EDITOR'S LETTER: Carrying the torch

If fundraising were an Olympic event, which one would it most be like? Certainly not the 100 metres or even the 400 metres, given that it is no longer a fast and furious dash for cash anymore. Boxing? It is brutal and exhausting with the prospect of being either knocked out or taken the full distance. Perhaps wrestling– with potential investors over terms, that is. I prefer the decathlon – there are at least 10 disciplines one needs to score highly in, and the event is spread out over time.

The question arises not just because there are less than 100 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games, but because you will find in this issue our ranking of the 30 largest firms in private equity real estate, measured by how much they have raised over the past five years. Complete coverage begins on page 40.

It is a fascinating list, and one can spot not only the present-day Usain Bolts (hello, Blackstone), but also the occasional Mary Deckers of the industry – one-time record-breakers who have since suffered the equivalent of the track star’s fall at the 1984 Los Angeles games. By the way, we suggest you make a copy of the PERE 30 ranking, pin it to the wall and compared it with the list we publish in 2014. We guarantee there will be big changes.

Speaking of big changes, fundraising is often wrapped up in a certain amount of secrecy, partly because of SEC regulations affecting marketing of these vehicles. However, as Evelyn Lee reports on page 14, the game might be changing following passage of the JOBS Act. The statute, which already has been signed into law, could have profound implications for newer firms and established ones alike.

In addition, we chart two firms that are going through fundamental changes of their own. Oaktree Capital Management, not the most open of firms, went public last month via an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Beginning on page 6, we take a look at the firm’s profile in real estate and explain the backstory to a firm set to grow further still.

Plus, how about AIG for a remarkable comeback story? It wasn’t that long ago that the insurance giant nearly imploded, but now it is getting back into the real estate business. Someone once remarked to me that the problem with real estate is that no one ever dies – they get a second chance. Jonathan Brasse’s account of AIG, starting on page 8, for proof of that.

We like to think that PERE carries the Olympic torch for the private equity real estate industry and covers the athletes taking part. Private equity real estate may not be the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, but it certainly is entertaining stuff.