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Real Estate Fiduciary Services, LLC – FAQs

Real Estate Fiduciary Services, LLC (REFS) provides independent fiduciary services, as well as asset management and consulting services, to institutional real estate investors and investment managers. REFS is particularly skilled at devising practical solutions to take advantage of changing economic or market conditions. REFS approaches every assignment with a fiduciary mindset, putting clients’ interests first.

REFS believes that many industry organizations have limited internal resources to develop, implement and monitor real estate investment management strategies. REFS, therefore, was formed to provide these needed fiduciary, asset management and consulting services to institutional real estate investors and managers at a fraction of the cost of developing and maintaining internal staff.

REFS has the depth and breadth of industry knowledge to provide the practical, relevant real estate investment and management solutions needed at various stages of the real estate cycle.

The firm is led by John Baczewski, CPA. As president of REFS, Mr. Baczewski brings more than 30 years of experience in institutional real estate investment, finance, management and monitoring along with 10 years of Big Four public accounting experience.

Incorporating a modern business platform and REFS extensive network of real estate investment experts, the firm assembles a seasoned industry team with specialized skill sets to provide each client with tailored services.

REFS assists institutional real estate investors on an independent fiduciary basis and investors and investment managers on a consultant basis. Our services are offered on both an intermittent and on-going basis.

REFS independent fiduciary services include sales transaction management to resolve parties-in-interest conflicts, transition management, due diligence services and asset management support.

REFS provides consulting services that can range from market and fee studies to streamlining of processes to buy/sell analysis to litigation support.

  • Independent Fiduciary Services – Independent fiduciary services are provided to alleviate parties-in-interest conflicts and to address other matters — such as transitioning from one manager to another, selling of assets in one fund to another under the same management, or providing acquisition due diligence services — where the skills and perspective of an independent fiduciary are required.Illustrative Independent Fiduciary Assignments
  • Consulting Services — REFS provides tailored consulting services for clients who need seasoned senior professionals to focus on circumstances in need of “fresh eyes” and/or otherwise desire an extension of internal resources. REFS is particularly adept at devising practical solutions to take advantage of changing economic or market conditions.REFS also has the ability to act as the “in-house” dedicated real estate team for smaller funds, those new to real estate or simply for those needing a change in fund management.REFS can handle many aspects of portfolio management, including implementing investment strategies, as well as managing and monitoring the acquired assets and overseeing their eventual disposition. Because REFS is composed of long-time industry professionals, we are able to provide consulting and asset management services on a wide range of topics. Recent assignments have included improving a cash management system, streamlining a reporting process, providing a fee audit for farmland management, providing a fee report for private equity investments, and providing counsel on whether to keep or dispose of an asset, and whether to retain or replace a manager.Illustrative Consulting Assignments

Fiduciaries are financial professionals who consistently place client interests first. Their goal is to preserve value while prudently growing the investment.

More formally, the primary responsibility of fiduciaries is to run the plan solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and paying plan expenses. Fiduciaries must act prudently, limit risks and avoid conflicts of interest.

Real estate the markets are dynamic and becoming increasingly complex. It requires a level of industry knowledge, skill and experience that many organizations do not maintain internally.

The REFS team has the in-depth knowledge, skills and market experience to provide institutional investors and managers with independent fiduciary and consulting services to ensure that their interests are protected and their real estate investment objectives are being met.

REFS focuses on independent fiduciary matters and has access to deep expertise in all elements of real estate investment and management activities. All services are tailored specifically to each client and their individual needs.

REFS is more than an advisory consultant — it is a hands-on investment “partner” that actively works alongside its clients to successfully execute their investment strategies. REFS cuts through the distractions, with insight and patience borne from decades of experience, to develop tailored client solutions.

REFS works with institutional real estate investors and investment managers. Institutional clients may include public and private defined benefit plans, Taft-Hartley Funds, insurance companies, endowments, foundations and real estate investment trusts.

Illustrative Client List

Expertise — REFS, has a team of seasoned industry professionals who can deliver specific project work at a fraction of the cost of assembling the same team in-house.

This team delivers:

Experience — REFS team members average 30 years of institutional, corporate and/or private real estate experience in a fiduciary, investment, development and/or management environment. They have served in senior positions for some of the best-known and highly regarded companies including AEW Capital Management, AMRESCO, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers/Mass Mutual, Ernst & Young, Frank Russell Co., Mobil Land, MONY Real Estate, LNR Property Corp. and UBS Real Estate.

Interdisciplinary Skills — REFS capabilities encompass all aspects of an investment lifecycle including debt and equity capital formation; transactions (acquisitions and dispositions) development; construction; asset marketing and repositioning; and portfolio, asset and operating company management.

Proven Track Record — REFS team members have tried-and-true experience across the full range of real estate investment structures, product types and markets, as well as through multiple real estate cycles.

Extensive Business Resources — REFS has direct, trusted relationships with strategic real estate-related entities throughout the country – including appraisers, attorneys, engineering firms, general contractors, property management and leasing companies, and research/data providers – which it can engage and direct for our clients’ benefit as appropriate.

REFS uses its extensive network of real estate investment experts to provide each client with specialized, tailored services. Each project is managed by professionals with the most appropriate skills required to deliver the best results.

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