Currently out in Asia together with my partner in crime, Ian Whittock. This is certainly a remarkable continent; the energy and passion from the local real estate developers and investors is second to none. Take Singapore, where we have spent much of the week, this is a country which has virtually no natural resources but which through the drive and entrepreneurialism of both the leadership and the population has become not only very wealthy, but also a regional financial hub and a "go to" destination for ex-pats.
Real estate has clearly played a major part in generating the wealth of many Singaporeans, or certainly those that we have been privileged to meet. Developers, for example, have much to be proud of, with the design of some of the buildings being exceptional.
Whilst the local Singapore occupier market is relatively quiet at the moment, it is encouraging that the amount of money still targeting overseas investment remains considerable. However, unlike many other parts of Asia, Singaporean money is generally far more focussed on opportunities where it is possible to create added value rather than simply targeting trophy assets. For us this is particularly encouraging since it undoubtedly plays to some of the key strengths of the KFIM business, these being our long term focus on investment performance and our ability to pro-actively manage the assets that we look after on behalf of our clients (an ability which, dare I say it, I believe sets us apart from both the brokerage community and many of our Investment Management competitors).