EDITOR'S LETTER: Not your average Joe

In an interview in the third-ever issue of Private Equity Real Estate magazine in June 2005, Joseph Robert said, “Whoever turns over the most rocks wins at the end of the day.” That quote has always struck me as underplaying the man’s skills. After all, the founder of JE Robert Companies was much more than someone who just worked hard and did his homework.

Robert had a rare combination of genuine vision and the balls to make things happen. With his passing in December, the industry lost someone who led the way and also helped nurture some of today’s leading industry figures. In an extended tribute beginning on page 7, we speak to those that knew him and learn how his swashbuckling attitude was driven by an ambition to escape the lower middle class.

Then, if it isn’t too churlish, fast forward a couple of decades and note the juxtaposition on page 15 between JER today, whose chief executive Barden Gale left in December, and Artemis Real Estate Partners, which is staffed by former JER professionals and recently raised it first fund.

In fact, emerging managers are a slight theme in this issue between the Artemis story and the one on the Employees Retirement System and Teacher Retirement System of Texas fostering emerging real estate managers, which is located on page 13. In their own way, those pensions are turning over as many rocks as possible to find the Joe Roberts of tomorrow.

Then, starting on page 28, we speak to Jeff Jacobson, global CEO of LaSalle Investment Management. With $47.7 billion in assets in the US, Europe and Asia, the Chicago-based firm has proven to be a rock itself and just appointed Jon Zehner as head of global capital markets to further strengthen the franchise. Coincidentally, LaSalle is in the process of taking over the European business of JER.

Next, we get down to the mechanics of real estate. Beginning on page 34, Evelyn Lee takes a close look at the wave of new fund disclosure rules and what they mean for the industry, while James Comtois examines the role of brokers in private equity real estate, starting at page 37. Last but not least, Jonathan Brasse reports on the tricky business of valuing secondary real estate around the globe, beginning on page 40, and we hear from a pension fund and a GP on the importance of sustainability in real estate, starting on page 44.

With this issue, we would like to think we have turned over many rocks to bring you the latest trends in the private equity real estate industry. We hope Mr. Robert would approve.

Good luck and enjoy the issue,