William Buck New Zealand
As a fully integrated firm of Chartered Accountants and advisors, William Buck provides a complete solution. Putting you at the core of the business, our advisors work together to ensure that careful consideration is given to your business and personal wealth affairs.
Working closely with you and your team, our Business Advisors can help you plan and implement contemporary business strategies and practices to meet your business’s full potential.
Our commercially minded tax specialists offer clear, responsive advice to manage your tax risk, address local and international issues, and develop strategies to optimise your tax position.
Our highly experienced team of liquidators and trustees use their extensive expertise to assist in times of financial distress, achieving the best outcome for all stakeholders.
Our audit team has extensive experience in a range of engagements, giving stakeholders independent and objective assurance on financial information, transactions and processes.
By understanding not only what you want to achieve but why it’s important, our wealth advisors can create strategies attuned to your key priorities. The end result is a plan focused on your life goals.
Our Corporate Advisory team provides objective, strategic and commercial advice across a broad range of business issues. Our work spans the breadth each engagement from the origination of ideas to managing the transaction process, valuation and structuring.
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William Buck has a team of professionals with specialist experience and know-how on a range of industry sectors.
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Assisting public and private schools, vocational colleges, universities and private training providers, our education specialists provide timely and valuable assurance services together with strategic, financial and management advice.
Our Government and public sector team has substantial experience in assisting all levels of government to review their structures and develop strategies, in line with relevant legislative requirements and accounting and audit standards.
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Our advisors understand the challenges and opportunities facing the professional services sector first hand. This experience together with our expertise helps to determine your strategic objectives and provide concise, relevant advice to help you achieve your goals.
Our property and construction team assist on a wide range of assignments from property development to construction and large infrastructure projects. Their diverse experience, technical expertise and commercial know-how to help you tackle the important issues.
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We work with individuals, businesses and community organisations with a particular focus on the mid-market. Drawing on our extensive experience, our advisors will challenge your thinking and re-frame problems to understand their root-cause.
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In Part 2 we will examine the common risks associated with investing in a commercial property fund. A commercial property fund allows an investor to achieve a level of diversification and scale which is difficult to achieve as a single, stand-alone investor.
The primary risk for any investment is the specific market risk. The price of a commercial property is affected by a number of factors; including the demand for a particular type of property compared to future supply. The rental income is subject to the demand by tenants for commercial space and tenants’ ongoing ability to make rental payments.
Property expenses vary over time and may include capital improvements and ongoing expenses for general maintenance and repairs.
The current commercial property cycle is now over eight years old, implying market related risks are growing higher.
Gearing magnifies both gains and losses on a property investment. A fund with higher gearing may experience larger fluctuations in value compared to funds with lower levels. A higher gearing level can create the illusion of superior returns.
The following example illustrates the impact of gearing on a fund’s equity when property prices change. Consider a scenario where a fund purchases a property for $1 million using a loan of $650,000, equivalent to a Loan to Valuation Ratio (LVR) of 65%.
The example illustrates the power of gearing. A +/- 10% return on the property translates into a +/- 29% change in the value of the investor’s equity. Gearing works well in a rising market, but can be equally damaging in a falling market.
Investors should look for investments with lower gearing or look to reduce gearing at this point in the cycle. This will reduce the impact of falling prices on equity values when the cycle begins to turn.
An investor should look closely at the composition of any income distributions received from a fund. It is often easy to assume the income received is only the rental income remaining after expenses. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
A commercial property fund may distribute other forms of capital which creates the illusion of a higher yield. A higher yield is more attractive to investors in a low interest rate environment.
For example, a manger may draw down additional capital from the loan secured against the property to “top up” the distribution. This reduces the value of the investment as the investor is receiving a portion of their own capital back.
Changes in interest rates may affect the amount of income available for distribution. Rising interest rates may require rental income to be diverted from distributions to pay the higher interest expense.
Interest rate risk can be migrated on some level by fixing the interest rate for a period. However, the fund may be unable to refinance a debt facility on agreeable terms when the current loan agreement expires.
Commercial property transactions occur in an unlisted market and the asset class is considered illiquid. This means an investor does not have immediate access to their capital.
Selling commercial property generally takes three to six months and may take longer in a market downturn. The lack of liquidity in the property markets means an investor is unable to readily react to changing market conditions by selling an investment.
An investor in a fund delegates the day to day management of a property to an investment manager. As a result, the fund is reliant on the manager’s experience and skill. An investor should ensure that thorough due diligence is completed on a manager prior to investing.
Key areas include the key personnel’s background, the organisation’s investment track record and governance structure.
An investor is relying on the manager to mitigate the key risks discussed above. Poor investment management can lead to substandard investment outcomes, even when the overall market is rising in value.
In Part 3 of our commercial property focus we will conclude our analysis with a discussion on the outlook for the sector and how this is reflected in our current asset allocation and portfolio construction.