Bringing foreign capital to the US

December 14, 2016

Panelists discuss the process of bringing in foreign capital, the criteria that foreign investors look to in U.S. properties, and what kind of investments they are looking to make.


Lawrence Selevan: Bringing foreign capital in the US it’s not about the regulations here are so much, unless we get the wrong president, but it's really how they pulled the cash out of their country. So if you have an institutional Chinese investor often especially if they’re majority owned by the Chinese government, they need to get three or four different levels of approval before they're allowed to take the capital out. And over the last four or five months they've had a more restrictive policy than I've seen in a very long time. So a lot of it has to do how you get it out of their country and get it to here. We have a much freer flow of capital in and out of the United States, except when it goes under the Patriot Act.

Give an example of criteria that are important to foreign investors that we may not consider.

Jeffrey Torto: The way I look at it when I'm talking to our investment teams, I generalize a lot that there are certain regions of the country, of the world that are focused on different things. I said before, I think Malaysia, Korea, they are very cash yield oriented, so they're not looking at development for the most part. There may be certain investors that are. The Chinese, we're finding, are more value oriented. They'll do more development, more value add. Germany - we have a number of German clients, again, more cash yield oriented, less development oriented. So it really depends on what part of the country you're looking at, what their criteria is. And we have kind of a basket of different ones. So when we have a, an investment opportunity, we kind of look and see where do we think, what part of the country or what part of the world does that really fit?

Sam Natanoff: If I could just make one more point: because there's subsequent waves of investors and that the pool of capital is getting ever larger, that's an opportunity for US developers and those seeking capital because the largest institutional investors will expect a certain level of deal and the terms will be fixed. But for a new investor they're probably willing to count it, it's a higher risk profile in different terms because they're new to the market, and that's what your opportunity is right now.

Right now, what type of investors, the foreign investors that you deal with, are they looking for core assets, income producing development?

Jeffrey Torto: For the most part, I'd say it's very core income producing properties for the clients that we're looking at. I mean we do have some groups that we represent that are in developments here in Manhattan. But for the most part I would say the majority of the capital, 80, 90 percent or so is very core cash yield focused, and some of the investors actually kind of look at it as they want their dividend and the upside of the real estate is great, but they want their steady dividend. So that's what we're seeing.

About Kenneth Weissenberg

Kenneth Weissenberg CPA, Tax Partner in Real Estate Services, is experienced in tax saving strategies and negotiating sales and acquisitions. He represents owners of some of the most well-known real estate properties in New York City.

About Lisa Knee

Lisa Knee is a Tax Partner and National leader of the firm's Real Estate practice and the National Real Estate Private Equity Group with expertise in the hotel, real estate, financial services, aviation and restaurant sectors and is a member of AICPA, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Bar Association.

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