Money into Property 15/5/2012

15 May
DTZ's Money into Property panel and speakers

DTZ’s Money into Property panel and speakers: Bruce Poizer, me, Derek Bald, Dermot Power, Hans Vrensen, and at the podium, Martin Davis

Ken Bishop isn’t an easy guy to please. The veteran of the Manchester investment property world has been a frequent and critical friend to me over the years. In fact, more critical than friend when it comes to his views on awards events (he loathes them), or indeed any performance by a speaker at an event that he feels is long on cant and rhetoric. He’s one of those people in the business community who I fear and respect in equal measure. He also holds a bar very high that I seek to reach (he’s very tall, which helps).

Why do I mention that? Ken is a senior director in property consultancy DTZ, which puts on a regional “Money into Property” event each year to launch some fairly heavy research they do on global real estate investment trends. It followed a similar format from previous years: Martin Davis and Hans Vrensen, two heavyweights from DTZ, presented some data (very well, I hasten to add) and we then had a panel debate on the issues the data threw forth.

In the five years I’ve done this event, I have always sought to bring the debate to the local level – what will a shift in sentiment towards Grade B office stock mean for Manchester? What will bond yield variations in the Eurozone do to the appetite of non bank purchasers of distressed debt ridden property investments as Scottish and Irish banks de leverage? In other words – anyone fancy going head to head with a German insurance company to buy a shed in Widnes?

I chaired this year’s discussion with some trepidation. I had a set of quite detailed questions pre-prepared, with some much appreciated help from Bruce Poizer of DTZ. It also allowed me to tailor them to each panel member – Dermot Power, an insolvency practitioner with BDO; Derek Balf, a senior banker at Santander; and Hans Vrensen.

Strangely, and partly due to the presence of Ken, I was more nervous than at any other event I’ve done this year. It was also a large sparse room at the Hilton Hotel, even with a good turnout of about 200. There were also no questions from the audience on the two occasions I asked for any. This usually happens for one of two reasons – the audience are totally disengaged and bored; or they are in awe of the level of debate. I genuinely think the latter applied in this case. Not down to me, by the way, but because the panel were answering all the questions so well.

When I had things wrapped up, and handed over to Bruce to close the event, a couple of minutes early, the first person to offer his hand in thanks was Ken Bishop – “the best of these done we’ve done Michael, it really flowed. Well done.”

I’ll take that.



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