CBRE Unit Names Ritson Ferguson Global Investment Chief

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CBRE Global Investors, the asset-management affiliate of the world’s biggest commercial real estate services company, named T. Ritson Ferguson to the new post of global chief investment officer.

The move will expand his oversight of investment decisions and offerings in publicly traded and nonlisted securities, according to a statement from the Los Angeles-based unit of CBRE Group Inc. Ferguson will continue as chief executive officer and co-CIO of the affiliate’s CBRE Clarion Securities unit, a specialist in real estate investment trusts.

“The real estate business is good right now,” Ferguson, 56, said in a telephone interview. “Almost everywhere around the world you look, economies are in expansion and real estate fundamentals are improving.”

In the U.S., the recent retreat in real estate investment trusts amid expectations of rising interest rates created a buying opportunity, said Ferguson. The Bloomberg index of U.S. REITs fell about 10 percent in the second quarter and is up about 6 percent since the end of June.

It’s a “misperception” that U.S. REIT shares don’t do well when rates increase, he said, since rising rates tend to equate to an improving economy.

Ferguson recommends sticking to property types that perform best when the economy expands, including those with short-term leases that allow owners to boost rents as occupancy increases.

“We like sectors like apartments, malls, hotels and even select office markets,” Ferguson said. “What I’d be careful about in this environment is real estate that doesn’t have the ability to reprice its rental streams” because of long-term leases with little rent growth. He cited net-lease and health-care landlords as examples.

CBRE Clarion

Ferguson joined CBRE in 2011 when the company bought the real estate investment management business of ING Groep NV. He co-founded the predecessor company to Radnor, Pennsylvania-based CBRE Clarion Securities in 1991.

CBRE Global Investors, led by CEO Matt Khourie, manages about $88 billion.

Ferguson previously worked at K.S. Sweet Associates, Bain & Co., and Trammell Crow Co. He also served in the U.S. Air Force. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University.

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