Brexit uncertainty may hit London office market

Euro and Pound banknotes are seen in front of BREXIT letters in this photo illustration taken on April 28, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 May 2017

Brexit uncertainty may hit London office market

LONDON: Britain’s largest listed property developer Land Securities warned that Brexit had created business uncertainty in the London office market, leading to falls in demand, rental values and construction commitments.
The developer behind London’s “Walkie Talkie” skyscraper reported a 1.2 percent fall in adjusted diluted net asset value (NAV) — a measure of a developer’s buildings — to 1,417 pence for the year to March 31.
Analysts on average had expected adjusted NAV of 1,372 pence, according to a company-supplied consensus.
“We won’t be sure of the long-term effect of Brexit on our markets for some time....We are taking this time to prepare the business for the opportunities and challenges we see ahead,” Chief Executive Robert Noel said in a statement.
Among the FTSE-100 commercial developers, Land Securities has the largest exposure to UK offices, which could feel an impact as financial firms are considering moving some work out of Britain due to Brexit.
The company said rental values in the London office market were unlikely to grow, unless there was more certainty on the free movement of people and Britain’s terms of trade with the EU.
Land Securities had entered the downturn with limited exposure to development projects that were proceeding without tenants, longer-than-industry average lease lengths on its properties and high occupancy.
On Wednesday, peer British Land forecast persisting uncertainty in the British property market for some considerable time as Brexit talks proceed, even as it noted that London office customers were taking longer to make decisions on moves.
Land Securities said on Thursday it had just 283,000 square feet of available office space developed to let, after turning cautious on speculative development in 2015.
It could decide to exploit 1.4 million square feet of future development opportunities, when the time was right, it added.
In comparison, British Land stayed bullish on such construction for longer and exposure to such projects without tenant releases stands at below 4 percent, but is still worth about £1.7 billion.

Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 26 April 2018

Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.