Discussions with Senior Women in Private Real Estate Investing at Kayo Conference Series


By Radhika Cobb, Vice President, Real Assets

Last month, Kayo Conference Series held its Second Annual Women’s Real Estate Summit in Washington, DC. The event was another great opportunity to hear and share perspectives on private real estate opportunities and challenges faced by fellow senior women in the asset class.

Portfolio positioning in the current economic environment emerged as one of the more interesting themes discussed throughout the conference. There seemed to be general agreement that the current vintage of real estate funds would experience some sort of downturn over the life of the funds, thereby turning the focus to ways in which investors can appropriately position and prepare themselves for this possibility. Certain investors noted that they have accepted lower yields as a reality of today’s environment but acknowledged the importance of investing consistently across vintage years rather than attempting to time the market.

Perhaps given the widely-held belief that a recession is looming, other discussion topics included investment strategy tactics that focus on current income and downside protected positions as a means of defensive portfolio positioning. Certain property types, such as senior housing, were described as being “recession-resistant” in nature. Limited partners noted an enhanced focus on selecting managers with high levels of transparency, those that responded well during the GFC and those that could articulate their lessons learned from prior cycles. Additionally, legal professionals noted the importance of scrutinizing documents to ensure investor protection in various downside scenarios. 

The conference also facilitated important discussion around gender diversity in the asset class. Participants acknowledged that minority- and women-owned general partners represented too small a proportion of the institutional real estate investment space. Certain limited partners shared that they have actively sought out long-term relationships with not only minority- and women-owned firms, but, more broadly, firms that have strong representation of minorities and women in senior, decision-making roles. These LPs feel that, as investors, it is their duty to continually question and remind GPs of the importance of diversity in leadership positions.

 Overall, the conference was well attended by various institutional investors, general partners and service providers across the industry, bringing together an impressive group of female leaders in the real estate investment space. The environment was supportive, collaborative and welcoming, and the content informative. We look forward to attending again next year and continuing to support the Kayo Conference Series’ mission of uniting a community of women investors.

Private Markets and the Menace of Volatility
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