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Working in property asset management

Property asset management, fund management and investment: graduate property specialism

An area of work for natural strategisers, graduate asset and fund managers in the property industry work to ensure that clients who have invested in real estate see a return on their investment.

Asset management, fund management and investment services at a property firm deal with real estate as an ‘asset’ or type of investment. The overall aim in these sectors is to increase the return on the investment for investors, by:

  • providing advice for clients on where and how to invest and/or
  • working to improve the value of a property or properties.

The work involves developing and implementing strategies. As part of this, practitioners may oversee the purchase and sale of properties, arrange leases and rental agreements, or oversee a new development.

Is there a difference between property asset management and property fund management?

The lines between asset management, fund management and investment are pretty blurred in the property industry, with one firm’s ‘investment’ being another’s ‘asset management’ or ‘fund management’. However, one slight difference is that, in many firms, asset management is intertwined with property management. For example, JLL's asset management business line is described as ‘property and asset management’ and CBRE calls their team ‘property and asset management’. In such cases, there is likely to be more of an emphasis on increasing the value of a property than there would be in fund management, which tends to concentrate on investment strategy.

Asset managers’ clients, therefore, are more varied than those of fund managers. Clients for asset management could include landlords and even fund management firms themselves, while fund managers work solely for the individuals and institutions that are members of their fund (pool of investors).

Managing property as an investment is a sizeable chunk of a large property firm’s work. In addition to offering investment and asset management services, a number also have their own investment management/fund management company, which tend to operate as independent subsidiaries. JLL and Knight Frank are just two.

What do graduate surveyors do in property asset management, fund management and investment?

As a graduate, you are likely to assist senior colleagues in creating and delivering business strategies for clients. As strategies are bespoke for individual clients, the work is varied. It will involve liaising with other teams, such as development, valuations, building consultancy and planning as necessary. You’re likely to spend time inspecting properties and researching the benefits of different strategies. Other typical tasks for graduate surveyors can include preparing marketing and sales brochures, and negotiating sales.

It is not strictly necessary for a graduate working within fund management to qualify to be a chartered surveyor, but if you join a training scheme at a property firm this will be expected.

What kind of graduate would suit this area of work?

Constant deadlines mean that natural multitaskers thrive; if you have good organisational skills and a practical approach to solving problems, you’ll do well. It helps to have some sort of financial ability – some valuations and number work would be covered in a cognate degree, but graduates with numerate or business degrees would be especially welcome.

Essential skills for graduates hoping to work in property asset management, fund management and investment

  • Lateral thinking and the ability to see how one event could affect another
  • A good eye for detail
  • A good ‘business head’.

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