This survey is part of the EDHEC Risk and Asset Management Research Centres research programme in asset allocation and alternative diversification. This programme has led to extensive research on the benefits, risks, and integration methods of alternative classes and instruments in asset allocation. After winning plaudits for its study of hedge fund strategies, EDHEC has started to explore other alternative assets. Real estate, probably the most traditional of alternative classes, is enjoying renewed favour as institutional investors search for diversification benefits and competitive yields. Institutional demand for real estate exposure has brought about improvements in market transparency and the development of new indirect and synthetic investment tools.
With target allocations to real estate increasing, research into real estate as an asset class must enable industry participants to refine traditional approaches and to consider real estate within the bounds of asset management and asset-liability management. It is in this way that research can help real estate take its place in multistyle, multi-class portfolios, contribute to the design of integration methods that optimise its risk/return trade-off, and, finally, enable the class to deliver on its full potential.
The EDHEC European Real Estate Investment and Risk Management Survey, the first phase of this research, takes stock of developments in the real estate investment market, reviews academic evidence on allocation to and management of real estate, and analyses the results of a large-scale, pan-European survey of institutional practices.