Real Assets Adviser

September 1, 2019: Vol. 6, Number 8

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From the Current Issue

Digital platforms are opening doors to alternatives

During the past couple of decades, institutional investors have steadily added alternative investments — hedge funds, private equity, commodities, real assets, etc. — to their portfolios in an effort to reduce volatility from public securities, while increasing returns above fixed-income dividend levels. Instead of the traditional 60/40 split often found in private investment portfolios, institutions now typically divide their portfolios into many largely uncorrelated asset classes, with a large percentage targeting alternative investments. Large endowments, such as Yale and Harvard, have more than 50 percent of their allocations in alternative sectors.

Roundtable: Technology and investing

Technology is increasingly on the minds of investors as they do their best to get their arms around rapidly unfolding tech-related issues. Technology is evolving so quickly it is difficult to keep pace, let alone understand its implications for investors, or how to integrate it into critical processes.

Rise of the Sunbelt: Outsized commercial real estate investment opportunities can be found in the region

The ongoing and rapid growth in the U.S. Sunbelt has been an extraordinary boon to commercial real estate investors, says a new report from Clarion Partners. The Sunbelt — the region stretching across 18 states in the Southeast and Southwest, including seven of the 10 largest U.S. cities, as well as many midsize metropolitan statistical areas — now holds about 50 percent of the national population, and is expected to rise to about 55 percent by 2030. Over the past decade, the region accounted for 75 percent of total U.S. population growth.

Hotel projects by the thousands

The franchise companies leading the U.S. hotel construction pipeline are Marriott International with 1,469 projects (193,458 rooms), up 9 percent by projects and rooms year-over-year, according to Lodging Econometrics (LE), followed by Hilton Worldwide with 1,372 projects (152,853 rooms), a 3 percent increase over 2018, and InterContinental Hotels Group with has 962 projects (97,647 rooms), also up 3 percent by projects and rooms compared with the year past.

Measuring the impact of opportunity zones

A decade from now, how will we know if opportunity zones actually helped people? That question is on the minds of community leaders and investors nationwide, from Alabama to the corridors of power in Washington and across the pages of business journals. Even if new private investments flow to opportunity zones and result in significant positive impact for those communities, if we don’t measure it, we will never know for sure. The good news is we already have the tools to measure and analyze the impact of opportunity zone investments.

The real estate opportunities being created by esports

Esports is quickly becoming one of the buzzwords in the property sector with investors and developers both feeling this may be the next “big thing.” But what exactly is esports? What companies are behind it, and what are their ambitions? And what might their property requirements be — from large-scale venues to office space and a high street presence?

The evolution of alt investment custody: Lessons learned from the GPB Capital case

The evolution of alternative investment custody has come a long way, with custodians now serving as true partners and support to the industry. These custodians safeguard and record assets, produce necessary tax reporting and statements to individual investors and their financial intermediaries. In many cases, custodians also serve as administrators and facilitate transactions on behalf of their clients. In some cases, however, custody may turn into a significant cost obligation and even a risk factor for the alternative investment community.

Wind farms on spin cycle: More than 200 projects are under way across 33 states

U.S. wind farm development activity rose to a new high point in the second quarter of 2019, according to data released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Strong consumer demand from Fortune 500 businesses and utilities as well as calls from multiple states for offshore projects added to wind power’s growing development pipeline. At the same time, wind turbine manufacturers saw an increasing number of factory orders for more powerful wind turbines capable of powering almost twice the number of homes as an average wind turbine installed in the past few years.

Constructing a real assets portfolio: What private wealth experts have to say

Trillions of dollars have flowed into real asset in recent years and all indications are that trend is just starting to gain momentum. Witness institutional capital — the likes of pension funds, endowments, foundations and sovereign wealth funds — which, in less than 10 years, has grown the space by $20 trillion, with another $40 trillion expected to be placed in real assets in the decade ahead.

From drips to drones: Israeli agricultural innovation attracting international attention

More than five decades after pioneering water-saving drip irrigation systems, Israel continues to develop innovations that promise to drive the next agricultural revolution. While drip irrigation was born out of necessity, given Israel’s arid climate, the country’s latest innovations are addressing even more widespread problems, such as farm- labor shortages and bee cultivation that aims to boost bee populations and crop yields.

5 Questions: Trends in real estate asset management

The real estate industry has gone through monumental changes in recent decades, and the continued evolution of the business is only accelerating. One of the professionals sitting in the vortex is David Kasprzak, executive vice president and chief business development officer at Broadstone.

Real estate for video games

Real estate investors and developers looking for the next hot thing might consider esports, which require arena-like venues for professional video gamers to congregate by the hundreds or thousands. This rise of esports (as in “electronic sports” played using video games) has been huge. There are now leagues, tournaments and other professional-level competitions, and these have already attracted hundreds of millions of online viewers and participants around the world.

The parade to private credit

More investors have steered toward private debt in recent years, adding a new category to their asset mix. The asset class offers the potential for attractive yield and portfolio diversification as concerns about market turbulence, slowing growth and economic uncertainty rise.

The top five investment trends to watch in agricultural technology

The agricultural landscape has never looked more unpredictable — and deep changes may be on the way. Farmers have adopted new technology for generations, but the speed, depth and breadth of research and products hitting the market today is truly head-spinning. Dubbed “agtech,” the application of new breeding techniques, soil microbiome enhancements, and evermore precise field and climate data applications makes feeding a growing population on improved diets quite attainable. But this unfolds against the backdrop of a society with changing values on food production.

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