Let me first apologize to my readership. I have been very dilatory in getting this commentary done and this topic is… a bit daunting. In my defense, working for a living can get in the way of thinking and writing. In any event, I have been doing some considerable reading about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues recently. It had not really been on my screen, in a big way, but has been bubbling along as a thing, important to some, but not so much for us denizens of the commercial real estate finance space.
Continue Reading We All Need Practice Spelling ESG

Good morning readers. I am taking the week off so my next commentary will come out the following. Hey it’s a holiday week (and I retired from Dechert yesterday…) a terrific coda to a rainy weekend so a week off seems a proportional response!). Next week, it will be the flaws and basic silliness of 

It’s Golden Turkey Awards Time, Folks!

Our Turkeys are a little late this year but hey, we’ve been busy worrying about the collapse of the world’s economy.  This is the 10th edition of our Turkeys and much thanks to our disorderly, often dysfunctional, regularly inscrutable and absurd government, polity and marketplace for continuing to

Recently, Dechert Partner Sarah Milam partook in an auto ABS panel discussion at ABS East in Miami, Florida.  Sarah and four distinguished panelists discussed the state of the ABS auto loan market, issuance, yields, collateral performance, ESG trends, and deal structures.  Sarah sat down with Associate Griffin Hamilton to recap the conference.
Continue Reading Auto ABS: Uncertainty and Excitement Ahead

I wrote a week or two back about my expectation that significant economic dislocation awaits us.  I still think that.  The morning after I published, hordes (ok, maybe not hordes) of PhD Villeins were outside my house with pitchforks and burning torches, loudly asserting that I had wildly overstated the likelihood of material distress in the marketplace.  “No, no, no, the White House has assured us of a soft landing and a soft landing we’ll have.”  (The Council of Economic Advisers, not surprisingly, if professionally embarrassing, seem to think so, too.)  And, while inflation is bad, it’s not that bad.  (I don’t yet need a wheel barrel to buy bread!)  No recession, they perorate loudly and insistently.  We’ll be back to 2% inflation, sub 4% unemployment and 2% GNP growth by Q4 of 2023!
Continue Reading Life (and Opportunity) in the Time of Considerable Government Malfeasance

Events keep happening that really do make it clear that we are about to enter a period of enhanced regulatory intrusion into the financial services space.  Shocking!  And entirely unexpected, right?  (You’re winning, sir)  While that is in many respects troubling, it’s also the stuff of opportunity for the creative and nimble.  I’ll explain.
Continue Reading The Coming Regulatory Deluge (With Apologies to Louis XV):  Smells Like Opportunity to Me

CREFC January 2022 – it was supposed to be the comeback conference. Everyone was pumped to spend a few days down south, getting together with their safely vaccinated clients, colleagues and friends. Meetings, mingling and mild mayhem were on the Miami menu. But days before the conference, the dreaded COVID, or more specifically Omicron, continued to rear its ugly head and put a damper on the plans of many. Emails with “Are you still going to CREFC???” were flying as the days counted down to January 9. Although many conference attendees chose to attend virtually, hundreds took a chance and made it down to Miami to enjoy the conference in person. Luckily CREFC is now well-versed in how to put on a virtual show, and those who were unable to attend in person were able to enjoy the panels from their office (or couch…or bed…).
Continue Reading Ahhh… Miami! Sun, Sand and Commercial Real Estate

Welcome, dear reader, to our annual Golden Turkey Awards.  But for my commitment to absolute fairness and concern over the appearance of impropriety, I would have awarded the first Golden Turkey Award to Dechert for actually getting the Golden Turkey Awards done this year.  What a crazy year end.  The market is insane.

On the other hand, while time is short, there’s plenty to bloviate about.  I remember last year we were absolutely ready for the end of the Trump administration because the Biden administration promised a “dull is cool” vibe.  Well, dull has been a failure.  The farrago of lingering Covid, a return to something which is clearly not normalcy, but something new and with a pond full of black swans flopping around, it is not dull.  So, how’s that working out for you?  The follies of 2021 at least make writing this column easier.  So, we went digging for inanity for the purpose of making gentle fun of things that broadly annoy us and, shockingly, we found things to talk about.  So, here we are once again.Continue Reading 2021 Golden Turkeys

It’s coming up on awards season.  The Emmys were last week and weirdly, I got a thought bubble about nominees in the Black Swan category, walking the red carpet looking for attention!  Think the Masquerade scene from Phantom of the Opera when the Phantom comes prancing down the stairs to harsh the festivities (at least he sang well).  

We have some obvious nominees today.  But are they the real thing?  Will they move markets?  We have, with some reason, become inured to the disruptive headlines howling about threats to our way of life.  Is there simply too much chaos out there to pick out the things which are really relevant from the noise?  Our 24-hour news cycle is hardly helpful, is it?  The talking heads, with practiced expressions of concern, seriousness of purpose and faux competence, serve up our daily quantum of fear and distress (Film at 11!).  Don’t they seem almost gleeful to report yet another potential disaster?  With breathy anxiety, designed to tug at our atavistic fight or flight instincts, they repurpose as news exaggeration, hyperbole, vague allegations, unconfirmed reports and sheer speculation.

The scary part is, of course, that buried and obscured in all that noise might be real news, things that investors and market participants really ought to be paying attention to because they will matter.  The trick is sussing out the stuff that matters from the stuff that doesn’t.

So, we really do need to take into account these aspirational swans.  One of them could be that figurative dead archduke.

Let’s take a stroll along the red carpet and chat up some of these swans.Continue Reading Does A Red Carpet Full Of Black Swans Matter?