NEBF model shows economic effect on community, workers


Proving impact is not new for NEBF real estate manager BentallGreenOak, whose Multi-Employer Property Trust, an open-end core diversified private equity fund with $ 10 billion in assets, started doing its own impact study in 2005. “Our investors wanted to know what impact we were having on our communities, “said portfolio management principal Tim Bolla in Bethesda, Md.

“You are definitely seeing more demand for that kind of information. As people focus on ESG, they are going to try to figure out their impact. Investors want to see returns but they also want to see you are contributing to the world around you, “Mr. Bolla said.

Having the data also helps the fund qualify as an impact fund. “As the whole universe is moving toward more rigorous statements, I think you are going to see more people doing this,” he said.

Proving the impact in terms of union jobs was not new for Ullico, either. Its ‘J for Jobs’ separate account with $ 3.5 billion from union pension fund investors lends to real estate developers and property owners while requiring union labor on all construction.

The financial crisis inspired Ullico to “add more science” to quantify the economic impact of its lending, and helped the fund get back into the marketplace, said Joseph R. Linehan, president of Ullico subsidiaries Ullico Investment Advisor Inc. and Ullico Investment Co LLC .

“Every time we close a deal, we present the transaction’s details to an independent economist to quantify the number of jobs, state and local taxes and more.”

National Real Estate Advisors, Washington, a wholly owned subsidiary of NEBF with $ 3.5 billion in assets under management, has tracked its own economic data for the past two decades. “Our first concern is making money. It so happens that our investment strategy produces collateral benefits,” said Jeff Kanne, president and CEO. With a build-to-core strategy that often finds them the first developers in an area, “it can’t hurt as a calling card for us when we go to a new city. We want everyone to say those guys are good actors. We want them to come back, “he said.

At ASB Real Estate Investments in Bethesda, Md., With $ 7 billion under management, managing director James Darcey said his firm’s goal of making buildings that last “really led to the notion of ‘what is this investment policy doing for our partners?'”

“In today’s world it goes beyond (financial impact) when you talk about ESG. It really is part of a growing story that aligns us with our investor base and tenants. I think all of our peers are heading that way,” Mr. Darcey said.

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