After a night of fun at Dechert’s party at the SLS Hotel, many of us needed a pick-me-up on Tuesday morning. Those of us that dragged ourselves out of bed and into the roundtable discussion on market issues and opportunities were not disappointed. The quick hitting discussion by over two dozen industry insiders, including Crunched Credit’s own Rick Jones, provided no lack of entertainment or insight into the current state of the industry.

After morning sessions on reconstructing servicing to the new world order and the relative value of commercial real estate compared to other asset classes, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush delivered an impressive key note address in front of over 1,000 conference attendees. Governor Bush’s message – that America needs all-in leadership to focus on high growth policies – resonated with many at the conference, who gave the Governor a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech.

After a quick question and answer session with Governor Bush, the afternoon began with sessions on hot topics in the industry, the outlook for CMBS in 2013, the future of mezzanine investing, and the continuing crises in Europe. Day 2 concluded with a very well attended panel on the evolution of controlling holder rights and conflicts of interest between controlling holders and special servicers in CMBS 2.0. The panel was moderated by Stephanie Petosa of Fitch Ratings and included Dechert’s Dave Forti, George Carleton of C-III Capital Partners, Julie Madnick of Ranieri Partners and Isaac Pesin of LNR.

Before we jet out of the Miami sunshine, the CREFC January conference will conclude on Wednesday with a final panel on the outlook for bank portfolio lending in 2013. As we write this from the balcony of the Loews Hotel, the rising tide continues to push gentle Atlantic waves further up the beach, overtaking several beach chairs. While those at the conference agree that the rising tide in the commercial real estate finance industry will continue through 2013, after two days of debate and discussion, we leave hoping that it does not sweep the sand out from under our feet. 

By: Matthew Clark and Ken Hackman