Describe your career path and why you chose BNP Paribas Real Estate.
Rick Niemeijer: I grew up in a family that was active in construction and development, so I’ve always had a sense for real estate. I did my Masters in Real Estate in London while working at AIG and returned to Amsterdam to start working for the predecessor of BNP Paribas Real Estate. I chose asset management because it involves working on the building itself, rather than just working with a spreadsheet. When BNP Paribas Real Estate took over that company in 2012, we used BNP Paribas Real Estate’s experience and network to expand rapidly. I now manage over 2 billion euros in real estate assets!
What does your role as Director of Asset Management and Investment Management involve?
RN: As a director I work with a team of 10 asset managers. Each has their own specialisation in real estate categories in different regions in the Netherlands. I also work with a separate team of investment specialists to manage the dispositions of the portfolios we have under assignment. In addition, my team collaborates with BNP Paribas Real Estate Property Management and Capital Markets, both locally and internationally, to give clients a full range of services for their assets.
What are some exciting trends emerging in investment management today?
RN: Smart uses of new technology are one exciting trend. For example, we are now seeing the development of apps to monitor asset portfolios. Real estate can be quite conservative but we have a young and dynamic team, we’re always looking for innovation. We already use asset management apps, building apps, and data-led marketing campaigns in our Netherlands offices.
We’re also seeing more clients choosing to use a global package deal: this means that we can advise in the Netherlands, but also in other countries such as Germany and Belgium thanks to BNP Paribas Real Estate’s international network.
What is your goal for asset management in the Netherlands?
RN: Our competitors say they work 100% for their clients’ interests, but the reality is, they are only providing a service. More than just a service, BNP Paribas Real Estate Asset Management aims to become an extension of the owner in every sense. We are adapting our services, approaches and fees to this principle.
What are the most important skills for someone in your department?
RN: In-depth knowledge of real estate is crucial of course, but in the end, real estate is a people’s business. As an asset manager you’ll have to exchange with clients, occupiers, tenants and countless other parties. People skills are important to succeed in asset management. The rest can be learned from on-the-job training.