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Where is ‘creative’ real estate
finance going in the post-Enron
As we approach the end of Volume 2 of Briefings in Real Estate
Finance it is heartening to note that the papers published in this
issue continue to reflect the diversity of professions in the industry
and the broad geographical scope that have hallmarked their
predecessors. However this industry rarely stands still and it is now
that we ask you, the reader, for your views on how you feel real
estate finance is changing in the post-Enron era and how as a
professional journal we can best reflect these trends in our published
As an increasing number of corporate collapses and financial
scandals come to light, many have asked themselves what the likely
impact on real estate finance might be and in particular where
creative real estate finance is going in the foreseeable future. But
despite the raft of publicity, what is the true impact on corporate
financial practice and the accounting and legal frameworks in which
they operate, both in the short and longer term? Feedback from the
Editorial Board and our other contacts in the industry has suggested
a number of issues are emerging on which we would value your
comments. Specifically:
. Are real estate financiers actually abandoning synthetic leases?
Are investment bankers still promoting them as actively?
. Is there in fact a trend of corporations putting deals back on the
balance sheet? Is it actually more cost effective for corporations to
simply do a debt offering through their treasury function rather
than off balance sheet finance?
. Is there anything intrinsically wrong with synthetic leases or is it
simply the perception in the market which ties them to the
corporate ethics debate that might discourage their use?
. What new financial techniques and vehicles, if any, are emerging
to replace synthetic leases?
. What processes and mechanisms do corporations now have in
place to prevent fraud and what are companies doing to ensure
they are not accused of ‘hiding’ debt? Has there been substantial
change in practice?
. Do proposed regulatory changes bode ill or well for real estate?
. How do corporations get out of a synthetic lease if they are
already in one?
Briefings in Real Estate Finance
VOL.2 NO.3
PP 201–202
. How will the real estate finance business advance to a higher and
more transparent platform with more efficient underwriting?
. What might be the impact on real estate finance transactions of
service providers splitting consulting and accounting into separate
. Is there an optimal capital structure for business real estate?
This is clearly only a selection of the fundamental issues which have
arisen over the last year and with changes to accounting rules
currently under discussion by the Financial Accounting Standards
Board (FASB) in the USA they could continue to vex the real estate
industry for some time to come. Indeed given the differences
between the two Exposure Drafts under consideration by the FASB
many corporations are sitting tight until their final decision is
known. Of course identifying the problems is more often than not
the easy half of the equation and it is now we look to you, the
reader, to identify the solutions. Observations on your experience of
these issues and salutary lessons learnt ‘in the front line’ are heartily
encouraged and we would be delighted to hear from authors who
wish to use the pages of the Journal as a forum for airing them. We
look forward to hearing from you.
Simon Beckett
Assistant Publishing Editor
# H E N R Y S T E W A R T P U B L I C A T I O N S 14 73 ^ 1 8 9 4
Briefings in Real Estate Finance
VOL.2 NO.3
PP 201–202
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