Friday Letter You've chosen the finalists, now pick the winners

Final voting has started for the third annual Global PERE Awards. Will Blackstone retain its title as global firm of the year or will MGPA, LaSalle, Carlyle or Lone Star steal its thunder? The readers of PERE will now decide.  

Last year, Equity International founder Sam Zell and The Blackstone Group were voted the private equity real estate industry’s global figure and global firm of the year, respectively.

After the wildest 12 months in recent memory, it is time for the real estate industry to determine which people and firms stood steadiest amid the storm.

Final voting opens today for the third annual Global PERE Awards. More than 60 firms and individuals are positioning themselves to be crowned champions of the asset class.

Fighting for the prestigious Global Firm of the Year award are Blackstone, MGPA, LaSalle Investment Management, The Carlyle Group and Lone Star Funds.

And although Sam Zell didn’t make it into the final nominations for the 2008 Global PERE Awards, there are five other contenders hoping to fill his shoes, including MGPA’s Jim Quille, Blackstone’s John Gray, JER Companies’ Michael Pralle, Lone Star Funds’ John Grayken and even the head of the US Troubled Asset Relief Programme Neel Kashkari.

Who will win? Only YOU can decide by voting here:

Global firm of the year. Click here to vote in the global awards section.

North American firm of the year. Will JER beat competition from AREA Property Partners, Liquid Realty Partners, Starwood Capital and Morgan Stanley Real Estate? Click here for the North American awards.

European fundraise of the year. Who will take the honours away from ProLogis – Orion, Multi Corporation, Carlyle, MGPA or AREA? Click here for the European awards.

Asian exit of the year. Will Gaw Capital and Morgan Stanley’s Shama Luxe deal take first spot or will it be MGPA’s Ikebukero Tower sale, Hutchison Harbour Ring sale of The Center, Singapore, RREEF’s disposition of the Daewoo Securities property in Seoul or Trikona Capital’s sale of $156m in assets to Germany’s SachsenFonds Holdings? Click here for the Asian awards.

Who will be crowned firm of the year in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa? Click here to vote for the rest of the world.

The rules are simple: You may only vote once, you are not required to vote in all categories – only vote in the categories that are of interest to you – and you may not vote for yourself or your own firm.

Voting will close on 31 January, after which the results will be published simultaneously on and in the PERE magazine in March. Make sure you influence the outcome now.