York Street Partners in the Media
Retire Rich

An lternative asset classes will have a tough time getting noticed in the next few years when stock market returns have the potential to enthrall investors. In a country where retirement planning is limited to a fixed deposit and a membership in a sub optimal government run pension scheme, benefits of alternative asset classes will at first appear otherworldly. After all retirement savers should first start benefiting from the superior long term returns listed equities offer. But four experts, two from real estate and a couple from private equity explain alternative assets need not continue to be beyond the reach of ordinary retirement savers. But for them to benefit regulations and attitudes will have to change. The four experts joining the alternative assets round table were Nayana Mawilmada, Managing Director, York Street Partners and Sunil Subramanian, Head – Transactions at Jones Lang LaSalle Lanka who discussed real estate and Ruvini Fernando who heads Guardian Fund Management and Senaka Kakiriwaragodage, Managing Director of NDB Zephyr Partners who discussed private equity. Excerpts of the discussion.

Real estate by its very nature is a very long term investible asset class, is it not?

Nayana: Yes, absolutely. I think one of the problems in Sri Lanka historically is that people use short term money to go after real estate, which by definition is a long term asset class. If you are looking at real estate, you should be looking at minimum 5 years, or more like a 10 year horizon.

Sunil, how does Jones Lang align itself with the long term nature of the business?

Sunil: JLL is more of a services organization. We believe in sharing our expertise and knowledge about the market to help clients invest in the market, in the right places, and obviously help them make money. That’s where JLLs expertise comes in. We have been in Sri Lanka for three years. We started with the property management and facilities management business and started the transactions business in 2012. We are mostly catering to multinational clients who typically work with JLL worldwide. So that’s our bread and butter. But when we establish ourselves in a market, we try and build a relationship with the local customers where most of the opportunity is because they know the market well and therefore it’s easier for us to do business with them.

In your interactions with clients do you get the sense that there is greater interest in real estate now than perhaps when you started three years ago?

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