Waypoint appoints MAPP as property manager for real estate funds

Waypoint Asset Management is pleased to announce the appointment of leading commercial property management firm, MAPP, to manage four key funds from the 1st of October.

MAPP now act as managing agent of 2m sq ft of Waypoint’s retail portfolio including Coopers Square in Burton upon Trent, The Britten Centre in Lowestoft, a retail fund comprising 60 neighbourhood parades and a portfolio of 40 FRI assets let to Government covenants.

MAPP’s expertise extends from property management service to Building Consultancy and Sustainability services offered by an experienced team based in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.

Chris Moulden, Waypoint Asset Management Director, said: “Our commitment to MAPP has been driven not only by their recognised expertise in property management but by their significant experience and capabilities relating to ESG and sustainability. They share Waypoint’s commitment to sustainability and understand the importance of a fully integrated approach to ESG at both an asset and fund level.

Nigel Mapp, CEO of MAPP said: “We are excited to have developed such a fantastic working relationship with Waypoint and that they have entrusted the management of four key funds to us. Waypoint have increasingly prioritised ESG and as a proudly certified B Corporation MAPP is the perfect fit to deliver quality services whilst aligning with Waypoint’s values.”

John Michell, Head of Retail Business Development & Strategy commented: “We are delighted to be working with the Waypoint team on these funds. We see this as a great opportunity to combine our wider property management expertise with our specialist retail team who continue to reimagine what retail looks like in a constantly changing environment.”

WAYPOINT ASSET MANAGEMENT EXPANDS WITH APPOINTMENT OF CHRIS WILTON

Waypoint Asset Management has appointed Chris Wilton as an asset manager to its expanding team in London.

Chris previously worked for Cushman & Wakefield and Knight Frank and has experience in valuation, investment, and leasing in the Central London office market.

He attended Oxford Brookes University where he studied Real Estate Management and qualified as a chartered surveyor in 2018.

Mike Riley, founder and joint managing director of Waypoint, said: “As part of Waypoint’s expansion, we are committed to finding the best young talent that will understand our approach to asset management and help build our business culture. Chris brings with him a wealth of experience and his insight into a wide spectrum of market sub-sectors will benefit the business, our partners and clients.”

“Joining Waypoint during a time where the real estate industry adapts to a new reality changed by the pandemic is a very exciting opportunity and I am looking forward to working with the team to help bring value to our clients’ portfolios,” added Chris Wilton.

Asset Management and Team Development in Lockdown

Like many companies, at the beginning of lockdown, Waypoint Asset Management gave immediate priority to business continuity by ensuring its growing team had all they needed to allow them to undertake the day-to-day activities of asset managers.

“With the whole team working remotely, our primary focus was to ensure that the necessary communications technology functioned seamlessly,” says Mike Riley, joint managing director of Waypoint Asset Management.

“Following this initial phase our attention turned to other aspects of the business, including staff welfare and development,” he adds.

Since its inception, Waypoint has been focused on investing in staff development and the firm has an established programme that helps team members build on their qualifications and experience through continuous learning and mentoring.

“It’s all about passing on skills and an understanding of the industry and the dynamic markets that we operate in,” says Kirstyn Rutter, Waypoint Asset Management’s Investment Director, adding: “While the technical aspects of asset management and valuation can be taught academically, other business skills are not so easily taught in the classroom or lecture theatre and we concentrate on the soft skills as much as we do on the core competencies of asset management.

“Our view is that the best way to gain the interpersonal and professional communication skills needed in business is to be immersed within it. So much of what we learn, such as market knowledge and vital interpersonal communication skills, is gained from being around other people. This is particularly important for younger members of staff and it is vital for them to have access to more experienced staff and to absorb the knowledge and know-how of those around them,” she adds.

Mike Riley agrees and uses his business partner of 18 years and joint managing director of Waypoint,  Nick Gregory, as evidence of the success of this approach.

“Back in the day, Nick was the graduate trainee in my team at Chestertons where he learnt the ropes and became one of the most accomplished asset managers I have ever known.”

Nick acknowledges the role that ‘on-the-job learning’ had on his development as a young surveyor.

“Learning by osmosis, within a business environment, is vital for young surveyors and asset managers. You learn so much by observing colleagues and other professionals that you interact with. Fundamentally, real estate is a networking industry and you acquire so much knowledge and understanding, simply by absorbing the background noise of an office.

“The advent of Covid-19 and the nationwide lockdown meant that we had to adapt how we continued our mentoring across the firm,” he adds.

In addition to establishing regular, online meetings and workshops to ensure that team members were able to continue with their personal and professional development through the mentoring programmes already in place, Waypoint also took steps to ensure that the firm’s ‘open door’ culture continued in the virtual working environment.

“It soon became that we were facing a prolonged period with our team working remotely, dispersed around the country and that this would present us with challenges in terms of staff development and mentoring,” says Executive Director Chris Moulden.

“We had to ensure that the business did not lose the benefits that having a horizontal-structure has brought to the business over the years. Ensuring that communication channels remained open and that everyone continued to be accessible and available – for even the smallest problem or question –has been of great value in maintaining internal development programmes and to the business as a whole,” he adds.

One member of Waypoint’s team who has benefited from this approach is Jonny Waller (24) who has been with the company since 2017.

“The online development programme has been very beneficial,” he says. “After the initial novelty of working remotely, I quickly realised how easy it was to lose touch with what was happening in the wider market. I had not appreciated the value of chance meetings and random conversations in the office. The scheduled mentoring sessions and online team meetings have gone a long way in filling the gap.

“The one-to-one coaching has not just been focused on work-related issues but has also considered personal development in terms of communication techniques, time efficiency, and other areas for improvement, that have been a great help. Among other topics, the coaching sessions have addressed handling difficult situations and getting the most out of meetings.

“These skills are hard to learn when working from home and it has been a reassurance to know that I can speak to anyone within the firm should I be facing a particular challenge, no matter how seemingly trivial it might be,” Jonny adds.

Waypoint begins deployment of £300 million into Healthcare Real Estate

Waypoint Asset Management has kick-started a £300 million investment programme within the healthcare property sector, with the acquisition of 27 properties around the country, including a single portfolio of 23 Primary Care buildings totaling £20 million.

Waypoint Health Property launched its first healthcare real estate fund over the summer and with a second fund now coming under management is looking to deploy the capital into the sector over the next 12-months.

Andrew Darke, director of Waypoint Health Property, said: “While the pandemic has brought healthcare provision into sharp focus, there has been a growing investor appetite within the sector for some time and, as a specialist in primary care, our objective is the acquisition and management of healthcare real estate on behalf of Waypoint’s established institutional clients.

“The investment properties that we have already acquired range from GP surgeries to mental health and renal dialysis centres. With two funds under management, we are now actively sourcing further primary and community-based healthcare assets, including portfolios and individual properties of between £1m and £20m throughout the UK.”

Waypoint Health Property has recently exchanged contracts on the acquisition of a primary care centre in Newcastle upon Tyne that includes two GP surgeries, a dental practice and a pharmacy, and a mental health facility in Norwich.

 

Corporate Insolvency & Governance Act 2020

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 came into force in the UK at the end of June. However, some of its effects were delayed until the end of September so there are implications for landlords and asset managers, particularly with Covid-19 seeing an increase in corporate failures across the country.

In addition to existing insolvency, administration, and liquidation rules, the new legislation includes standalone moratorium procedures governing corporate failures.

A central feature of a moratorium is that it is a process that is controlled by the directors of a company. It is not creditor-led and is monitored by an insolvency practitioner, who must decide if it is worthwhile for the company, not the business, to continue.

The aim of a moratorium is the recovery of a company and not liquidation. This is achieved by creating a period of breathing space without generating the potential, significant costs for a company associated with other possible options. At any stage, should the insolvency practitioner decide that the company is no longer viable, the process comes to an end. Their decision is final.

There are essentially two ways for company directors to trigger a moratorium; via the courts and outside court.

  • If no ‘winding-up’ petition has been filed then a moratorium can be initiated out of court. It becomes effective as soon as the documentation has been filed with a court
  • If a winding-up petition has been filed (or if the company is based overseas), then the process must be dealt with by the courts, where a decision is taken on the basis of what is best for the company’s creditors

From the outset of the process, a company must state in correspondence, and publicise the fact on its website, that it is in a state of a moratorium. This ‘breathing space’ lasts for 20-days, but can be extended for a further 20-days if is allowed by a court or if the majority of creditors give their consent.

Even during a moratorium, a company must pay any ongoing debts, including rent on properties occupied including ongoing payments arising from contracts that already existed at the point that the moratorium began. Clearly, the support of leaders is an important part of the process and the failure to pay debts will bring the moratorium to an end.

During the moratorium period, without court permission, there can be no landlord forfeiture, enforcement, or repossession of property.

It should be remembered that a moratorium is aimed at rescuing a company as a going concern rather than the “business”. There have been discussions and even parliamentary debate concerning the implications concerning its use as a method to steady a company to prepare it for sale, including via a pre-pack administration.

With the aim of assisting companies to recover from difficult financial situations, The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 widens the options for debtors and creditors, of which the ‘moratorium’ is one that landlords and their advisers need to be aware of.

For further information on the implications for property investors of moratoriums, please email: contact@waypointam.co.uk

Pandemic forces rethink on business parks and suburban properties

The following article, written by Waypoint’s Mark Charlton, first appeared on React News as part of the Expert Reaction section of the magazine  https://reactnews.com/article/pandemic-forces-rethink-on-business-parks-and-suburban-properties/ and follows the research produced by Mark in connection with the impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s property markets.
The research highlighted the growth of ‘localism’ being witnessed in many sectors as individuals and organisations adapt the way in which they respond to the challenges faced by the business community, and society as a whole, as a result of the pandemic. In particular, the research highlighted that that property assets in central locations are the most likely to be adversely impacted by the behavioural changes that are becoming evident and predicted that property investors are increasingly likely to turn their attention to non-core assets and properties that can serve the needs of local communities.
The full research document is available by clicking here. https://waypointam.co.uk/covid-19-potential-impact-on-uk-real-estate-markets/

Perhaps the most noticeable change in behaviour during the pandemic has been the way in which many have adapted to the realities of working from home. However, changing behavioural patterns and shifting attitudes are also seeing new trends in other asset classes – presenting challenges, and opportunities, to property investors.
While the growth of remote working has seen much debate around how offices can be adapted to make them usable in the future, an assumption has been made that the ‘Working From Home’ phenomenon is almost a passing fad and that people will eventually return to working in the office, maybe on a more flexible basis. Maybe the question should be not “What will the office be?” but “Where will the office be?” to which the answer may well be “somewhere local.”
It has been reported that, during lockdown, rent collection levels for offices in central locations have been lower than for those on business parks. This suggests that business parks, which are more easily accessed by private car, have become relatively more attractive to occupiers than CBD offices that involve a lengthy journey on public transport for their staff. As we emerge from the pandemic, businesses that are looking to cut overheads while retaining staff who have grown accustomed to working from home, may look to ‘local’ offices on business parks or accessible out-of-town and suburban locations as a solution.
The concept that such properties could be adapted to provide convenient ‘touch down spaces’ for remote workers and teams to come together from time-to-time is already an idea that is gaining interest from investors.
Fundamentally, business parks serve a relatively local clientele, but the impact of localism is not restricted just to business parks. It is also being felt in other asset classes.
While ‘Working From Home’ has caused many offices to be mothballed during lockdown, the consequences have been felt in other sectors of the economy. The subsequent drop in footfall across our city centres and towns has been catastrophic for some retailers and food & beverage businesses that rely on the lunchtime and evening trade brought by the purchasing power of a hungry and thirsty workforce.
Home-based workers still get hungry and thirsty, and they still need to buy things – they’re just doing it more locally and, once again, localism is at play with people rediscovering local shops and smaller shopping destinations that offer convenience. While central locations in our cities are suffering, we are seeing, conversely, convenience retailers, along with cafés, restaurants and pubs in residential areas, small towns and villages benefiting as home-based workers utilise local shops and amenities.
In turn, this ‘rediscovery’ of local shopping, with fewer journeys to larger retail destinations, has serious implications for malls and shopping centres in particular and it is easy to see that there will be winners and losers within the sector.
Shopping centres with a particular focus on value retailing and those with a food store as an anchor tenant will have an advantage in the market. Many secondary, underinvested shopping centres will face repurposing or even demolition and any repurposing is likely to see the focus on community, leisure and convenience retail uses to serve the local populations.
Providing services to local and regional populations is set to be a trend in other ways. Within the industrial sector, the growth in online retail is boosting the already high-demand for regional and ‘last-mile’ logistics assets in order to serve local businesses and residents. In recent years, along with obsolete offices, the market has witnessed a significant volume of urban industrial properties being replaced with residential developments. Ironically, the need for industrial and distribution accommodation to serve the people who now live in these new homes has possibly never been higher.
Other asset classes, such as automotive, healthcare and residential, are less likely to be impacted by ‘localism’ in the post-pandemic market, but these, too, will be affected to some degree, with demographics, affordability and location being key issues.
Our recent research predicts that, with property assets in central locations looking most likely to be adversely impacted by the pandemic, property investors are increasingly likely to turn their attention to non-core assets and properties that can serve local populations.
We expect ‘localism’ to be an important influence in the post-pandemic economy. It will also play a big part in the ‘New Normal’ for the property market going forward.

Waypoint’s Thoughts on the UK Real Estate Investment Market

With Covid-19 set to impact central locations the hardest, property investors are increasingly turning their attention to non-core assets. This report looks at the prospects for all the major real estate asset classes as a result of the pandemic.

There have been widespread changes to behavioral patterns and shifts in attitudes emerging during the lockdown that will have a long-term impact on many property asset classes.

With remote working now a reality for millions, it is likely that flexible working practices and home-based working will be a big part of the ‘New Normal’ in the post-pandemic economy.  This clearly has implications for office use, particularly in central locations that are so reliant on public transport. However, the implications go so much further.

To read the full report, please click here.

Waypoint’s Thoughts on Turnover Rents

The structural change already impacting the retail sector has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating the consumer shift to online buying and impacting heavily on the turnover and profitability of most forms of retail. Grocery and local convenience retail have been the exceptions.

Given future trading uncertainty, a range of tenants are known to have contacted landlords with a view to negotiating alternative and, what the tenant might consider to be, more equitable lease terms. The legacy of COVID-19 will almost certainly be a permanent change to the structuring of new retail lease agreements.

In this short briefing note, we consider the Turnover Leasing Model and highlight some of the issues that both landlords and tenants need to fully consider.

To read the full report click here