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7 December 2017updated 09 Sep 2021 6:09pm

Managing real estate risk will require further work

The issues our world is facing will need leaders from across different industries to come together to solve them. 

By Martin J. Brühl

Ten years after the financial crash hit it’s important the lessons of the past are not forgotten. We’re approaching the top of the cycle once again, as shrinking returns push investors into taking more risks, and alternative assets like student accommodation, healthcare and later living receive unprecedented levels of investment. 

It’s against that backdrop that the RICS’ Real Estate Investment Risk Forum (IRF), of which I am chair, delivered its first report – Perspectives on Global Real Estate Investment – this year. Ninety per cent of our survey respondents thought the industry’s approach to risk management has improved in recent years. But there is still some way to go before we can be confident the changes we’ve made will endure.

Despite a greater focus on risk management since 2007/08, moves to paint real estate investment as somehow now immune to the mistakes of the past only serve to reinforce the need for collective leadership in the industry.

With more knowledge-sharing and training top of the bill for the IRF, it’s fitting the report forms the basis for the Trillion-Dollar Question: Global Investment Risk Landscape panel debate at the RICS’ World Built Environment Forum Summit taking place next April. 

On the first day, I will be joined by other members of the IRF including representatives from M&G Real Estate, Aberdeen Asset Management and CBRE Global Investment Partners, all leaders in their field, for an engaging discussion on the investment risk landscape ten years on from the crash and the financial trends shaping the world we live in.

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Now in its third year, the Summit is the centrepiece event in the RICS’ World Built Environment Forum’s calendar. A global network of top built environment professionals combining knowledge, skills and resources, the Forum attempts to address some of the greatest problems facing the world today.

In an increasingly urbanised world, the approach of city governments to transportation will be critical as we attempt to grapple with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With some notable exceptions, there is now a broad consensus as to how mankind should approach climate change. But business and policy makers have barely made headway on how to harness the approaching surge of automation threatening to turbocharge our productivity while sending entire industries into obsolescence.

With these challenges becoming more apparent, the Forum is the perfect example of the leadership that is needed. The changes our world is undergoing do not occur in silos and will need leaders from across different industries to come together to solve them. I hope to see as many of you as possible at the World Built Environment Forum Summit in four months’ time.

On 23-24 April 2018, we welcome more than 1,000 international delegates to the Intercontinental London – The O2 for the Summit. We will explore the impact of industrial transformation, urbanisation and digitisation on the built environment as well as how new collaborative approaches can foster success.

For further information, please visit our website


Martin J. Brühl, FRICS, is chair of the RICS Investment Risk Forum and chief investment officer at Union Investment Real Estate.