Growing Demand for Asset Managers

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In the world of commercial real estate recruitment, we are frequently viewed as a barometer and overall indicator of broader economic conditions, based on recruitment activity which follows the bell curve. I am happy to report that we have experienced nearly a 100% increase in hiring searches in 2011 and 2012 as compared to 2010 and expect continued growth in 2013. In particular, we have seen a specific cycle that points to a sign of recovery – an increase in asset manager positions.

The first sign of economic recovery appeared with rumblings in the market in 2011. As the level of optimism increased, firms became excited about the prospect of getting back to making new deals. RETS had a number of clients seeking executive level talent to rebuild their acquisitions department.

Subsequently, the demand for acquisitions talent dropped off in late 2011 to early 2012, while an increase began in the development sector. Firms with development expertise began to see values exceeding replacement cost and the opportunity to develop new properties materialized in certain west coast markets. As a result, RETS was engaged in 22 recruitment development searches.

Looking forward to 2013, the demand for hiring in the development segment seems to have peaked. Firms that hired in 2011 or 2012 are managing larger portfolios or developing product which will be completed within the next few years, sighting the return of the asset manager.

As these companies expand, they are seeking asset management talent to carry out the improvement plans, work with brokers to lease-up space, increase operating efficiencies with the property manager and analyze the value of the new assets acquired or developed in the last two years. This trend comes with a sharp uptick in hiring that we have seen recently with 66 percent more projected asset manager searches in 1Q13 as compared to 1Q12.

Firms that are currently looking for asset manager talent cover the spectrum across public REITs, private REITs, pension fund advisors and private firms. Some have very specific needs in product type expertise or prefer relationships in targeted markets. Others look more closely at the type of firms including institutional or private. Whether you are an “up and comer” or an experienced veteran in asset management, now is an ideal time to look at new opportunities.

The next few months will be crucial as firms build up their asset management teams to accelerate growth opportunities and build portfolios. These trends signify increasing activity in the marketplace and more hiring – two immensely positive signs for our economy as a whole.

About the Author

Kent Elliott is a principal/co-founder of RETS, a recruiting firm specializing in the commercial real estate industry for interim, permanent and executive positions. Kent has over twenty years of recruiting and real estate experience. For more information on RETS, please visit www.retsusa.com.

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