Viewpoints

R&I Report: Knowledge Workers Attempt to Make the Unknown Known

Posted on May 4, 2015 in Viewpoints by admin

“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.”
– Wernher von Braun

 

Unlike von Braun, real estate investors don’t build rockets, but the construction of a strong, safe, and successful real estate portfolio certainly calls for everyone to go beyond what they already know. The best research departments are instrumental to the success of real estate investment management firms because they constantly reach for knowledge that leads to better investment outcomes.

But with all their efforts so far, there is still quite a bit more we don’t know.

Research is now asked to provide more accurate, reliable intelligence quicker than ever before. Investors are demanding better forecasting and asking more in-depth questions. Foreign investors from Asia and the Middle East send mounds of questions that managers may have not considered, and even ask for data that firms are not currently organized to collect. Often, the responsibility for answering these questions falls squarely on the shoulders of research teams.

As meeting these expectations has become difficult, researchers are beginning to ask: Are we accessing the right information and analyzing it in the best possible way? What is a research function’s highest and best use within an investment management firm? How can research and the disciplines of research departments improve investment management as an industry?

While addressing those questions, the conversation during February’s NAREIM Research and Investment Management Meeting focused on ways to establish new approaches to data collection and analysis, without losing sight of the core information and metrics that investors have come to rely on.

(To read the full report, click here.)