on student housing

Student housing has been a hot niche property type for real estate investors, including for Brian Nelson, founder and president of NB Private Capital, a student housing investment company located in Orange County, Calif. Nelson has spent a lot of time considering what student housing investors and developers need take into account when committing capital to this specialized category.

Building investor exposure to infrastructure

Over the past 10 years, infrastructure investment has gained momentum among investors such as pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds, but to a certain extent, infrastructure investment has hit a crossroads. From one side, the global economy is crying out for more infrastructure investment, but governments still own much of their economic infrastructure directly and are struggling to grow the pipeline of investable infrastructure assets. On the other side, a large and growing number of investors are competing for exposure to a relatively small pool of non-government-owned core infrastructure assets. This has seen transaction multiples increase strongly over the past decade. There is a clear supply and demand imbalance.

Profiting from the cyborg revolution

What if I told you we may not be too far off from The Six Million Dollar Man? The truth is we are not, and you can profit from this cyborg revolution. Robotics is an exploding industry. It is expected more than $66 billion will be spent in the robotics sector by 2025. The medical industry in particular will change completely thanks to robotics.

Smaller, cheaper, safer: New generation of reactors seek to regain public trust

There is hope that a new breed of safer, less expensive fission reactors will help the nuclear energy sector mount a long overdue comeback in the United States, as well as other parts of the world, where some countries have curtailed or even abandoned their nuclear energy programs. With any luck, sodium-cooled fission reactors and other technologies — including the ability to reuse spent fuel — will get the public to regain their trust in the safety and viability of nuclear generating stations.

The culture code: SFA Partners CEO Clive Slovin has committed his organization to two core commitments — a platform rich in alternatives and an immutable company culture

A guidance counselor pointed out to a young Clive Slovin that testing showed an affinity with numbers and suggested that becoming an engineer or actuary might be a fruitful career path for a young man. Slovin, a native of South Africa, says he was always more interested in business than those other suggested fields, so he headed to university to study accounting and become a CPA. His reasoning: The best way to get an overall view of business was to gain a firm command of the numbers fundamental to business performance.

Shopping for office space at the mall: Also, urban transit prepares to go airborne

That traditional U.S. shopping malls are in their death throes is an old story. What’s more current is the various ways these geographically well-positioned structures are being repurposed. Increasingly, they are being turned into office space. Westside Pavilion, a dying mall in Los Angeles, is one example. Hudson Pacific Properties aims to spend $410 million to transform it into a 584,000-square-foot Google office complex by 2022. It will be dubbed One Westside. Hudson Pacific was looking for an urban site with big floor plates and exceptionally high ceilings to redevelop into what it called “state-of-the-art creative office space” for future tenants. The company also wanted a central location near mass transit and major highways, in one of the handful of West Coast cities where it usually builds. The Westside Pavilion had all the desired characteristics.

Crowdfunding for infrastructure: Getting financial and community buy-in is the future of the art

Successful infrastructure delivery requires community buy-in. That’s why governments and developers pour resources into public meetings and marketing material for new construction projects. When there is no buy-in, new projects can get delayed or stop all together from community opposition. And, with a growing gap between available funding and infrastructure needs, these outcomes are risky for any budget. To address this problem, project sponsors in the United States and around the world are tapping into crowdfunding to get literal buy-in, both social and financial, from residents and end-users.

Catastrophe bonds: An asset whose time has come

As bond investors know all too well, the world values capital less and less with each passing decade, perhaps due to the “global capital glut” famously assayed by Ben Bernanke in 2005, then-chairman of the Federal Reserve, and reiterated many times since.

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