Corporate overview

DTZ Investors (DTZI) is a specialist asset manager with a 50-year track record of creating value for clients across global real estate markets. DTZI manages €15bn ($17bn) of assets for a range of high-profile institutional investor clients. With a team of over 100 personnel in its main offices in London, Paris, Tokyo and New York.

DTZI offers multiple real estate investment solutions for clients, including commingled funds, separate accounts, club-deals and fund- of-funds. We have allocated €5bn debt and equity capital to markets in the last five years in a range of core, value-add and opportunistic strategies.

Investment principles & strategy

DTZI generates long-term superior returns for clients by customising an integrated service that marries their investment objectives with a detailed knowledge of real estate markets and the value-creation process. Our approach relies on five key beliefs:

Capital is global, real estate is local – All our strategies are tailored to meet a client’s investment needs. Clients rely on us having a firm understanding of their risk parameters and their return objectives, and an in-depth, street-by-street appreciation of markets to find assets that best suit their needs.

Only take controllable risks – We have strong processes to identify, price and manage risk. We assess returns at an asset level and balance risk at the portfolio level. We avoid location and credit risk and take on leasing and obsolescence risk that can be priced and managed.

Persistence pays – Strong processes and detailed due diligence avoid mistakes, secure value and ensure liquidity in portfolios. We marry strong processes with a two-stage governance process that assesses price and risk on all transactions.

Create value through active management – We operate vertically integrated teams that understand building design, occupier need and asset potential to engineer value. We marry this with a deep knowledge of the capital markets to determine how best to finance value creation.

Sell well – A strong sell-discipline is essential in understanding when an asset’s place is no longer justified in a portfolio. Through a combination of investment process and governance, we constantly review our sales process to crystallise returns or mitigate risks.

Sector forecasts

In the short term, the current global health crisis, and the response of governments, policymakers and business, will dominate the fortunes of real estate markets. However, we believe four key forces will have the greatest impact on real estate demand, and hence returns, in the mid term: demographics; technology; trade; and responsible investment. We see their influence across the main sectors in Europe as follows:

INDUSTRIAL:

  • Increased growth in e-commerce, continued demand from occupiers needing short-term storage solutions during the pandemic and the potential onshoring of supply chains to support the demand for industrial space.
  • Ultra-low levels of availability across most European markets will underpin rental growth potential, with the strongest increases expected in locations where supply constraints are more severe.
  • The polarisation in pricing will continue due to tighter financing conditions and growing risk aversion, with prime logistics yields seeing further yield compression. Focus on final-kilometre destinations for smaller units/light industrial markets.

OFFICE:

  • Office demand will significantly decline in 2020, but low levels of vacancy, modest levels of development and above average pre-leasing activity should reduce the risk of a supply shock. Expect higher vacancy rates and increased incentives to result in a modest reduction in rental growth in the short term.
  • Increasingly discerning demand from occupiers for well-located, high- quality stock that aligns with health and well-being and corporate social responsibility goals will result in more polarised office performance. Focus on well connected, high-quality properties or office stock in the core CBDs that offer opportunities to refurbish space into prime stock.

RETAIL:

  • Expect the structural trends that were in play prior to the pandemic to be accelerated, including: further store closures, increased vacancy rates and continued rental value declines across many European markets.
  • Retailers will seek greater flexibility going forward, therefore expect shorter lease lengths linked to a turnover-based rent or a nominal base rent plus a turnover top up and more volatile performance for the sector.
  • A further softening in yields will create high yielding retail opportunities for investors in the short to medium term. Target segments that are less susceptible to e-retailing and have shown partial immunity to COVID -19 in order to access high income returns with less risk. Explore options to convert existing retail into alternative uses, where higher alternative use values make it economically viable.

LIVING:

  • Residential and multi-family strategies expected to offer stable income and some prospect of income growth where demographics are compelling. European demographics favour investing in either end of the age spectrum. Occupational demand is greatest in the senior living sector due to Europe’s ageing population. Investors can benefit also from the more attractive long-dated income streams available.
  • Supply of high-quality, convenient and connected urban accommodation for the young is also very low in Europe’s major cities. Student accommodation and large-scale co-living opportunities are most in demand, although some resolution to the current health crisis will be essential to encourage more take-up from non-domestic student numbers.

ALTERNATIVES:

  • Continued demand from investors seeking portfolio diversification, higher returns or both, but investors should be willing to take more operational risk to earn better returns. Alternatives such as car parks and data centres, still favoured for their long-dated cashflows and operator credit quality. The prospects for hotels should be more appealing in the medium term once international tourism recovers.

Strategic corporate development

We continue to develop our business to meet the needs of our clients. Development comprises geographic platform expansion, service lines, sectors and investment products.

Our geographic focus remains on the 30 principal urban economic centres that dominate the European real estate markets. Our non-domestic clients, in particular, have a requirement for complex, bundled services on large scale assets in these markets.

We will continue to focus on real estate development, particularly in growth markets where technology is driving demand for a new type of real estate that is more flexible than current stock. This will extend our recent investment programmes in logistics and urban living. We will continue to partner with best-in-class operators in these markets where appropriate.

We expect the market dislocation caused by the current health crisis to create real opportunity for value-add investors who need an active manager to assemble portfolios of scale and manage to core over the mid-term. We will align our capital with such like-minded investors.

We are committed to reducing our own and our sector’s impact on the environment. We will continue to develop our responsible investment programme, working with agencies such as the UNPRI, GRESB and Better Buildings Partnership to deliver transparent improvements to our managed portfolios.

Performance verification

Our UK track record is benchmarked against the MSCI Index, which is considered the most reliable benchmark of direct property performance. The data are compliant with Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS).

In the UK we have an exceptional performance track record having won 15 prestigious IPD/MSCI performance awards since 2000. Our house performance has beaten the IPD/MSCI benchmark by 1.8%pa on average over the past 20 years to December 2019. In Continental Europe, we won the ‘Pierre d’Or’ as Best Asset Manager of the year and the European Pensions award for Best Asset Manager reflecting our work for a range of value-add strategies in offices, residential and logistics.

 

COMPLIANCE STATEMENT

DTZ Investors complies with applicable laws and regulations. The firm operates a Global Code of Ethics for its businesses that includes its investment and asset management operations. The Board establishes the compliance framework for its entities and is implemented by Senior Management. In addition, the Group Compliance Manager works to ensure compliance of the firm’s regulated activities and retains third-party auditors to monitor compliance.