Paul Finkbeiner is the EVP & Global Head of Real Estate at Great-West LIFECO and joins the podcast in this episode. He oversees $27 billion in real estate assets and was previously the President of GWL Advisors for 18 years.
We start off by hearing about Paul’s storied career in real estate after leaving his engineering job. Having been through several market downturns, Paul compares the COVID-19 pandemic to previous dark times. He explains why this one is unique and the importance of staying positive.
Topics covered include:
• Paul’s initial career as an engineer before getting an MBA.
• The recession in the early 1990s and how it affected Paul.
• Why Brookfield Property Partners wasn’t considered “cool” back in those days.
• What Paul initially liked about the real estate industry that made him stick with it.
• Debt levels in the 90s recession compared to today’s pandemic.
• Where the current recession ranks against others and why it’s different.
• How the 2008 recession impacted GWL and the discipline they executed.
• Having multiple sources of capital.
• Why Vancouver real estate investing is always different.
• Location, location, location.
• The current state of real estate investment in Alberta.
• Investment strategy differences between Canada, the US, Ireland, and the UK.
• Longer-term plans of rebalancing.
•How Paul thinks the pandemic will change office space needs.
• What the future of big box retail looks like.
• Advice for anyone looking to get into real estate now or looking for a new position.