A conversation with: Audrey Klein

We sat down with Audrey Klein, Board Member at Stone Estate, to discuss the trends she has been following this year as well as how she sees the property sector emerging from Covid-19 restrictions. Audrey shares why she is optimistic about the future of the sector and how Stone Estate is poised to take advantage of the new opportunities that will arise.

What is your role within Reech Corporations Group?

I’m currently serving as a non-executive director on the board of Stone Estate, within Reech Corporations Group. I’ve spent 25 years in real estate, primarily focused on capital markets and fundraising within the sector – and it’s this experience that I look to apply to my role at Stone Estate.

Building a value-add real estate business within the RCG umbrella is an exciting project to be involved with. There is an excellent team in place at Stone Estate and across RCG more broadly, talent that is hugely exciting to work with given the breadth and depth of skills and experience. Working closely with this team, I’m really eager to provide guidance where I can plug in my own experience around fundraising and investment where I can.

What have been the top trends you’ve been following this year?

Firstly, the rise of PropTech in the real estate sector has been incredible to witness. It is opening up new possibilities and opportunities that were once impossible to imagine in a traditional sector like real estate.

It’s encouraging to see RCG take concrete steps into PropTech through RE5Q, building its track record in a high growth area, and applying this experience across the wider Group, including Stone Estate.

Secondly, ESG has been gaining momentum over the past five years, with increased focus during the pandemic. Investors and advisors, more and more, are assigning ESG as a necessary criterion for investment in real estate. It’s evolved from simply a talking point to an essential component for businesses – and it’s now at tipping point as it becomes more widespread.

What are your main observations as we start to emerge from Covid restrictions?

Through my conversations with investors throughout this unique time, there is a growing sense that a correction is inevitable within the next six to twelve months. This means that for property investors, a pricing opportunity is no doubt around the corner.

A medical solution will clearly be a real gamechanger, but it is positive to see people returning to a promising quasi-normal, paving the way for a favourable environment for asset pricing. This spells a good opportunity for business and I expect this to be reflected in the next coming months.

What does the future look like for real estate markets?

I am optimistic about the future in the sector. Something I have always loved about real estate is the fact that it is tangible, and that it is an excellent hedge against inflation. Unlike the Global Financial Crisis – which was largely a banking-led, and therefore a lending crisis – in the current climate, where banks are healthy and borrowing is high, inflation is an inevitability. For people who want to protect their portfolio – real estate matters.

While today we are seeing a major economic crisis that feels very different to 2008, the tangible nature of real estate ensures its strength for the future.

What’s next for Stone Estate?

With 25 years of experience of speaking to investors almost every single day, I know what they want and how they think. No matter the quality of the product or opportunity, what underlines everything is an excellent team. Reputation is also extremely important, and Stone Estate has managed to build a highly reputable, first-class team.

I have worked with Fabian for 10 years and his track record speaks for itself. He’s an excellent critical thinker and the best of the best in the market. The management of the business has assembled an outstanding team and they have the ability to add value to any portfolio, asset or situation.

This is no mean feat, especially in the Swiss market, which requires a unique combination of outstanding reputation and a cutting-edge, differentiated offering. I’m very excited for the future for Stone Estate, where I believe there is huge potential this year. I’m thrilled to be part of the next exciting phase of growth.

How are you spending the Summer break?

This summer has provided a great chance for reflection about the important things in life. And given the major health crisis that the world is facing, this has meant I’m focusing much more on the importance of healthy living. I’ve had the chance to spend more time exercising and cooking healthily, and I relish my 5K runs a few times each week.

I also spent some time in the Swiss alps this summer, a beautiful part of the world that I have always loved. It helped me switch off and prepare myself for the next half of the year, which will no doubt be a busy one.

Audrey Klein is a Board Member of Stone Estate. She is currently the Head of Fundraising for Kennedy Wilson Europe. Prior to this she held roles at Cromwell and Corestate but is best known for starting the European business out of London for the Park Hill Real Estate Group, a Division of Blackstone, which she ran for nine years.