Update from Dominique Moerenhout

Welcome back to Berlin for those reading this at the EPRA Conference, the premier European listed real estate gathering of the year. We held our first conference in the grand atmosphere of the Adlon Hotel in 2012, and it is an appropriate place to remind ourselves just how far, and how quickly, the German market has developed in the intervening six years.

Back then, EPRA said: “There is now a historic window of opportunity opening up for Germany to match its international competitors by supporting the growth of German listed property companies, and to provide a boost to its economy at the same time.” That was a bold forecast when Germany’s share of the FTSE EPRA Nareit Europe Index was just 7.5%, and it had by far the smallest listed real estate industry of any major economy globally.

By the time EPRA held its second conference in the Adlon Hotel three years later in 2015, Germany’s share of the Europe Index had doubled to 15% due in a large part to the extraordinary growth of the residential companies, which for the first time created a major listed investment option in this property sector in Europe. Fast forward to today and Germany has emerged as the largest listed European real estate market overall after overtaking  both UK and France, previously first and second-ranked respectively, earlier this year.

Therefore, it is entirely fitting that I am welcoming Rolf Buch, CEO of Vonovia, Germany’s biggest listed residential company, onto the stage in Berlin as EPRA’s new Chairman. I would also like to warmly thank outgoing Chairman Christophe Cuvillier, CEO of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, for his and the EPRA Board’s strong support and guidance during my first 18 months as the association’s CEO.

It has certainly been a challenging, but also an enjoyable, early period in the job. I think EPRA has made particularly good progress in ramping up the number and geographical spread of investor and company gatherings we have been facilitating in recent months, with a strong focus on also attracting the generalist investors that can be hard for the industry to reach.

EPRA’s corporate investor relations support capabilities will be increasingly in the spotlight going forward as companies and investors adjust to the realities of the MiFID II regulations and how they impact on their relationships and corporate access. While it is still early days in the assessment of the market impact of MiFID II, it is  clear that as a neutral industry association platform, EPRA potentially has a lot to offer in this area. We will be consulting with the membership on the role we can play within MiFID II at a special event in London on 12 December.

Finally, I would like to welcome our new members, many of whom will be present in Berlin. I hope you will all find the content of the Conference programme enjoyable and the speakers inspiring and thought-provoking. For those of you that could not make it, the highlights of the event can be found on our website and in the next issue of the EPRA Magazine, which is now also available as a multi-media app – so do not forget to download it.