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An investigation of property-related decision practice of Australian fund managers

Wejendra Reddy (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
David Higgins (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Ron Wakefield (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 1 April 2014

Abstract

Purpose

In Australia, the A$2.2 trillion managed funds industry including the large pension funds (known locally as superannuation funds) are the dominant institutional property investors. While statistical information on the level of Australian managed fund investments in property assets is widely available, comprehensive practical evidence on property asset allocation decision-making process is underdeveloped. The purpose of this research is to identify Australian fund manager's property asset allocation strategies and decision-making frameworks at strategic level.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was undertaken in May-August 2011 using an in-depth semi-structured questionnaire administered by mail. The survey was targeted at 130 leading managed funds and asset consultants within Australia.

Findings

The evaluation of the 79 survey respondents indicated that Australian fund manager's property allocation decision-making process is an interactive, sequential and continuous process involving multiple decision-makers (internal and external) complete with feedback loops. It involves a combination of quantitative analysis (mainly mean-variance analysis) and qualitative overlay (mainly judgement, or “gut-feeling”, and experience). In addition, the research provided evidence that the property allocation decision-making process varies depending on the size and type of managed fund.

Practical implications

This research makes important contributions to both practical and academic fields. Information on strategic property allocation models and variables is not widely available, and there is little guiding theory related to the subject. Therefore, the conceptual frameworks developed from the research will help enhance academic theory and understanding in the area of property allocation decision making. Furthermore, the research provides small fund managers and industry practitioners with a platform from which to improve their own property allocation processes.

Originality/value

In contrast to previous property decision-making research in Australia which has mainly focused on strategies at the property fund investment level, this research investigates the institutional property allocation decision-making process from a strategic position involving all major groups in the Australian managed funds industry.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the many Australian fund managers and asset consultants who gave up time to complete the industry survey.

Citation

Reddy, W., Higgins, D. and Wakefield, R. (2014), "An investigation of property-related decision practice of Australian fund managers", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 282-305. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPIF-02-2014-0014

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited