Several of Cobalt’s Consultant’s attended MIPIM this year and fortunately, they didn’t take London’s dreary weather with them. The sun was out in full force in Cannes and this created the perfect backdrop for a number of fantastically positive conversations which took place with our clients and candidates alike.
Naturally, the UK’s current political situation did feature as a discussion topic but it certainly wasn’t the focal point. We travelled to France bracing ourselves for perhaps a little less optimism than we have seen in previous years but as a collective, we did not find this to be the case at all.
At Cobalt, I work with a number of Europe’s highest-profile Real Estate funds, both in the equity and debt space. The Brexit situation is undoubtedly a point of consideration however the investors I sat down with still have funds to go to market with and a willing investor base continuing to supply capital. People are looking to be creative and find opportunities where they can. If this means looking at a geographical market they haven’t before, so be it. If it means looking at less traditional asset classes, there is an appetite for this also. It was extremely refreshing to hear about the tactics for this year and the feedback I received provided a stark contrast indeed to the news updates we see in our newspapers and on our television screens on a daily basis. There are a number of Southern European markets in recovery stage, which creates huge opportunities for debt investors in those areas. Sentiment seems stable across the developed Western European market and even in the UK where uncertainty may be at its highest, there are still a number of funds who have no intention to abandon the market.
Fortunately, I was able to sit down with some of the most significant decision-makers in their respective funds and the message seems resoundingly clear. There are deals to be done and good competition in the market to execute them. Let’s hope this level of optimism continues throughout 2019 and beyond!
Greg Comer, Head of Banking and Financing
I work with clients across residential and alternative assets which is an area that has seen huge growth over recent years. On this side there is still a huge appetite from investors and many more companies are moving into the area in a serious way. A such, my clients are still keen to meet candidates that have good experience within these assets, in particular, PRS. Demand for investment and development candidates remains high and points to optimism in the market. Other areas of interest includes hotels within Europe in particular Spain, Italy and Poland as well as regeneration, with many local authorities or their private development arms represented. Overall the message was cautious optimism and a little frustration at the domination of Brexit talk!
Rebecca Neville, Head of Alternatives
As a first time attendee at MIPIM, I wasn't sure what to expect but it didn't take me long to see that both the event and Cannes were going to be rewarding. The atmosphere was professional yet relaxed at the same time. I had the opportunity to sit down with both clients and candidates who had travelled from all over Europe and their projections for 2019 were extremely positive. Even in these uncertain political times, Brexit was not a huge topic with my clients, a lot of deals have been recently made and the focus for them is making sure they are bringing the right candidates into the businesses. Brexit might, however, be contributing to global investors looking into new markets. As per usual, the German commercial sector is always getting a lot of attention but we have also seen an increase in interest in smaller cities like Madrid, Amsterdam and Lisbon.
Alberto Ochoa, Head of the European Desk
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