Forum Investment Group’s Amanda Teeple on How Real Estate-Driven Alts Can Best Partner with Wealth Management Firms in a Rapidly Changing Industry
In a fast-changing asset management landscape, real estate-driven retail alternatives will continue to remain relevant for retail investors – and the wealth management firms that serve them – who are seeking the right mix of durable yield, diversification and capital appreciation.
This is especially the case in an environment where interest rates remain at historically low levels, inflationary pressures are potentially on the rise, and market volatility is more of a concern than ever.
One example of a real estate-driven alts provider that is continuing to grow by keeping its offerings to financial advisors and their end clients relevant is Forum Investment Group, a Denver-based private real estate investment manager. The company encompasses affiliate entities Forum Real Estate Group (“FREG”) and Forum Capital Advisors (“FCA”), a registered investment adviser and manager of all of the firm’s fund products.
Forum focuses primarily on multifamily real estate through acquisition, development, and commercial real estate debt investment opportunities across real estate cycles and the full capital stack with a focus on current income and long-term value creation and appreciation.
The company works closely with high net worth, single family offices, multifamily offices and RIA firms across the country to identify investment opportunities that help meet investor goals – Including generation of current income and long-term value creation and appreciation.
With 55 employees and headquarters in Denver, Colorado, Forum has $2.1 billion in AUM, as well as a total historical portfolio of 62 properties across 19 states, totaling 13,040 multifamily units.
Amanda Teeple, Forum’s Senior Managing Director, Operations & Business Development, joined the firm in October 2020, after an extensive career throughout wealth management and asset management, including serving in the past as Due Diligence Officer at Triad Advisors, the hybrid advisor-focused IBD and RIA.
In her current role, Teeple oversees project management, product design and client due diligence processes for Forum, as well as management of all of Forum’s investment vehicles.
Wealth Solutions Report recently connected with Teeple to get her views on the future of real estate-driven alternative investments, how alts asset managers can most effectively partner with the wealth management space, and what’s new at Forum Investment Group as part of this broader context.
WSR: How have your experiences at wealth management firms, asset managers and wholesale broker-dealers made you more effective in helping to anticipate and meet the needs and of financial advisors seeking real estate-based alts solutions for their clients?
Teeple: Over my career, I’ve had the privilege to grow cross-dimensionally in the alternatives industry. My roles have ranged from entry-level sales positions to running distribution firms and from basic product diligence for broker/dealers to creating products for multi-billion-dollar institutions. Being involved in these types of transactions and with firms of all sizes has given me a broader understanding alternatives industry.
One of the most pivotal lessons I learned in my career was as an entry-level sales associate at a real estate asset management firm who invested heavily in the investor experience. They demonstrated what true investor loyalty looked like, and it went well beyond profits, IRRs, and monthly distributions.
Instead, we focused on getting to know clients, their personal and professional goals, challenges, and struggles. Loyalty is achieved by anticipating a clients’ needs and helping them find a solution that meets their current problem. Oftentimes it is the longer road less taken, but in my experience, it has also been more rewarding.
I have found that by combining these two key initiatives – industry knowledge plus investor loyalty – any firm can meet the needs of their financial advisors and their clients by providing them with unique alternative-based offerings.
WSR: It’s been nearly one full year since you joined Forum Investment Group – What do you view as your top professional achievements over the course of the past 12 months, and why?
Teeple: The successful conversion of the predecessor fund (the Forum Integrated Income Fund [FIIF]) into the Forum CRE Income Fund (FCREIF) ’40 Act structure in less than four months was a huge feat and accomplishment.
In a market that is oversaturated by both new and existing interval and tender offer funds, we found a way to take our investment strategy and bring it to the market already having a successful track record and significant assets under management.
While just bringing FCREIF to market would have been achievement enough, the Forum team has already raised significant capital and AUM in only a few months, and we are on target for meeting capital raise, distribution, and investment goals for the year.
WSR: Have pandemic-related disruptions to the residential real estate markets created any new potential upside opportunities for investors? If so, what are the three biggest potential opportunities that Forum is seeing, and how is the company helping wealth management firms and their financial advisors align such opportunities with their end clients?
Teeple: With Forum’s ability to invest throughout the entire capital stack of multifamily opportunities and with the firm’s expertise in multifamily acquisitions, development, and commercial real estate debt, the company has been able to work with its financial advisors and wealth management firms to design product and find investments that meet investor’s needs today. We have seen opportunities in all three areas of the firm.
First, let’s look at multifamily developments. Pre-pandemic, Forum was a top acquirer of multifamily deals. Today, because of the downward trend in multifamily cap rates, the firm now builds more apartments than it buys. The multifamily development market has taken off post-pandemic, in part due to acquisition cap rates and market dynamics, but also due to the number of investors who are looking for the long-term value creation that a development opportunity can possibly provide.
Next, let’s discuss commercial real estate debt and credit. To meet investors’ current income needs, Forum has also put more emphasis on the firm’s commercial real estate debt and credit funds.
Our biggest opportunity here came when current investors asked us to find a way to allow them to continue to add money to a previously closed debt fund, which did with the conversion to an evergreen ’40 Act tender offer Fund. In addition, we have brought on board our own credit team to originate and source preferred and mezzanine debt for institutional investors and SMAs.
And, let’s talk about dispositions. While the acquisitions market has not been kind to income-seeking investors such as Forum, the opportunity for successful dispositions has been quite meaningful. In 2021 alone, Forum has sold or is under contract to sell a number of properties in its current portfolio at attractive prices.
WSR: What are best practices for real estate alternative asset managers to drive maximum alignment of interests among the asset manager, wealth manager and end client?
Teeple: Finding expense, fee and investment liquidity structures that are fair and not punitive to the end-investor is key to driving alignment of interest among the three parties.
These structural components of a fund or investment are critical to assuring that an investor can allocate portfolio capital to real estate with reasonable expenses and overhead, helping them to maximize their investment returns while still maintaining optionality to access their capital via liquidity features.
Moreover, these attributes help assure there is an investor – manager balance and alignment of interests while still providing potential economic rewards to all parties.
Michael Madden, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org