30 May 2024

Paul Richards and Ed Protheroe spent the week in Leeds in May at UKREiiF 2024. All the key stakeholders in one place, for real estate and infrastructure in the UK. Including local and central government, funders, investors, developers, agencies, tech firms. Grappling with the big issues facing us all in the built environment now and in the years to come. Challenges, yes. But fantastic opportunities too.
One of the most important takeaways - the need for more collaboration. On all sides, with all sides.
After a week of conversations at UKREiiF with ministers, officials, members, prospective members, and colleagues, here are the key themes that kept repeating.
Housing is high on the agenda of both parties, as Angela Rayner demonstrated in her speech at UKREiiF, and was the most frequently mentioned target sector for fund managers and investors, almost to the exclusion of other sectors. Investors, both UK and overseas, find UK residential an attractive sector because of the supply/demand imbalance and it should be flourishing, but there are serious obstacles to be addressed.
Difficulties with the planning system were a recurring theme in many conversations, be they with government, investors or fund managers. Time delays and inconsistency between local authorities mean that it is difficult for developers and fund managers to demonstrate certainty in their appraisals to their investors, and this makes it more difficult to raise capital and start projects, be they in housing, life sciences or other growth sectors.
Legal uncertainty
Initiatives to reform leasehold in England & Wales could reduce the confidence of overseas investors in UK property law. Discussions on rent controls are giving investors pause for thought about investment in the UK private rental sector.
Sourcing UK capital
The move in the UK from DB to DC pensions and the operational difficulties that DC pensions face in investing in illiquids like real estate and infrastructure only add to the challenges. As members will know, this has been a preoccupation of AREF for many years and we have made some progress in spreading awareness of the problem across government departments.
UKREiiF was a fantastic forum to discuss these topics with a diverse range of colleagues in a short space of time and we will be back next year. AREF will continue to engage with government and regulators on these issues, working with members and other organisations toward solutions.



Ed Protheroe

Ed Protheroe

Strategy Consultant, AREF

Ed consults for and acts on behalf of AREF on several Board initiatives around communications, strategy and business development. Before founding consulting firm Parkview Capital Ltd in Feb 2017, he had senior franchise and business management roles at M&G Investments and M&G Real Estate. He has also been Head of Research at a boutique broker and, previously, was an award-winning pan-European equities fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Management.