Real Assets Adviser

November 1, 2018: Vol. 5, Number 10

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From the Current Issue

Scoring with the bank shot: Former collegiate athlete Mark Jordahl, head of private wealth at U.S. Bank, likes the odds found under his organization’s roof

An argument certainly can be made that private wealth is a numbers game. But the numbers that matter are not always simply assets under management garnered or returns generated by client portfolios. Consider another yardstick, such as access to a very large pool of ready candidates, especially if they are already inclined to do business with your organization.

Should they stay or should they go? This is not the time for investors to start shedding international stocks from their portfolios

A change in market climate in 2018 has weighed on foreign stocks. The escalating trade war between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, has created uncertainty. The U.S. dollar, after weakening throughout 2017 and into January of this year, has surged nearly 8 percent in value (as measured by the Dollar Index Spot) since Feb. 1, 2018, perhaps due to rising U.S. interest rates and stronger economic growth. Currencies of developing countries with large quantities of U.S. dollar-denominated debt (including Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia) have suffered sharp declines in value.

Lessons from history: Retail and industrial properties respond to never-ending change

Retail trade and the supply chains enabling it have existed since the dawn of human civilization. From the humble beginnings of storing food in village granaries and recording transactions on clay tokens, massive social and technological advancements throughout millennia have ultimately led to modern department stores, global supply chains, massive data centers, and same-day deliveries. Throughout these transformations, retail trade and the systems connected to it have both reflected society’s changes and been a driver of social and industrial development.

Cross-border capital finds more U.S. venues: What is driving increased competition for deals among offshore capital providers?

While many investors and economists scratch their heads and debate how long the recovery and expansion can last in the United States, global economic growth has accelerated after slowing from 2010–2016, according to the International Monetary Fund. As the U.S. commercial real estate market maintains strong fundamentals and solid returns, foreign capital continues to flow from many parts of the globe, including Canada, Europe and Asia.

Buddy, can you spare $100m? More than 800 real estate funds seeking capital

According to Institutional Real Estate, Inc.’s FundTracker database, 832 real estate investment funds are currently on offer. Thirty-five of those are closed-end funds launched in 2014 or earlier — about 8 percent of the total number of closed-end funds in the market. With the average closed-end fund reaching a final closing in about 19 months, give or take a few weeks — based on the most recent three-year rolling average — it is unlikely those 35 funds are actually being marketed actively. Although they have not officially reached a final close, most of the funds taking more than 44 months to close simply are not resonating with investors, and probably never will.

In the zone: At least 15 managers have announced capital-raising efforts around opportunity zones

A program created by tax reform could pave the way for a flurry of investment activity in struggling communities nationwide. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contained a provision that allows investors to defer or avoid taxes on capital gains if the money is reinvested in designated “opportunity zones.” The goal is to generate economic activity in areas that once thrived but have fallen on hard times. More than 8,700 areas in the United States have been certified by the Treasury Department as opportunity zones.

An app for the housing gap: Zillow — and a bevy of startups — aims to digitize home sales

These are Dickensian times in the U.S. housing market. Yes, the best and worst of times. Consider that more than half of Americans’ homes are worth about 8 percent more today than the 2007 peak just before the market crashed, and values are continuing to rise. Home prices rose about 8 percent over the past 12 months, and are expected to rise another 6 percent to 7 percent during the next 12-month stint. What’s more, the residential real estate market also finds itself on a far more solid foundation today, with home values rising because of limited inventory rather than demand created by easy credit.

Easing the tax burden: Conservation easements are a tax shelter worthy of consideration, though caution is essential

When President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, few Americans recognized the continuation and significance of conservation easements. Yet the Internal Revenue Service claimed “most syndicated easement donation transactions are patently abusive.” As financial advisers, one of the primary tenets we are taught is to propose investments that have income and appreciation potential, with tax benefits as a secondary consideration. Conservation easements, if done correctly, may disprove this statement by offering significant tax benefits to suitable investors.

Slip-sliding away: Global listed companies see performance dip in August

Global listed infrastructure companies, on average, were down 0.80 percent in August, but their long-term annualized total return is 11.8 percent. In comparison, global equities recorded 0.91 percent, according to the FTSE Global Equity Index, and 1.28 percent, according to the MSCI World Index, while global bonds were up 0.19 percent during the month.

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