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Sunday, 14th April 2024
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Supply and pricing of debt the big issue now Back  
Peter Collins is a Director of Bank of Ireland Private Banking and heads its 25-strong real estate and private equity group. Collins is happy to be dealing in a market where property is ‘re-pricing to a level that is beginning to make a lot of sense again.’
7.00 Out of bed. The advantage of living close to our Mespil Road office is that I can sleep in (by Dublin standards!) and still beat the traffic. Quick breakfast and then a five minute drive to the office.

7.40 Arrive in the office and scan the newspapers - Harrington didn’t win, Prince lost his job in Citibank and they wrote off a ton of money. The latter will cause us more problems.

8.00 Monday is a ‘non travel’ day in our business and we try to get all our weekly meetings done during the day, hence it tends to be hectic. We have a busy investment committee later in the day to review three potential acquisitions and I use this time to complete a review of the papers, with some additional information being circulated over the weekend by the acquisition group.

9.00 Enda Bracken, our head of Asset Management, drops by with Paul McKee, a new recruit to our business and we chat about his immediate priorities. Paul brings a lot of retail expertise to our asset management team. As we have bought over €1 billion of shopping centres in Europe in the last 18 months, Enda is really glad to have him on board.
Peter Collins

9.15 Drop into Mark Cunningham (managing director of the business). We discuss the weekend’s events with Citibank and the continuing deluge of bad news from the financial markets. We agree to discuss the likely effect on our investment plans later in the morning.

9.30 Sit in on the Asset Management team’s weekly meeting. Listening to the property-by-property update is the best way to keep up to speed on the issues we have in the portfolio. It’s a busy agenda, with a number of property sales and re-financings in progress. We also signed Heads of Terms last week on a major lease in a property we are co-developing in the UK. With the British leasing market likely to slow down earlier than investors’ think as a result of the credit crisis, we are delighted to get this deal lined up. The other notable event last week was the official opening of a European shopping centre we manage on behalf of a client. The opening went well with a big attendance from the local retail and property industries. Footfall in the first few days of trading have exceeded expectation, but it’s still early days.

10.30 Join a meeting with Mark and two fellow client management directors to discuss the state of the markets and the effect it will have on our current product strategy. We continue to see real long-term value in equities and believe that property is re-pricing to a level that is beginning to make a lot of sense again. We have a very active new product programme over the next few months and while markets are volatile we conclude that the long term fundamentals remain sound and we should keep going ‘to plan’ .

11.45 Slightly late joining our weekly team meeting. With staff based in Dublin, London and Brussels, and most people travelling regularly, this is the once-a-week catch up for everyone on the key things going on in our acquisitions, asset management and finance areas. We rotate the chairperson so everyone gets an opportunity to run the meeting. It’s interesting to note the different styles and what different people focus on, but the format works well. We run through all the main projects and get a brief update.

12.30 Our senior group stay on after the weekly meeting and we agree priorities for the week, especially on the current deal pipeline, timing and the allocation of staff resources to each deal.

13.15 Lunch at the desk today; clear out a few e-mails and prepare for our investment committee at 14.15.

14.15 We have three deals at investment committee, all at varying stages. Most time is spent reviewing the detailed underwriting of a shopping centre we are looking at in Italy. As usual in these southern European markets, the lack of reliable information is one of the big challenges. The deal gets a qualified approval subject to a lot of further verification around rent levels and the trading performance of the centre since it opened. The meeting concludes looking at the debt strategy for a US transaction which has already been approved in principle. Availability and pricing of debt has become ‘the big issue’ since the summer. In this case we have got a decent offer on the table and we focus mostly on the various hedging options available.

16.00 Quick catch up call with my colleague Nicola Teevan to our US partner AEW to update on progress on our US transaction. Everything is proceeding pretty much to plan with due diligence ongoing.

16.15 Back to the e-mails and return a few calls.

16.45 Taxi to airport to catch a flight to Copenhagen where I am meeting one of our acquisition team to review a property we are considering acquiring.

19.00 Thankfully, the flight leaves on time. I spend an hour reading the materials for tomorrow on the Copenhagen market and the particular property. I use the rest of the time to catch up on the endless (but mostly useful) research reports which we receive from a multitude of sources.

22.30 Arrive at hotel in centre of Copenhagen. Quick beer (Carlsberg, of course!) and a sandwich - the glamour of modern travel!

23.30 Bed. Monday is over. It all gets better from here…!

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