Richard is Head of Real Estate for Australia and New Zealand based in the Sydney office and has primary responsibilities over GIC’s real estate portfolio in Australia and New Zealand. GIC has a sizeable, well-diversified real estate portfolio in Australia, with high quality assets across various sectors (logistics, hospitality, office, retail, multifamily, healthcare and student accommodation).
Richard has been with GIC Real Estate since 2016 and has overseen direct, co-investment, fund and Merger & Acquisitions transactions across various sectors and has extensive experience in both investment and asset management. Richard is a member of GIC’s Asia Investment Committee, and he holds various directorship, Investment Committee and Advisory Committee appointments related to GIC RE’s investments.
Outside of work, Richard enjoys exercising and family time. A few years ago, he wanted to challenge himself to learn something completely outside his comfort zone that gave him an outlet from his busy schedule. Inspired by his daughter who trains in Brazilian Jui Jitsu, he took up Muay Thai, a martial art that is intense, highly technical, and requires a heap of strategy. To ensure he got the fundamentals right and not just “wing it”, Richard hired a coach to guide him and trained with as many people as possible. He enjoys the learning journey rather than being focused on a particular end goal.
Why did you decide to join GIC?
GIC’s brand in the Australian market is highly recognised, particularly in real estate, given their investments in the country since the mid-90s. When I received an offer for a potential role within GIC’s Real Estate department, I knew that opportunities like this was rare and jumped at the chance to join such a preeminent global organisation that values its people and invests heavily in their development.
When I first joined GIC, I was unsure of what to expect. I had some concerns about the potential bureaucracy that comes with a large organisation. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the internal structures are incredibly flat and accessible. At GIC, juniors are given an incredible amount of exposure and encouraged to speak up and engage with senior team members directly. Our leaders regularly communicate with employees across departments, which creates a culture of openness and transparency. In the Real Estate department, our investment committee meetings are open to all Real Estate staff. I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of such an exceptional organisation.
What does your typical workday look like?
I have never been an early riser but over the past few years, I have reluctantly changed my habits to exercise early, which could be gym, Muay Thai or spin class. I aim for four to five workouts a week, as it energizes me for the rest of the day.
Each morning, I have the pleasure of taking my six year old daughter to school. It is a special bonding time that we both look forward to every day and get to chat about everything a six-year-old wants to chat about.
While at work, I would meet with our joint venture partners, platform companies, and investees to discuss new deals, strategies, or issues within the portfolio. I get to have meaningful conversations with top-level executives from a variety of real estate sectors. A good portion of my time is also spent on brainstorming and developing new investment ideas with existing partners and my team or building relationships with potential partners.
The rest of my day is dedicated to working closely with my team to review investment committee papers, work on portfolio strategy, manage resources, and execute deals with both internal and external business partners.
What do you like most about working here?
At GIC, our business model gives us unique access to businesses, global leaders, and entrepreneurs all over the world. We spend many hours of our day working closely with our partners, platform companies, and investees, which gives us unparalleled insights into their operations and strategies. We get to converse with chief executive officers, chief investment officers, and boards across a wide range of industries and geographies, which broadens our perspective and keeps us constantly learning.
While GIC’s size and scale may lead to perceptions of bureaucracy and slow decision-making, we have worked hard to shift this perception through our actions and commitment to executing deals quickly and efficiently or communicating our decisions early. We understand the importance of agility in today’s fast-paced business environment, which is why we tap into the wider Real Estate team for large, complicated transactions to help break them into manageable parts. We are empowered to negotiate the best position and terms for GIC with appropriate checks and balances in place. For smaller deals, we have streamlined processes that allow us to move as quickly as any market participant.
One of the greatest things about working at GIC is how we embrace diversity as an organisation. I feel incredibly fortunate to work closely with people from a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Employees are encouraged to speak up, and junior team members are given opportunities to participate. Different views are encouraged, and it is common that we do not always converge on the same conclusion. If you are tackling something new, facing a challenging situation, or pitching a new idea, at GIC, you can find someone who has faced something similar before (or who can direct you to someone who may have), has a different take on the situation, or will challenge your idea from a differing viewpoint.
How would you describe the learning & development culture at GIC?
At GIC, we prioritise not only long-term investing but also the development of our employees. Our belief in supporting personal growth and learning is reflected in the variety of opportunities we offer, including our learning and development programmes, learning budgets, panel discussions with global leaders, and access to global offices and placements. This mindset of growth and learning is not limited to junior employees but is encouraged throughout one’s entire career at GIC. This creates an exciting and rewarding environment where individuals are constantly challenged and learning.
One of the major advantages of being part of GIC is the opportunity to connect with highly knowledgeable investment professionals. By joining GIC, you gain access to top investment minds who can serve as valuable sources of learning. You can participate in internal events featuring guest speakers, interact with market-leading counterparties who may become future partners, and engage with top-tier partners and exceptional talents within GIC. You can learn from the best in the investment industry. As an investor, this can be a significant advantage in your professional development.
What you should know before joining GIC
If you are looking for an organisation that will help you develop your career in the asset management industry, GIC is definitely worth considering. Not only will you have access to some of the brightest investment minds in the world, but you will have access to numerous learning opportunities. The working environment is collegial and supportive, which means you will have plenty of help as you navigate your career path.
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