Sylvain Raynes at CapitaLand

I just spent two wonderful days in Singapore teaching a risk-management and valuation seminar to managers at CapitalLand, a leading Asian real estate and property management concern. CapitaLand has a strong knowledge culture, and Singaporeans are also consummate hosts–at least, my hosts were. Dr. Boaz Boon (head of CapitaLand’s corporate research department), John Pang (Managing Director of CapitaLand Financial) and Wen Khai Meng (CEO of CapitaLand Financial) made exquisite arrangements, allowing me to focus entirely on delivering lectures.

The venue was the CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business [CLIMB] on Sentosa Island, a swanky resort off the coast of Singapore. The location was idyllic, surrounded by palm trees, singing birds and exotic flora, and the weather was superb—a perfect learning environment. (The only downside was the humidity: Singapore is near the equator!)

The course was oversubscribed and the classroom packed with 40 students eager to learn security valuation à la R&R Consulting. Given the difficulty level of the material, their patience and engagement throughout the lectures amazed me. They were not afraid to ask pertinent questions and seemed happy to listen to my usually long-winded disquisitions! Instead, they were highly inquisitive, eager to learn and to understand what went wrong up to the US sub-prime crisis. I added commentary on the Jim Cramer-CNBC incident and some interviews with Bloomberg TV to add some light notes. I also presented special material on risk management optimization for bank loan portfolios and a priori structuring of a solar energy system securitization using a Type III credit-card master trust.

I was very surprised and pleased to learn that CapitaLand had employed the Type III CCMT as far back as 2003 in a real estate context, so this was not really news at CL. In fact, the company has been quite innovative in the real estate sector as well as in the area of REIT-structuring, more so in fact than NY investment banks ever have been. CapitaLand prides itself on efficient management techniques, and I was able to witness first-hand the quality of their managerial expertise. If given a chance, they could teach a trick or two to American real estate managers!