Asset management in times of crisis – 3 steps we’ve taken so far
The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the real estate sector has been widely covered and documented over the past few months. As a European real estate investor and asset manager, we have remained focused on ensuring that our clients’ portfolios remain intact, and our pipeline stays on track. In these unprecedented times of crisis, we have had to change the way we operate as a business to keep ahead of the changes that the industry, and the world is facing.
This has meant significant focus on managing assets in our portfolio to ensure that we are working closely with our tenants and our investors through this difficult time.
As restrictions begin to ease and we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of steps towards a recovery, we wanted to share some insights on what we’ve been doing so far as a business:
1. Communication matters
From day one, what became clear was the importance of clear, decisive and regular communications. Pre-crisis, our asset management team would provide monthly or quarterly reports for our investors, which is a typical way of updating them on developments within the assets.
We shifted very quickly from monthly to weekly and in some cases daily reporting. This has meant that we can update our investors in as near real-time as possible and ensures that questions are answered, decisions are made, and the picture remains clear.
At a tenant level, we tried to take a much more strategic approach in how we work together and built out the teams to include not just asset managers but also the investment team. This has meant we can act quickly and provide them with the tools and information they need amidst the backdrop of volatile market conditions.
2. Tracking Covid-19 support relief
Government relief has been a critical aspect of managing the true impact of the Covid-19 on regional economies, and being a diversified European investor, it’s imperative that we track all guidance and support as it materialises. This means analyzing and interpreting support from governments in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Germany.
We took the decision to package this up and ensure that tenants are aware of the relief that is available to them, as often this isn’t that clear or is open to interpretation. This for many sectors has offered an important lifeline as businesses look to cope under times of market stress. By ensuring tenants are aware of what support is available to them has helped with our conversations.
3. Bolstering our ecosystem
The crisis has brought people together, and this couldn’t be truer than in real estate. Over the past few months, we’ve developed ultra-tight cooperation between all stakeholders. For example, our relationship with banking partners has been positive during this time, ensuring that financials are clear and easy to interpret so suitable action can be taken and planned for.
By keeping the dialogue open between all networks, we will have a much better chance of working through this period and ensuring we’re all in the best place when we start to see beyond the crisis.
We are confident that the steps we’ve taken have meant that our tenants and our investors fully understand the picture and that despite a significant impact on markets, a watertight and well-thought-out plan is in place.
As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, we are optimistic about the future of European real estate – as an asset class, it has proven resilient over the long term and can recover sharply.
While the crisis hasn’t changed our strategy as an investor, it has made us stronger in many respects and this will only be a positive for the future.