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Anti-money-laundering course mandatory for real estate agents and property managers – Vancouver Sun

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Real estate professionals will learn how to recognize red flags and be instructed on their obligations if they’re involved in a suspicious transaction. It’s estimated $5 billion was laundered through B.C.’s property market in 2018 alone, driving up prices by an estimated five per cent that year


Retired B.C. Supreme Court associate chief Justice Austin Cullen is in the middle of a year-long public inquiry to investigate the causes, scope and impact of money laundering in the province.


Jason Payne / PNG

The regulatory agency for B.C.’s real estate professionals is launching a mandatory anti-money-laundering course to show real estate agents and strata and property managers how to recognize red flags and what steps they’re obligated to take to report suspected cases.

The course will provide “the information you need to understand why real estate is attractive to money launderers,” said the course outline on the website of the Real Estate Council of B.C., the self-regulatory body of the province’s 26,000 licensed real estate pros.

Members will learn “how to recognize the risk signs and red flags associated with money laundering (and) review your obligations and the steps to take to report suspicious transactions,” it said.

The self-paced online course will “empower them (real estate pros) to actively contribute to preventing criminal activity in B.C. real estate markets” and support them to “comply with their federal reporting obligations,” spokesman Warren Mirko said in an emailed statement.

“Real estate professionals work closely with their clients, so they are well positioned to identify suspicious transactions,” he said.

The announcement of the course requirement comes two months after the provincial government unveiled plans to create a new regulator for B.C.’s real estate sector by spring 2021. A single regulator for the sector was a key recommendation of recent reports aimed at cracking down on money laundering.

The three reports into money laundering since 2018 have revealed billions in proceeds-of-crime, and other questionable sources of income have been laundered for years through the real estate industry, as well as through other luxury purchases and through casinos.

The latest report, by Maureen Maloney in May, estimated up to $5 billion was funnelled through the B.C. property market in 2018 alone, likely increasing housing prices that year by five per cent.

Retired B.C. Supreme Court associate chief Justice Austin Cullen is in the middle of a year-long public inquiry to investigate the causes, scope and impact of money laundering in the province.

Registration will open when the course is launched next week and it will be required for licence renewal beginning April 1.

“It will become part of the mandatory education that real estate professionals must take in order to maintain their licence to practise in B.C.,” said Mirko.

The B.C. Real Estate Association announced this week a new requirement of 18 hours of professional training every two years for its realtors (who make up 90 per cent of all real estate agents), but there was no reference to money laundering.

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Canadian Pension Funds Invest In Real Estate Assets – Baystreet.ca

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Canadian pension funds are increasing their real estate investments, betting the slumping property market will recover as the global pandemic recedes and office workers return to urban centres.

Canadian pension funds held $278.7 billion in property assets in 2019, up 4% from 2018, according to the Pension Investment Association of Canada, making them the country’s largest real estate owners.

In a world of slower economic growth, very low interest rates, volatility in equity markets, real estate offers an attractive opportunity for pension funds, which take a long-term investment horizon.

As the pandemic forced many staff to work from home, the office vacancy rate in Canada hit a 16-year high of 13.4% in 2020. Downtown office properties were hit particularly hard.

However, Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, is taking a contrarian approach to real estate.

The real estate subsidiary of Caisse has said that the fund is cutting exposure in traditional asset classes and prioritising opportunities in growth sectors that include logistics and residential office buildings, among others.

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Canadian pension funds hunt for pandemic real estate bargains – Reuters

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TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian pension funds are seeking to boost their real estate investments, betting the slumping property market will recover as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and office workers and city dwellers return to downtown properties.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

Canadian pension funds held $278.7 billion in property assets in 2019, up 4% from 2018, according to the Pension Investment Association of Canada, making them the country’s largest real estate owners.

In a world of slower economic growth, very low interest rates, volatility in equity markets, real estate offers an attractive opportunity for pension funds, which take a long-term investment horizon, say market participants.

“We’re looking for buying opportunities,” said Hilary Spann, Head of Americas, Real Estate at CPP Investments, which manages $456.7 billion. CPP’s real estate portfolio generated 5.1% return for the year ended March 2020.

CPP announced a U.S. joint venture with Greystar Real Estate Portfolio to build multiple separate housing units this month, a deal that was initiated pre-pandemic.

In November, it signed an agreement with Hudson Pacific Properties to acquire an office tower in Seattle. Spann said a lot of buyers that would have been competitive in the Seattle deal were temporarily on the sidelines. “So we were able to step in and pick up that asset at yields that we thought were quite attractive.”

OFFICE VACANCIES CLIMB

As the pandemic forced many staff to work from home, the office vacancy rate in Canada hit a 16-year high of 13.4% in 2020, according to data from broker CBRE. Downtown offices were hit harder.

“I think pension funds are very well aware that…there are times when values dip a bit and vacancies go up but overallreal estate assets are a great part of any pension fund portfolio,” Paul Morassutti, CBRE Canada Vice Chairman said.

CPP’s Spann said while both rental markets and office may suffer in the short-term, it was expected that both markets would return when the pandemic comes to an end.

“Office may fall in the short term but in the long term, as everybody does start coming back to the office, I think it’s fair to say you may see a reversal,” she said, adding that the things that made places like New York and San Francisco vibrant will remain.

Kristopher Wojtecki, Managing Director, Real Estate at PSP Investments, told Reuters the fund had been increasing exposure in select sectors including single family rental and production studio real estate during the pandemic.

However, Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, is taking a contrarian approach. A spokeswoman for Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate subsidiary of Caisse, said the fund is cutting exposure in traditional asset classes and prioritising opportunities in growth sectors which include logistics and residential office buildings among others.

Grant McGlaughlin, partner at law firm Fasken, said he did not see any drastic moves on pension funds getting rid of their real estate portfolios.

“I think that’s the right thesis that there is no point selling into a low,” he said.

Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Denny Thomas and David Gregorio

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Canadian pension funds hunt for pandemic real estate bargains – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Maiya Keidan

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian pension funds are seeking to boost their real estate investments, betting the slumping property market will recover as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and office workers and city dwellers return to downtown properties.

Canadian pension funds held $278.7 billion in property assets in 2019, up 4% from 2018, according to the Pension Investment Association of Canada, making them the country’s largest real estate owners.

In a world of slower economic growth, very low interest rates, volatility in equity markets, real estate offers an attractive opportunity for pension funds, which take a long-term investment horizon, say market participants.

“We’re looking for buying opportunities,” said Hilary Spann, Head of Americas, Real Estate at CPP Investments, which manages $456.7 billion. CPP’s real estate portfolio generated 5.1% return for the year ended March 2020.

CPP announced a U.S. joint venture with Greystar Real Estate Portfolio to build multiple separate housing units this month, a deal that was initiated pre-pandemic.

In November, it signed an agreement with Hudson Pacific Properties to acquire an office tower in Seattle. Spann said a lot of buyers that would have been competitive in the Seattle deal were temporarily on the sidelines. “So we were able to step in and pick up that asset at yields that we thought were quite attractive.”

OFFICE VACANCIES CLIMB

As the pandemic forced many staff to work from home, the office vacancy rate in Canada hit a 16-year high of 13.4% in 2020, according to data from broker CBRE. Downtown offices were hit harder.

“I think pension funds are very well aware that…there are times when values dip a bit and vacancies go up but overallreal estate assets are a great part of any pension fund portfolio,” Paul Morassutti, CBRE Canada Vice Chairman said.

CPP’s Spann said while both rental markets and office may suffer in the short-term, it was expected that both markets would return when the pandemic comes to an end.

“Office may fall in the short term but in the long term, as everybody does start coming back to the office, I think it’s fair to say you may see a reversal,” she said, adding that the things that made places like New York and San Francisco vibrant will remain.  

Kristopher Wojtecki, Managing Director, Real Estate at PSP Investments, told Reuters the fund had been increasing exposure in select sectors including single family rental and production studio real estate during the pandemic.

However, Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, is taking a contrarian approach. A spokeswoman for Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate subsidiary of Caisse, said the fund is cutting exposure in traditional asset classes and prioritising opportunities in growth sectors which include logistics and residential office buildings among others.

Grant McGlaughlin, partner at law firm Fasken, said he did not see any drastic moves on pension funds getting rid of their real estate portfolios.

“I think that’s the right thesis that there is no point selling into a low,” he said.

(Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Denny Thomas and David Gregorio)

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