Investment Officer - Real Estate & ESG

Recruiter
Washington State Investment Board
Location
Seattle, USA
Salary
$113,712 - $189,520
Posted
11 May 2021
Closes
10 Jun 2021
Ref
10974175
Industry Sector
Finance - General
Employment Type
Full Time
Education
Bachelors
The WSIB manages investments for 17 retirement plans for public employees, teachers, school employees, law enforcement officers, firefighters and judges. We also manage investments for several other important public funds that benefit Washington's industrial insurance program, colleges and universities, and developmental disability programs. The WSIB's excellent investment performance dramatically contributes to the state's bottom line by earning the lion's share of money needed to cover state pension benefits.

The WSIB is seeking a highly-qualified professional to fill an Investment Officer (IO) position on our real estate team. This is a unique opportunity to help shape a growing and dynamic global real estate investment portfolio, with a current equity value of approximately $23 billion.

The WSIB's real estate program differs from those of most other institutional investors, as investments are primarily made through ownership of operating companies rather than hiring traditional investment managers. These operating companies acquire, develop, and manage properties, with a focus on long-term income generation. The WSIB takes a multi-cycle strategic view, with most investments targeting hold periods of 15 years or longer. The portfolio has a true global focus, with active investments in 24 countries, including emerging markets.

In addition to investment management, this specific position has responsibility for leading environmental, social, and governance (ESG) related matters for the real estate team as described hereafter.

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY:

The primary role of the IO is to work together with the rest of the real estate team to oversee investment partnerships on behalf of the WSIB. This position may participate in a variety of activities, including both investment management and ESG-related matters.

Investment management responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:
  • Managing a sub-portfolio of investment relationships.
  • Completing ongoing due diligence of existing relationships.
  • Leading and strengthening positive relationships with senior management of portfolio companies.
  • Providing strategic direction to investment partners.
  • Carrying out due diligence and underwriting of potential new company-level investments.
  • Providing feedback related to the overall strategic direction and needs of the portfolio.

This particular opportunity, in addition to an investment management role, will include significant duties and responsibilities around ESG matters:
  • Serving as the primary point of contact for the real estate team regarding ESG matters, including both internally and externally.
  • Creating and overseeing the process through which ESG matters are assessed and reported for the real estate portfolio.
  • Assessing ESG-related opportunities and risks portfolio-wide.

In all cases, team members are actively involved with the portfolio's investments; our approach is hands-on and it is expected that real estate team members spend a significant amount of time on the ground with our local investment partners. Availability for frequent business travel is required, including internationally, as this is an actively managed portfolio which includes a significant non-U.S. component. Candidates may expect to travel as much as 50% of the time.

ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES:

Oversight of real estate partnership investments, which are primarily structured as controlling interests of operating companies, and oversight of ESG-related matters in the real estate portfolio. This oversight includes:
  • Maintaining awareness of the performance of the holdings of each partner relationship assigned, through constant communication and regular onsite reviews.
  • Building and maintaining positive communication and relationships with the management teams of the assigned partnerships.
  • Working with senior management teams of assigned relationships to provide strategic direction.
  • Assuring partners' adherence to agreed strategy parameters.
  • Involvement in the annual business planning/budgeting process of investment partners.
  • Maintaining a constant dialogue with investment partners regarding strategic, financial, operational, and other matters.

Review proposed real estate partnership investments and recommend the pursuit or rejection thereof; recommend changes to strategies or terms of existing partnerships. This process may include:
  • Strategy overview and market underwriting.
  • On-site due diligence, including key meetings with potential partners' senior management.
  • Review of documentation; company background research.
  • Risk, financial structure, legal, and tax analyses.
  • Prepare and present recommendations based on findings and conclusions.
  • Negotiate key terms and conditions of investment agreements and oversee partners' compliance with agreed terms.
  • Complete other general market and economic research as necessary. This may include research regarding real estate markets, including international markets.
  • Work as part of the real estate team in forming long-term strategic direction.

The incumbent can expect to spend a meaningful portion of their professional time working on ESG subjects as they relate to the WSIB's real estate portfolio. These activities will include but are not limited to:
  • Overseeing the collection, organization, and reporting of ESG activities and data across the global real estate portfolio.
  • Working with investment partners to identify and assess attractiveness of ESG-impacted investment opportunities.
  • Assessing ESG-related risks across the portfolio.
  • Leading efforts to create and manage a bespoke ESG impact measurement tool and process.
  • Staying informed of developments in voluntary and required sustainability reporting in real estate globally.
  • Serving as the primary interface between the real estate team and the WSIB's Sustainability Officer, as well as others in the organization, regarding ESG initiatives and reporting.

QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Bachelor's degree in business, finance, real estate, or economics; AND 5 years of direct and comparable experience in institutional real estate investment management. While direct and comparable experience is strongly preferred, in lieu of this experience requirement, substitutions may be made as follows:
  • 2 years of full-time institutional-level real estate asset management experience (not property management) may substitute for each year of direct investment experience.
  • 3 years of full-time experience in major, national/international commercial real estate lending to institutional real estate borrowers while employed at a national or global lending institution may be substituted for each year of direct investment experience.
  • 2 years of full-time experience in institutional-level private equity investment may be substituted for each year of direct experience.

The following may substitute for up to 1 year in total of the 5 years' experience requirement:
  • An advanced degree in real estate, finance, economics, or business. Candidates with an appropriate advanced degree may have, and are even encouraged to have, an undergraduate degree in another discipline OR
  • A Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Enthusiasm and passion for ESG and sustainability matters, with an open-mindedness regarding how these matters are assessed, prioritized, and acted upon; the WSIB real estate team has a differentiated approach to and view of ESG, compared to other investors and asset classes.
  • Experience in underwriting and evaluating management teams involved in commercial real estate investment.
  • Knowledge of global commercial real estate investment industry trends.
  • A working understanding of typical investment capital structures.
  • Highly-developed skills in negotiating, structuring, and documenting complex partnership agreements.
  • Knowledge of capital markets and related activities, events, and trends.
  • Ability to analyze and summarize financial, economic, statistical, legal, demographic, accounting, market, and other relevant data.
  • Strong risk assessment skills.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, as written reports and oral presentations are an integral part of the responsibilities of the position.
  • Very importantly, considerable familiarity with global economic and demographic trends, world geography, and geopolitics.

PLEASE NOTE: Experience in the areas of property management, leasing, brokerage/sales, local banking, residential mortgage origination or servicing, government finance, and securities sales will not be counted towards any of the above experience requirements.

TO APPLY PLEASE CLICK "APPLY" BUTTON

In addition to a complete profile, please include:
  • A cover letter specifying why this position is of interest to you and how you meet the qualifications listed above. This letter should be no more than two pages.
  • A current chronological resume.
  • A list of at least three professional references under the profile section. References will not be contacted without the written consent of the applicant but must be submitted at the time of application.

The initial screening will be based on the content and completeness of your application and the materials submitted. Failure to follow the application instructions may lead to disqualification. All information may be verified and documentation may be required.

Candidate evaluation will be ongoing and the WSIB may make a hiring decision at any time. It will be to the candidate's advantage to submit materials as soon as possible.

BACKGROUND CHECK:

Prior to a new hire, a background check including criminal record history will be conducted. Information from the background check will not necessarily preclude employment but will be considered in determining applicant's suitability and competence to perform in the position.

At the WSIB...

You'll experience true work-life balance and talented, passionate co-workers focused on maximizing the investment returns for the exclusive benefit of the beneficiaries. The WSIB is a respected institutional investor and thought leader in its industry and we value diverse perspectives and life experiences.

The WSIB is an equal opportunity employer. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing this announcement in an alternative format or assistance in the application process please contact Human Resources at HR@sib.wa.gov.
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