How did you get started in the REIT business?
I didn’t get my start with REITs; my forte, actually, is in retail real estate. It was my family that suggested I dive into the real estate industry. I read estate management at the National University of Singapore before joining a developer, where I did leasing work for a shopping mall. There, I discovered how fast-paced and vibrant the retail industry is. The scene could change at any time and while there is a sort of breathlessness associated with it, it was also incredibly exhilarating. Retail is fascinating because you’re always trying to predict human behaviour. You need to have a mind for strategy when it comes to mall management, and that strategy can change in a blink of an eye to accommodate new and unexpected developments. It keeps you on your toes.
Tell us about your first few years in the industry – was there one particular moment that set the precedent to your success today?
It was an awakening I had during my time with CBRE in Singapore: no matter how hard you try, there will be times when you may not succeed, and you will have to come to terms with it and move on. Experience has taught me that if I can’t swim against a wave or dive under to avoid it, my only recourse would be to ride it. I do believe you have to be as adaptive as water in order to thrive in the retail industry.
You started your REIT journey in Singapore and