CRE Portfolio Management Analyst Questions

I just started this position as an analyst at a large co. and need some help understanding how this fits in the grand scheme of things. More so starting off in this position in comparison to a credit analyst for example. How is portfolio management seen by the rest of the departments in Commercial Real Estate Finance? Does this provide me with good experience that would be transferable to other positions within the industry?
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Comments (13)

Dec 7, 2017

Are you at a bank? From my experience most originators/real estate finance professionals look down at PM and Credit in banking. I can't really comment on REITs/REPE...very dependent on the culture.

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Dec 7, 2017

I doubt RE guys look down upon a debt guy from WF or JP

However, speaking upon PM in lending.. I have heard it is boring as shit. Basically monitoring the portfolio and checking to see if the DSCR moved .000000001

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Dec 7, 2017

I work at a large financial services and life insurance co that deals with real estate as it's form of investing.

Array
Dec 7, 2017

What I'm trying to say as a my first job, does this type of experience provide good experience? Exit opportunity?

Array
Dec 12, 2017

Could you clarify, in your organization, what the difference is in responsibilities between a credit analyst and portfolio manager? The terms sometimes interchange at my bank.

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Dec 12, 2017

From what I have seen CA would support an originator on prospective transactions while PM is focused on asset management.

Dec 7, 2017

Credit Analysts work with the originations, underwriters, etc on deals. This is the area of lending you want to be in for the best exit ops to owners/developers/etc

Portfolio Management is the monitoring of the current loans on the banks/life cos balance sheet.

Dec 12, 2017

Great; that's what I thought. You're absolutely right. Portfolio management would definitely be more internal support than client-facing.

Exit ops for credit analysts are greater for sure. REITs, developers, asset managers, REPE, debt funds etc.

Dec 12, 2017

What do you mean by portfolio management? Are you working as an analyst to a portfolio manager that sets the strategy for a portfolio and reviews deals that originators are pitching, or do you mean asset management where you are handling borrower requests and tracking the performance of the portfolio?

If it is the former, where you are an analyst to a portfolio manager/investment committee member and decides if a deal gets done, then you are working for the person that truly makes all of the decisions. Those groups tend to be very small (usually just a PM and an analyst). If you happen to be that analyst, good for you; you should be learning as much as you can from that person because to get there, they most likely have had a pretty interesting career.

If it is the latter, then I will say that there is generally this preconceived notion that debt asset managers are somehow lesser than others in the field. The thought is something along the lines of "the PM set the strategy, the originator went and reeled it in, and the asset manager is just there to babysit it." I'm in debt asset management for a large life company and really it is more like "the PM planned the party, the originator threw it, and the asset manager will bail everyone out of jail, bribe the judge to expunge everyone's record, clean up the party hall, AND bake cookies."

That said, everything you learn is definitely transferable to other positions in the industry. Mostly, you learn what not to do when you become an originator or what not to let your originators pull on you when you are a true PM.

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Dec 7, 2017

Thanks for the great reply, yes I work under the portfolio manager. My responsibilities include maintenance of the database and variety of reporting. From what I am taking away we manage the loans while other departments originate them fund and close them. It is definitely back office. As I work towards my CFA would sticking with this department help in the long run?

Array
Dec 12, 2017

Oh lord. If you think that is back office, then you need to recalibrate your thinking. Working on a true portfolio management team/for a portfolio manager that sits on investment committee (or is investment committee) is the furthest thing from back office. It is literally the place where the entire strategy that EVERYONE else is working for is crafted and tweaked. That person makes ALL of the decisions. That is the definition of a front office job.

As an analyst, the job is going to be a lot of reporting, research, and building power points (I was in PM for several years myself) vs. asset level work, but taking the opportunity to learn all you can about how those things work will only make you better later on. It will teach you how to set strategy, what to look for in deals (common pitfalls and origination errors), and how to handle people at the highest levels (being an analyst to a PM of a $20b portfolio at 25 allowed me to meet executives at companies all over the world as well as attend meetings with senior management where other analysts were never invited).

Will sticking with this group help you? Most likely yes, because essentially the PM you work for is the customer of everyone else in the real estate organization. His/her endorsement when you want to move on will most likely be enough to get you whatever job you want. Want confirmation? My guess is that the PM you work for has had an analyst before. Figure out where those other analysts have gone in the past.

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Dec 7, 2017

Thank you that really helps a lot. I'm just getting concerned being my first job and all. If I could ask you a little more what things should I expect to be doing/learning to know I am on the right path. Versus some red flag indicators that arn't really contributing to career growth? I have an undergrad background in Econ and stats and am trying to learn more about the finance industry.

Array
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Dec 12, 2017
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