Stephen explains how members’ input is integral to research.
Stephen joined INREV as Research Manager in October 2015 from investment consultants Mercer, where he worked for the previous ten years. He commutes to Amsterdam weekly from Dublin, but cycles to the office each day like a true Dutchman.
He likes the contrast with his previous position at a big multinational. ‘I really enjoy working in a close knit team with a researchdriven approach to solving practical problems facing the industry,’ he says. ‘I also appreciate the wide range of subjects that INREV research covers across the real estate spectrum, currently including topics like vehicle costs, liquidity and currency risk. I also relish the opportunity to present at conferences and to give lectures at academic institutions on INREV’s specialist areas of interest.’
As Research Manager Stephen works closely with the INREV Research Committee on market studies as well as having responsibility for a number of academic papers each year. This year he is writing one of the academic papers himself, on the subject of secondary trading in the non-listed sector, looking at how widespread it is and whether developments in this area are affecting allocations to the asset class. At the same time he is overseeing external papers on cost transparency in listed and non-listed real estate, and on the relationship between historic fund cash flows and risk.
He is also responsible for the annual Investor Intentions Survey. ‘This is a real blockbuster,’ he enthuses, ‘and like so much INREV research its success depends on the active participation of our members. So we are always trying to find new ways of making the survey easier to complete and speeding up the process. Any suggestions for improvements are always welcome.’
‘We are always happy to visit member organisations to give presentations.’
Projects like the one on secondary trading also depend on the participation of members. ‘I’d be very pleased to hear about any vehicles with useful trading data that we might have missed in the first round of the survey,’ he says. ‘In a similar vein, the research team always appreciate members coming forward to contribute to projects in the pipeline. For example, one of next year’s papers – on the role of real estate in defined contributions (DC) pension schemes – will need input from investors using real estate in their default investment strategies.’
‘INREV also relies on members to come up with ideas for research,’ he continues. ‘This is the best way to ensure that the research we do is as relevant as possible. We’d like to encourage members to put their names forward for the Research Committee, particularly from the product development side of the industry, although all are welcome, so please don’t be shy – even if you haven’t thought about doing this before.’
‘But most importantly I want to emphasise that INREV research is there to help members,’ Stephen insists. ‘For instance, we are always happy to visit member organisations to give presentations on aspects of the sector, either internally or at meetings with their clients. Members should feel that we are integral to their business.’
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