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The Real Estate Finance & Investment Group explores the commercial property industry from a capital-markets perspective.  Real Estate is the largest industry in Australia, employing over one million people, and real estate is the biggest investment asset class by value.  Our research focus includes real estate investment management, real estate capital management, securitisation, real options, and real estate economics. Our aim is to provide regional leadership in this space, and to prepare our students for a successful career in the commercial property industry.

The Real Estate Finance & Investment Group commenced in 2017 and serves as a foundation for research in REFI, providing industry with access to that research via our professional development events.

Initiative commenced late 2014.

General aims

To develop a globally-focussed, capital-markets-facing program in Real Estate Finance and Investment at the University of Sydney.
For this program to be unambiguously seen as the regional leader in REFI education and research, and in the top 5 globally.
For the program to be seen in the same light as the Wharton, Cambridge, Cornell, Berkeley programs.

To develop a program that

  • generates academically leading, industry relevant research,
  • produces top graduates in REFI,
  • positively influences REFI education regionally,
  • provides educational support for industry through professional development programs and REFI MBA-style programs,
  • is world-leading in the level and quality of its engagement with industry,
  • is world-leading in the level and quality of its engagement with REFI alumni.

Initiatives to date:

  1. Postgraduate unit of study within the finance specialisation of the Master of Commerce Degree (FINC6024). Enrolments in this unit have now grown to maximum capacity,
  2. The University of Sydney Business School Real Estate Case Competition:
    1. Inaugural event in 2016,
    2. Teams from 9 Universities across ANZ. Each university hosts a campus competition, supported by USyd, to select their best team,
    3. Five Industry Sponsors plus one networking sponsor (Savills, Brookfield, Blackstone, PWC, Moelis Australia and The GPT Group).
    4. Top two teams compete in the Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition in NYC,
    5. Last year, Aussie teams came second and fourth in the Cornell comp, placing higher than teams from Stanford, Wharton, Cornell, NYU, Brown, Villanova, etc. USyd has also placed higher than Cambridge each time they have competed,
  3. The Powell Family Fellowship. Funds provided by the Powell Family provide for a high-profile international REFI academic to visit USyd for a month:
    1. The visitor gives an intensive unit in REFI to our students, and
    2. Delivers the Powell Family Foundation Seminar to industry,
    3. This program also supports the extension of the links that USyd has with leading academic institutions globally and our research networks,
    4. The first Powell Family Foundation Fellow was Prof Andrew Baum from Oxford Uni in 2016,
    5. Prof Dan Quan from Cornell will be visiting us, under this scheme in March 2018,
  4. Women in Property Mentoring program. To link senior industry mentors with promising female undergraduates interested in this space:
    1. Currently this program is exclusively associated with the Case Competition, and is lead by Michelle Tierney,
  5. A Case-Competition Competitors Club. Members of this club are currently drawn from students who have represented Australia at the Cornell Competition. We had our first dinner in September 2017,
  6. The establishment of an Honours scholarship in REFI, sponsored by The GPT Group.

Initiatives in progress:

  1. New undergraduate unit of study in REFI within the Bachelor of Commerce to commence in S1, 2018. FINC3025,
  2. Expand the competitor base for the case competition. More ANZ unis and Singapore. Support further improvement in competitor quality at all competing universities,
  3. Transformation of FINC3025 and FINC6024 to be case-based units:
    1. We are working with industry to develop a series of cases that are based on actual Australian transactions,
    2. Students are required to undertake a combination of directed learning and self-directed learning to resolve the issues in the case, and then present a pitch to industry as to their solution,
    3. Cases include a REFI valuation case, a REFI financing case, a REFI funds management case and a private equity REFI case,
    4. Transformed units to commence in S1, 2018,
  4. A professional development program:
    1. An annual series of short-courses in REFI, aimed at mid-career professionals,
    2. Instructors will be high-profile international academics, with industry experience,
    3. Prof Andrew Baum from Oxford Uni has agreed to provide the first of these in February 2018.

    Publications

    Alcock J 2017 'Houses aren’t more unaffordable for first home buyers, but they are riskier', The Conversation (28 March 2017) Link

    Alcock J and Andrlikova P 2017 Forthcoming 'Asymmetric Dependence in Real Estate Investment Trusts: An Asset-Pricing Analysis', Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics Link

    Alcock J and Andrlikova P 2017 Forthcoming 'Asymmetric Dependence, Persistence and Firm-Level Stock Return Predictability' in Asymmetric Dependence in Finance: Diversification, Correlation and Portfolio Management in Market Downturns, ed. Alcock J & Satchell S, Wiley, Milton, Australia, pp. 300 Link

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