How to invest in uncertain times

INREV Annual Conference 2019, Venice

This April we welcomed over 450 senior industry players who gathered in Venice for the sought-after industry event of the year, the INREV Annual Conference 2019.

Over two days, a cautiously optimistic crowd discussed topics around the theme of ‘How to invest in uncertain times’, covering ESG, digitalisation and globalisation as the hottest topics on the agenda. The programme was delivered by an impressive speaker line-up from within the industry and beyond, sparking a flurry of provocative food-for-thought. Deliberations continued on into the numerous networking and social opportunities which also took place in the ‘City of Bridges’, enabling members to catch-up, mingle and enjoy the setting.

Greg Clark, longstanding INREV Annual Conference Moderator, began by posing some questions to the audience which among other things revealed that almost half of
the attendees were first timers to the annual conference, signaling a new wave of real estate professionals ready to engage with INREV and the wider non-listed community.


The opening keynote from Director of Oxford Economics Andrea Boltho began on a high note, giving an upbeat and energetic presentation on the global economic outlook taking attendees on a fast paced journey through the various economic events of the last century, slowing the pace to point out a rather tongue in cheek similarity between areas of the UK affected by the Mad Cow Disease epidemic and areas of the UK who voted pro-Brexit.

Technology is only going to accelerate the pace of change that is already occurring.

There was a definite underlying theme which seeped out of the various presentations and that was the sense of comradery, community, union and that together we can succeed and drive resilience.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Former Head of the Eurogroup, in his keynote address on day one on the state of the union expressed that Europe should stand and work together in educating politicians on the interconnectedness of our industry, while Ruud Veltenaar stressed that together we should do good, which aptly set the scene for the following panel to discuss the merits of impact investing. The panel discussed the various ways in which they invest with impact and unanimously concluded that the challenge still remains with a lack of knowledge and expertise along with a perceptual lack of measurement, concluding that establishing a framework for measurement is crucial, and adding that it is also important to manage the framework once it is established.

INREV Annual Conference 2019


Day one wrapped up on a high with the unveiling of the eagerly awaited Asset Level Index, the first pan-European quarterly index of this kind, with a total AUM of over €150 billion at launch, and a true industry game changer.

On day two of the Annual Conference, following on from an evening gala dinner hosted at the splendid Scuola Grande Della Misericordia di Venezia, a former religious institution in the Canneregio area of the city, attendees were welcomed with a keynote by Greystar CEO and Founder, Bob Faith (Read his interview piece in this edition). Andrea Carpenter, Founder of Women Talk Real Estate interviewed Faith, and the audience heard how in 1993 at just thirty years old, Faith established Greystar with a vision to perfect multi family housing as an asset class for institutional investors.

With the industry and indeed the general business landscape abuzz with talk of digitalisation, a debate on preparing for the new tech wave was a very timely topic and in ensuring business continuity, Richard Bloxam, Global CEO Capital Markets at JLL declared that we all have a responsibility to think forward, ensuring our businesses are resilient. Technology is only going to accelerate the pace of change that is already occurring, so we should arm ourselves for that.

INREV Annual Conference 2019

’65 IS THE NEW 45’

Building up to the conference close, we heard from Lynda Gratton on how and why we should prepare for the 100 year life. Gratton, author of ‘The 100 year life’ proclaiming ’65 is the new 45’, reminded attendees that since 1870, people have lived longer every year. This means that around the world, people have longer to live and this has many consequences for the way we will live in the years to come. Potential outcomes include the rise of the old entrepreneur, the restructure of the typical life cycle shifting from birth, education, work and retirement, to a much more flexible cycle encompassing lifelong learning, multiple career stages and different types of employment. Gratton also suggested that in the future, we may be able to split our retirement throughout the different stages of our lives.

INREV would like to extend a special thanks to all attendees for their positive contributions, Q&A and debate, and would like to extend further thanks to all sponsors who supported the event.

Annual Conference 2020

Join us on 22-23 April 2020 in Athens at the next INREV Annual Conference.

Look out for updates in the INREV news.