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 ($18bn) 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.
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, responsible investment and the value-creation process. Our approach relies on five key beliefs:
Act responsibly – We take responsibility for delivering on our clients’ return objectives within their risk parameters through a customised approach that marries global investment know-how with local market expertise. Our responsible investment philosophy combines environmental and wider societal benefits with financial returns that are assessed over the very long term.
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.
Generate 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.
The easing of Covid-19 restrictions has improved the outlook for the commercial property market, but market performance will remain uneven this year with greater returns expected for sectors with strong occupier and investor demand (industrial, residential, big-box retail and healthcare sectors) and modest returns expected from sectors exposed to structural headwinds (shopping centres and offices).
- Market fundamentals will remain compelling this year, enabling the sector to retain its position as a top performing sector. Occupier demand will be supported by a rebound in economic activity and the continued growth in online shopping and food delivery. Ultra-low levels of availability across most European markets will underpin rental growth potential, while strong investor appetite for industrial stock will lead to further yield compression.
- Both logistics and smaller multi-let industrial estates will deliver strong returns this year, but consider estates within final-kilometre destinations, these remain highly preferable to occupiers and should deliver more sustainable performance over time.
- Take up will improve from last year’s lows but net effective rents will remain under pressure this year due to higher vacancy rates, while the transition to more flexible working arrangements may limit the strength of the rental recovery over the next five years.
- Performance will polarise from both a quality and location standpoint in the short term. Well-located, high-quality assets that aligns with occupier’s health and well-being and corporate social responsibility goals will outperform the rest, whereas markets that are forecast to see a stronger bounce back in employment growth, such as Germany and the Netherlands, will witness a faster recovery in occupier demand. Well-connected high-quality assets and assets that can be repurposed into prime buildings within core European CBDs with a limited pipeline will outperform.
- The relaxation of lockdown restrictions, the easing of domestic travel restrictions and a rebound in economic activity should boost in-store retail sales in H2 2021. Nevertheless, structural changes will continue to dampen performance prospects. The share of online retail sales is expected to remain structurally higher than pre-COVID -19 levels limiting retailers’ profitability and their ability to pay higher rents. As a result, prime high street retail rents in the Euro-zone and the UK will see further declines this year and yields will continue to soften.
- Convenience-retail segments (out-of-town retail parks and supermarkets) will perform better in the current climate and will offer a more attractive risk-return trade-off for investors. Options to convert existing retail into alternative uses should be pursued, particularly where higher alternative use values make it economically viable.
- European demographics favour investing at each end of the age spectrum. The residential and multi-family sectors should offer stable income and some prospect of income growth where demographics are compelling, while Europe’s ageing population will support occupational demand in the senior living sector.
- The supply of high-quality, convenient and well-connected urban accommodation for the young is also low in Europe’s major cities. PBSA 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.
- 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 to 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 environ- ment. We will continue to develop our responsible investment programme, working with agencies such as the PRI, GRESB, IIGCC, TCFD and Better Buildings Partnership to deliver transparent improvements to our managed portfolios.
Our UK track record is benchmarked against the MSCI Index and is compliant with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS). In the UK we have an exceptional performance track record and have won 15 prestigious MSCI performance awards since 2000.
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.