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Jonathan morris, a former executive with three publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), is looking to fill a gap he sees in the industry’s knowledge of REITs.

Morris, a 30-year commercial real estate veteran who has has been teaching at Georgetown University for 11 years, throw it FPI Academy, The business observer has learned. He said the academy aims to improve knowledge levels about the structure of REITs in the hope that the industry can expand beyond the 180 REITs that are currently trading in the market. New York Stock Exchange.

“The target audience is from working professionals to board members,” said Morris, whose extensive REIT experience has included stints as director of acquisitions at Boston Properties and Charles E. Smith Residential Real Estate, before merging with Archstone Communities. “Many people could use this detailed information about how REITs actually work and the many advantages that REITs have over a private fund to acquire assets. “

With the REIT industry now a $ 1.5 trillion business, Morris said the pace of new public REIT launches has slowed. He said 100 were created between 1993 and 1994 alone, but have declined since. Its program will also explore the private REIT market.

The REIT Academy is in partnership with the Institute of Portfolio Alternatives (IPA), which promotes the program to its many members which include private REITs, registered investment advisers, fund sponsors and lawyers. IPA CEO Tony chereso said he was particularly excited for the members to take Morris’ “Masterclass for executive REITs“which details investments from inception to their conversation as initial public offerings and beyond.

“Our charter here at IPA is not just advocacy, but data research and education,” said Chereso, who connected with Morris through a mutual friend. “It was interesting to hear his take on this masterclass, because one of the things we need to continue to do among the people who distribute our products – the retail broker, the financial advisor – is provide them with the tools and the training they need to understand what they are selling.

After holding executive positions at Boston Properties and Charles E. Smith, Morris worked in the private real estate industry as the founder of LMH real estate group, a subsidiary of Lerner companies, and Managing Director of Capital Markets at JLL. He returned to the REIT world in May 2019 for a nearly one-year term as Chief Investment Officer at Armada Hoffler Properties.

Morris has created REIT courses in Georgetown for the Washington, DC-based school’s Masters of Real Estate program as an assistant professor since arriving on campus in 2010.

The “Executive REIT Masterclass” launch the eight-week REIT Academy program via Zoom one evening a week for three hours. It will feature guest speakers from the industry who will talk about their experiences for one hour per class.

Other programs planned as part of the academy include an “Executive, Board Members and C-Suite” series that addresses specific topics of interest to REIT professionals and allied industries. It will also offer training sessions tailored to specific companies as well as individual coaching for executives.

Morris said the courses will provide several REIT research reports for review each week, along with case studies. He also hopes to address many current topics of interest facing the commercial real estate industry, such as greater pressure for greater diversity on REIT boards and the implementation place of environmental, social and governance (ESG) platforms.

An advisory board of the REIT Academy consists of Morris; David Auerbach, an institutional trader in Global Equity Group; Evan hudson, partner of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; Hall Jones, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Four Springs Capital Markets; Alex Pettee, president, director of research and exchange-traded funds at Hoya Capital Real Estate; Craig smith, senior rental manager at Crombie REIT and research director at Anchor brokers in South Africa; and Juliana Hess, a current Georgetown Masters in Real Estate Finance.

Ultimately, Morris would like the REIT board members to take courses under the program to learn more about their industry. In addition to serving REIT professionals, Morris hopes the program can benefit the entire commercial real estate industry.

“We have investment bankers, lawyers, accountants and brokers who touch and solicit business from REITs on a daily basis,” Morris said. “I think it would be helpful if the senior executives of these teams took this course and could better understand how their clients are structured, what their goals are, why they have so little debt, what investors see in them. and get to know what’s behind the curtain.

Andrew Coen can be contacted at [email protected].

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