Back in 2007, left behind by the likes of the US, the UK and (shock horror!) France, the German government moved with its customary celerity to create its own REIT sector. A year before, and two years after Emmanuel Valavanis and I had set up Lockhart Securities to specialise in Continental small and midcaps, a fund manager client with his own fund of European quoted property securities rang us to enquire about investing in the sector in Germany. What was quoted (if anything) and could we take him round to see them? Both being bilingual in German (a considerable help), a tour was quickly organised by Manny. What they saw was instructive – the market capitalisation of the entire quoted sector in 2005, at about €6bn, in the world’s third largest economy, would have cost you less than two thirds of Land Securities.
Armed with a few decent buy orders, off we set on the quest to build up a decent weighting. This came as quite a shock to the boards of the aforesaid companies, who had only dealt with local mom and pop private clients until then. It was of no interest to bulge bracket banks, who let their recently acquired stockbroking subsidiaries carry on in their usual sleepy manner as we crept in under the radar.