EUROPE NEWS: Customizing cross-border investing

Delancey and Sandaire, an international family office with a presence in Singapore, have together opened a real estate advisory business targeting Asian investors and family offices. Named Mount Kendal, the business will provide UK real estate investment advice across a myriad of multi-sector, single-asset or portfolio investments. Delancey chairman Jamie Ritblat explains how he expects the nascent business to develop.

How did the idea for Mount Kendal originate?

Jamie Ritblat: We have known Sandaire for quite some time. We have done various bits and pieces together, and out of these experiences and conversations, we developed a sense that there was a window in the market. The idea is to try to create a business that provides a slightly more bespoke and private service to investors who are interested in UK/European real estate, which was perhaps more proprietary in the way in which the advice was considered.

It’s different to what we currently do. Over the last 22 years, the Delancey team has provided real estate advisory services, including origination and execution of transactions, disposals, development and asset management, legal support and treasury support for a number of discretionary client funds. Each fund comprised multiple institutional and family office investors that committed to a fund structure, terms and strategy at the outset. Through Mount Kendal, family offices and high-net-worth investors [now have] the ability … to individually decide which services to utilize with an associated customized fee structure. The intention is therefore not to scale the business by performing multiple advisory mandates or indeed providing a one-size-fits-all client solution, but to provide the most appropriate solution for each client.

Who will be working on the business?

JR: It’s a combination of Delancey and Sandaire, but because it’s a real estate advisory piece, it’s led by the Delancey team when it comes to the advisory work. But when it comes to financial services, for example, or structuring, that is where Sandaire would also play a part. It is collaborative, with each partner being able to offer their expertise and experience where the client would want advice. As it grows, it will hopefully develop its own team and its own resources, and be built in to its own proposition as it matures. As we grow Mount Kendal, it will need its own internalized resources, and we are anticipating that, but we are not going to put that in place until we are sure our assessment of the market is correct. But it does have dedicated people within Delancey focused on it; that is important.

Where in Asia is the appetite for UK real estate coming from and why?

JR: I think it’s across the board – a lot of family office and family related money, as well as some institutional capital. I wouldn’t weight it towards any particular country in Asia at the moment. We are seeing inbound calls and having conversations all across the piece. As to why, I think you have a combination. You have diversification, capital preservation, some generational shift, so I think it is a mixture of the three. It’s not inconsistent with the market and these seem like very logical flows of capital.

What are the most sought-after investments for this capital?

JR: In terms of what type of product these investors are looking for, we are seeing interest across the risk spectrum, primarily focused on the office, residential and logistics sectors. There is a little bit more willingness to take risk than there has been, which is perhaps not surprising in light of other things going on around the world, with some Asian investors buying into development opportunities, for instance.

It’s definitely more London-centric at the moment. It’s a matter of experience and confidence in the markets, and London is clearly the biggest and most liquid, with the most international appeal. If you are looking at it from overseas, you see the similarities with the other major cities and you can take confidence from that. In time – and this is where I think the business has the potential to guide clients – there may be the opportunity to explore investments in other parts of the UK and Europe, as people gain confidence and a better understanding of the markets.