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Around 175 senior public, private and institutional investment decision-makers gathered to hear economic, political and real estate perspectives at the latest Mayfair Capital Annual Investment Seminar.

The seminar began with Deloitte’s Chief Economist, Ian Stewart, and Swiss Life Asset Managers’ CIO, Daniel Berner, who respectively looked at the economic landscape following a tumultuous 2016 and also the international investor’s view of investing in the UK.

Global growth and the possibility of a synchronised upturn in both emerging and developed markets gave cause for optimism about the global economic situation, Ian Stewart told the audience. His verdict is that UK economic activity would hold up this year, ease slightly in 2018 but there had not been the anticipated ‘Brexit crash’ and there was no sign of one on the horizon. However, he has concerns over possible US trade protectionism and the effect of that on a global basis. (Please click here to download Ian Stewart's presentation).

Daniel Berner reported that Swiss Life continued to look favourably on investment into UK real estate because it generates diversification benefits, provides favourable liquidity and continues to offer attractive returns. Daniel showed the results of the Swiss Life Scoring Model which shows the UK as the most attractive economy to invest in ahead of Germany and France. His caveat being that any derailment or excessive delay in Brexit negotiations could disrupt the operation of the investment market. (Please click here to download Daniel Berner's presentation)

The Brexit theme was taken up by the Rt Hon Mark Field, who said it was essential that negotiations be expedited efficiently and in a relatively short timeframe – for the benefit of both the UK and the Eurozone. He has reservations as to whether there is the political will within the EU to deliver this but also has confidence in the UK’s capacity to reinvent itself as a new and stronger economic force.

Mayfair Capital’s CEO, James Thornton, looked at the UK property market’s prospects for performance. With both domestic and international investors looking for enhanced returns, he said that the UK with its mature property market, and trusted legal system produces favourable conditions for an income yield driven approach. He added that he believed there will be rental growth in selected locations and sectors this year but there is likely to be an increasing polarisation of assets caused by those which respond to the demands and demographics of society and those which are increasingly obsolescent. Understanding what is driving demand for property, he concluded, will be crucial to identifying investment opportunities and providing a framework for building portfolios.(Please click here to download James Thornton's presentation).

This thematic approach which is at the core of Mayfair Capital’s investment strategy was further explained by its Head of Research, Strategy & Risk, Frances Spence. Giving case study examples (see videos below) of how this approach translated into stock selection, she looked at how the changing nature of society will shape the provision of property and render redundant conventional methods of assessing likely future performance. Connectivity and flexibility will define the success of retail, leisure and office environments. (Please click here to download Frances Spence's presentation) 

Vicki Lockhart of the Well Building Institute contended that too much focus had been placed on the environmental credentials of buildings and not enough on how they impacted the people who work in them. Our physical/social environment is the major determinant of our state of health. Accordingly, workplaces need to address issues of air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. She concluded that healthy buildings improve employee well-being but also provide bottom line benefits in terms of how quickly a building leases and also its ultimate capital value. (Please click here to download Vicki Lockhart's presentation) 

The seminar finished with a presentation by Timandra Harkness of Radio 4’s Futureproofing programme who looked back to the society of 1937 (the year of her father’s birth) and speculated on where we will be in 2037. It is estimated that one out of every three children born in the UK today will live to be over 100 years old. The increase in longevity has massive implications for society and she said we will need to harness Big Data Analysis, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics to create the ‘Smart Cities’ which can support a society - the nature of which is almost impossible to comprehend. (Please click here to download Timandra Harkness's presentation).

Videos of Mayfair Capital's thematic Investment strategy in practice:

Office: Infrastructure and Technology

Distribution Warehouse: Infrastructure and Demographics

Office: Infrastructure and Technology

Office: Infrastructure and Technology

Contact details

James Lloyd
+44 20 7291 6664

Katie Joyce
+44 20 7291 6667

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