EDITOR'S LETTER: Light it up

I understand there was a certain amount of stumbling around in the dark at the Pension Real Estate Association’s spring conference in Boston last month when the block housing the Westin Copley Place hotel suffered a power outage. Organisers turned to candle power, apparently giving the event an almost séance-like quality.

No question, the organisers coped gracefully with the numerous disadvantages of no power, but we certainly hope for better luck when PERE rolls into Los Angeles this month for our Global Investor Forum on April 24 and 25. If you haven’t already done so, check out the line-up of speakers, which includes senior representatives from CalPERS, CalSTRS and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. We hope to see you there too.

Turning to this month’s issue, I think you will find there is a fair degree of illumination within these pages as well. On pages 12 and 13, we present a revealing interview with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing’s Olivier de Poulpiquet, who Jonathan Brasse caught up with in Hong Kong. The bank’s views on how the Volcker rule will affect their business should be noted.

Next, on page 19, James Comtois unveils new research that, for the first time, quantifies the shockingly small number of women in senior investment positions in this industry. Surely, this is a situation that will spark intense debate, and hopefully change, in the years to come. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the news section, you will find details of a four-year court case involving Lehman Brothers and GE Pension Trust that has only just been resolved and could have significant implications for troubled property owners in France, as well as an interview with former Oaktree Capital Management managing director Robert Zulkoski, who is aiming to create a rare – possibly unique – breed of private equity firm in Asia.

In the features section, I recommend a look at our feature interview with the real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System. Starting on page 34, Evelyn Lee gets the Canadian pension to discuss its plans for growth and international expansion, as well as why it prefers direct investments over funds.
In addition, for some light relief, turn to our coverage of the MIPIM conference in Cannes last month. Beginning on page 41, Jonathan Brasse and I review some of the bright spots from the event, as well as a few humorous moments.

Last but not least, we present our annual European roundtable from page 50 onwards. Four market players met at RREEF Real Estate’s offices in London just one day before Deutsche Bank announced it was in exclusive talks with Guggenheim Partners. As you can imagine, it was a lively discussion.

Enjoy the issue,

Robin Marriott
Editor, PERE