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Thursday, 07 July 2016
A new initiative to support skills and knowledge for young commercial real estate (CRE) finance professionals has been launched by the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council Europe (CREFC Europe).  

Young Professionals in Real Estate Finance (YPREF) has the support of the CREFC Europe Board and secretariat, but has its own steering group made up of younger professionals.

Incoming CREFC Europe chairman and head of real estate finance at HSBC, Steve Willingham, said YPREF would “help the development of the sector in the years ahead, pooling knowledge from the high achieving young people in real estate.”

Open to lenders, advisors and anyone involved in and around the sector with under ten years’ industry experience, the main focus for YPREF will be to provide training and networking opportunities. It will also focus on emerging trends and innovation, supporting CREFC Europe’s board, which includes senior figures from Lloyds, Moody’s, Blackrock, ING and Bank of America.

The group’s first event will be held at the Walkie-Talkie Building, jointly hosted by Ashurst and DWF LLP on Wednesday 6 July at 17:30. Mark Clacy-Jones, head of data and analytics at Knight Frank, will lead a discussion around big data.

CREFC Europe will be running the third edition of its London-based training programme for less experienced CRE finance people during the week starting on 11 July. Coordinated by consultant director for research and education, Hans Vrensen, the course still has a few places available (registration at

Steve Willingham, managing director, head of EMEA real estate finance at HSBC, said: “The contribution real estate finance makes to the wider economy is significant and one of our ongoing objectives is to better inform policymakers and regulators of the role we play. Making better use of young professionals across the banking and real estate world will help the development of our sector in the years ahead.

“Pooling knowledge from some of the high achieving young people in real estate will be crucial in meeting the ongoing challenges thrown up by technological as well as socioeconomic change.”

Peter Cosmetatos, chief executive of CREFC Europe, said: “We have made important strides in recent years to bring a rapidly diversifying CRE finance industry closer together and give it a coherent voice. But one area we need to do better on is engaging and supporting the future stars of the sector. We’re delighted to support the young professionals on the YPREF steering group and to work with them to secure the future of the industry.”

Sumeer Bose, analyst at Laxfield Capital and YPREF steering group member, said: “As well as valuable networking opportunities, the YPREF initiative will offer young professionals in the CRE finance sector unrivaled access to market insight from leading industry figures.”

Miles Keeley, analyst at Cushman & Wakefield and YPREF steering group member, said: “Our hope is that YPREF will present senior market leaders with a platform to communicate with the new cohort of real estate finance professionals, passing on valuable lessons from years of experience in the sector.”

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