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Illustrative Consulting Assignments 

Investor Representative 

Wealth Management Firm: REFS serves as an ongoing Investor Representative for a wealth manager which invested $36 million in a 900-bed to-be-built student housing facility near a tier-1 university located in an Opportunity Zone. REFS responsibilities include approval of capital transactions and sales. REFS performed initial due diligence and underwriting. The property is scheduled to open in the summer of 2023. REFS serves as an ongoing Investor Representative to the venture.

Operations and Reporting

Public Pension Fund: The fund wanted to establish “best–in–class” operational and financial reporting capability. REFS work included (a) review of existing practices and reports, (b) determination of needs, (c) development of guidelines, policies, and sample reports, and (d) assistance with the implementation of new systems.

Developer/Owner: The firm was raising $300 million of equity to form a closed-end fund to acquire approximately $800 million of property. Approximately 25% of the properties were pre-specified. REFS was engaged to provide an LP’s perspective on (a) the strategy and terms of the fund (including LPs’ rights), (b) Term Sheet and PPM, and (c) property management, leasing, asset management, and portfolio management policies and procedures. In addition, REFS commented on preliminary marketing materials and met with key personnel to prepare them for investor due diligence.

Mortgage Banking Firm: The client was forming a $200 million private equity fund to invest in mezzanine and hybrid debt/equity positions in small to mid-sized properties in secondary and tertiary markets. REFS’ work included (a) reviewing and consulting on fund terms and documentation, (b) reviewing marketing materials, (c) developing of standard investment terms and conditions, and (d) design and construction of the portfolio and asset management policies and procedures.

Private Equity Fund Sponsor:  This firm was reviewing its portfolio and asset management policies and procedures, as well as its asset management structure. REFS provided sample asset management overview procedures and sample tools to manage and measure staff workflow.

Private Equity Fund Sponsor: This emerging manager needed to create back-office policies and procedures for accounting, performance measurement, and valuation. REFS provided sample policy and procedure documentation and worked with the firm to tailor its policies.

Public Pension Fund: REFS was engaged to review and provide recommendations related to the asset management policies and procedures employed by a public pension fund to ensure that they met “industry best practices” and the needs of its evolving portfolio. More specifically, REFS reviewed the existing policies and procedures, and held discussions with staff, current investment management firms, and peer group investors. REFS evaluated the current processes and developed recommendations to achieve the fund’s goal. In Phase II of the project, REFS produced updated asset management policies and procedures, including sample reports, checklists, and procedures to ensure compliance.

Private Equity Fund Sponsor: REFS was engaged to review and provide recommendations on the investment and management policies and procedures of a private equity fund sponsor seeking institutional capital.  REFS work included reviewing current policies and procedures and making recommendations that would align such policies and procedures with those that are required in the institutional investor universe.

Real Estate Operating Company: REFS was engaged by an experienced real estate operating company seeking to expand its capital sources in the institutional market.  The work involved performing due diligence on the organization, its policies and procedures, and historical performance to prepare the company to effectively enter the institutional marketplace.

Seattle Fiduciary Services
Real Estate Fiduciary Services
Atlanta Fiduciary Real Estate Services

Accounting and Analytics

Public Pension Fund: REFS is engaged by a public pension fund to provide quarterly consolidation services, creating financial statements for a title holding entity. These statements support portfolio-loan-related debt compliance requirements.

Public Pension Fund: REFS was engaged by a public pension fund to review an internal performance analysis workbook and make recommendations, many of which were subsequently implemented.

Public Pension Fund: REFS was engaged to assist a public pension fund in conducting a search for an outside real estate administrative and investment accounting service provider to support the planned construction of a direct real estate portfolio, to be staff managed, and consisting of direct and joint venture assets. REFS researched the market, identified several such service providers and worked with the client as they held preliminary discussions. This allowed the client to understand the market and better frame the planned RFP. REFS supported the RFP process, working closely with the client in drafting the RFP, preparing question and answer responses and conducting interviews prior to selection.

Fee Studies 

Investment Managers: Three institutional farmland investment managers engaged REFS to determine if the property level fees charged by their wholly-owned subsidiaries were comparable with third-party market based fees. REFS conducted a condfidential market survey of owners, investment managers, property managers, brokers and appraisers, compared results to fees charged by the subsidiaries and then issued reports to the manageers, individual funds and separate accounts.

Investment Managers: Two institutional investment managers annually engage REFS to determine if the property level fees charged by their wholly-owned subsidiaries were comparable with third-party market based fees. This assignment focused on multifamily fees and was performed to satisfy client requirements. REFS worked closely with a data management team, utilizing a database of apartment properties sourced from FreddieMac, developed comp sets for each individual portfolio asset and performed analysis of both property management feees and personnel costs.

Public Pension Fund: REFS was engaged to analyze and summarize private equity fees for a public pension fund. The fund realized that such fees were rapidly becoming a “subject of regulatory and public scrutiny” and wanted to ensure they had clear practices for negotiating and monitoring such fees. REFS prepared a summary of private equity fees by collecting data from GP’s regarding fund fees and expenses. Additionally, REFS tested a sample of calculations. Results were used to make recommendations to the client regarding private equity fee negotiation and monitoring.


Labor Union Health Care Plan: REFS was engaged as the financial advisor to an employee union to consult on its facility requirements strategy. REFS’ work included (a) assisting in determination of current and future space needs, (b) analyzing existing lease obligations, (c) analyzing a pre-identified property available for acquisition, (d) conducting independent market analysis, and (e) preparing financial projections of occupancy costs under various scenarios and outlining the implications for the overall financial condition of the union. An acceptable long-term lease opportunity was identified as an alternative and was accepted by the union. REFS negotiated the lease. The client occupied the building for several years, during which time opportunities to acquire the building arose under the right of first refusal clause in the lease. An initial opportunity was rejected following a recommendation by REFS. A subsequent opportunity was better suited to the client’s then current circumstances, and REFS supported the client in negotiating and completing the transaction. Subsequent to the transsaction close, REFS supported the client in the selection of a third-party property manager and the development of additional internal facilities management procedures.

Government Authority: The authority requested market research on the feasibility of financing a proposed mixed-use development at a projected return. REFS surveyed market participants, including appraisers, developers, investors and lenders, and then prepared a report summarizing findings. This work supported the authority’s overall review and approval process.

Tampa Bay Fiduciary Services
LA Fiduciary Services
Fiduciary Services Atlanta, GA
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