After 143 weeks on the sidelines, I now have been told to front up and contribute to The Weekly. So here goes…
Some weeks the amount of news that is worthy of being covered can be thin. Other weeks it's difficult to know where to start. This week certainly falls into the latter camp! Whether it be the victories for England's football and rugby teams against Scotland and South Africa respectively, Marks & Spencer's decision to close down thirty shops, Prince Harry's warning to the media about his new girlfriend or the makers of Toblerone announcing that they are reducing the number of triangles, it has been quite a week! And of course there's been the small matter of Donald Trump's shock, but ultimately emphatic victory in the US Presidential Election. 2016 will now firmly go down in the history books as the year of the upset. Leicester City, Brexit, and now The Donald. What's next? Trump's unexpected victory is being seen as the American people's way of saying 'up yours' to the establishment in Washington. Well, it surely can't have been because they actually believe that a multiple-bankrupt, fibbing real estate developer with no political experience whatsoever will be able to unite the country he has spent the last eighteen months trying to split. What lies ahead no-one can be absolutely sure. But what we can be sure of is that The Weekly is unlikely to be struggling for news stories over the next four years!
The combination of torrential rain and the emerging US Election results was not enough to prevent a full house at the latest IPF/AREF breakfast seminar at DAC Beechcroft's office on Wednesday morning. Hardly surprising really when the topic was the proposed Local Government Pension Scheme pooling and its implications for property. Cast your minds back to mid-2015 when George Osborne (remember him?) proposed that, in order to save costs and boost investment into infrastructure, the current eighty-nine funds should be replaced by half a dozen large “wealth” funds. This now looks increasingly likely to be eight pools of around £25bn. So what are the expected implications for property? Increased direct ownership at the expense of indirect, continued downward pressure on fees, a consolidation in the number of managers but ultimately probably an increased weighting to the asset class. But what was also made abundantly clear is that the pooling transition is not without significant challenges (take the impact of stamp duty or finding the appropriate legal structures as just two examples). The reality is that the whole process could take a number of years to play out.
And to finish, a pub quiz question for you. What's the common denominator between Tony Blackburn, Phil Tuffnel, Kerry Katona, Joe Pasquale, Carol Thatcher, Carl Fogarty and Vicki Pattison? No? Perhaps a better question would be 'do you know who any of these people are?' Well, for those of you who have managed to avoid watching it over the last fifteen years, they are all former winners of ITV's hit TV programme, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here, which returns to our screens this evening. A dozen new Z-list celebs will now attempt to survive the next three weeks in the Australian jungle. The format of the programme is simple. Severely restrict the amount of food given so the contestants starve before turning on each other. And in between all this, challenge them to eat delicacies such as Kangaroo anus or turkey testicles. If the result of this week's US election didn't convince you that we live in very strange times, tune in at 9pm tonight for some more damning evidence.