For the first time, in this edition, IQ spoke to one of its Young Professional members about how their career in non-listed real estate is progressing and the ways INREV is helping them to move forward. Mike Hasselgren joined NREP, the Nordic real estate investor and developer, in November 2020, as lead for financial reporting in their Reporting and Analytics team – his first job in the real estate industry.
‘My desire to join NREP came mainly from the qualities of the company rather than a wish to get into real estate per se,’ he explains. ‘As someone in the early stages of their career, I wanted to join a company that sees its employees as an important asset and invests in their development – not just as a promise but as the reality.’
‘But I’m also pleased to have entered the real estate industry,’ says Mike. ‘After all, real estate is important and relevant to us all, given that everyone needs a place to live and we spend around 90% of our lives in buildings. Another thing that attracted me to NREP was its early involvement with sustainability - even before it was mainstream. This very much aligns with my own values. I want to know my work has a positive impact on society around me.’
After all, real estate is important and relevant to us all, given that everyone needs a place to live and we spend around 90% of our lives in buildings
One of the responsibilities of his role is to ensure NREP’s regulatory compliance with INREV’s reporting guidelines. This involves preparing reports for investors such as the INREV Standard Data Delivery Sheet (SDDS) as well as a performance track record at both fund and asset level.
An awareness of the value of such standards comes partly from his prior role in the finance team at one of Europe’s largest pension funds, ATP. ‘We invested in all kinds of alternative investments with different structures and setups,’ he explains. ‘That means I have worked with a number of fund managers and seen a lot of different reporting and standards. The insights I gained there as an investor have proved to be valuable since joining NREP.’
Data quality is king – it’s all about how you use and present the data so as to create maximum value for the end user
As an ambition for his current role, Mike says that first and foremost he wants to make NREP’s reporting as useful as it can be – by combining financial, non-financial (ESG) and benchmarking in one place. ‘The key is having efficient reporting processes based on an optimal data structure,’ he proposes. ‘But that doesn’t mean that data is king and the more you have, the better. Instead I’d say that data quality is king – it’s all about how you use and present the data so as to create maximum value for the end user.’
He believes this as an area where INREV has a major role to play. ‘I see it as an essential link in effective reporting for both managers and investors. It’s a huge benefit having a reporting framework and a standard that everyone accepts. I’m too young to remember the time before INREV, but from my previous job I know that working with different standards and definitions makes it difficult for investors to compare their investments .’
‘INREV is also a trusted partner to which we can contribute our own data and receive industry-wide data and analysis across Europe,’ he continues. ‘In addition, it encourages us to reach out if we have any ideas for improving the Guidelines or generally clarifying issues. Another really important benefit from my viewpoint is the training INREV provides to employees of its member firms. This has proved invaluable to me in my day-to-day role at NREP and I believe will help me be successful there.’
‘So far I have joined four INREV training courses including the foundation course, and plan to join two more this year. I’ve been surprised how well the online courses have worked. It’s not just what the courses teach you but also the chance to discuss questions with the experts who teach at the courses as well as with fellow students from other companies. Going forward, I’m planning to take the INREV/Henley Certificate for Corporate Finance as well.’
‘I’m also excited about the opportunity to take part in some face-to-face INREV events in the near future,’ Mike continues. ‘Having joined the industry during the COVID-19 period, all events and networking have so far been online. I have to admit I haven’t been prioritising this aspect of INREV membership as much as I intend to in future, but when events return to the physical space and we can network in person, I’m really looking forward to meeting up with other young professionals in different locations across Europe.’
Talented newcomers need to see how they can create value for the company they are joining, but also how they themselves can benefit through their own personal and professional development
‘Still, I’m already recommending others at a similar stage at their careers to take advantage of INREV membership if it’s available to them, for the training, the data and the way that it encourages best practice in the industry. Real estate is very different from other investments, so it makes sense to harness the learning opportunities that are on offer. I also believe that the more people who can share in the same knowledge and understanding, the better it will be for the whole industry.’
Mike is clearly enthusiastic about joining the real estate business, but how can other firms attract talented new entrants? ‘I think it’s important for them to realise that people’s priorities vary, even among younger professionals, so one size definitely doesn’t fit all. Some – particularly those with a young family, like myself, may value greater flexibility – but the most crucial thing is to recognise younger generations’ desire to focus on their own development, performance and results. Talented newcomers need to see how they can create value for the company they are joining, but also how they themselves can benefit through their own personal and professional development .’
INREV/ Henley Certificate in non-listed real estate investments
Did you know that INREV, together with the Henley Business School offer the only academically accredited certification in non-listed real estate - The INREV/Henley Certificate in non-listed real estate investments?
And, the exciting news is, if you have taken an INREV course recently you could already be on your way to achieving this certificate. Add further rigour to your professional development and enrol today. Find out more here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org