CEO OF PEPPER ADVANTAGE GREECE
Greece 2022 I Economy I Interview
_BIOGRAPHY He holds a bachelor’s Degree in Science, an MBA in Finance and an M.Sc. degree in Finance & Banking. He was the Chairman of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Greece from 2017 to 2019 and a member of the Association of Greek Valuers. Previously, he was the Founding Partner of NAI Hellas/Avent s.a. (member of NAI Global) and CEO and an Equity Partner of King Hellas SA.
“IMPROVING MACROECONOMIC INDICES AND A GRADUAL CHANGE OF CULTURE TO A MORE FRIENDLY BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IS MAKING GREECE AN ATTRACTIVE DESTINATION FOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS.”
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PEPPER ADVANTAGE GREECE?
Pepper Advantage Greece, a subsidiary company of Pepper Group that operates globally in the Loan Servicing, Asset Management and Lending businesses, was established in Greece in 2018 after the acquisition of a successful local real estate management and advisory company.
Since then, it has active management contracts with all major banks and master servicers and currently holds more than 1,600 assets under management offering the full range of services including: asset & property management, commercialization & transaction for all types of real estate assets.
GREEK IS INCREASINGLY BEING POSITIONED AS AN ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT DESTINATION. WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMY IN THE POST-COVID ERA?
The Greek economy is showing remarkable recovery signs after a long and deep recession period that together with the covid era lasted for more than ten years. The Greek GDP is showing highest-than-expected recovery signs exceeding 7% for this year and similar growth expectations for the years to come. Improving macroeconomic indices and a gradual change of culture to a more friendly business environment is making Greece an attractive destination for international investors.
There is increasing investment appetite for all types of property from investors around the globe including both institutional as well as smaller size private equity investment schemes. Despite the increasing demand, the country still cannot offer adequate volume, size, and “quality” of investment options that a typical institutional investor would require. However, this creates great opportunities for smaller private equity investors that would examine “add-value” single ticket assets or small portfolios that with the appropriate investment and asset management effort can create institutional-type “investment product” allowing a profitable exit in the short/middle term.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES OF PEPPER ADVANTAGE GREECE IN THE GREEK MARKET TODAY?
Pepper in Greece, with its combined know-how and experience in loan servicing and real estate asset management offers a unique service platform to all international investors willing to invest in the country either direct in the property industry or via the acquisition of loans. The combination of international experience, local know-how, proven track record and entrepreneurial business culture are the main competitive advantages we can offer to all international partners.
HOW DO YOU PRETEND TO BECOME GREECE‘S LARGEST SPECIALIZED REAL ESTATE ASSET MANAGER PLATFORM?
Our target is to create the country’s most specialized independent Asset Management platform for real estate assets by combining talented and creative people on the ground and adopting latest technology infrastructure.
Our aim is to support both the existing REO management flow that is generated from the workout process of the economy’s enormous NPL market, as well as various organizations with large property portfolios that require sophisticated Asset Management services and need to return a profit from their idle assets.
We are investing in training our people with the right specialized educational background combining market requirements and international best practices while at the same time, we are upgrading our technology to improve efficiency, reporting requirements, and analytical proficiency. The combination of investing into our “people” and “technology” are the two main pillars of our strategy to expand our clientele and be the provider of choice.
DEMAND IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR HAS GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY IN GREECE IN THESE PAST YEARS. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE SECTOR?
Demand for real estate has been steadily increasing since 2018/19, with a small pause during the covid lockdown. This is identified in most of the real estate sectors, and it is expected to continue in the years to come as the economy will continue to recover. The “logistics” and “hospitality” sectors will maintain their leading roles followed by the “residential” and “office”. The “retail” sector is still in an ambiguous path as e-commerce is transforming consumer trends and the high-street scenery.
Values on commercial property have been increasing and will continue to grow as there is a stable high investment appetite for “good quality” product. In the residential sector, the ten-year-long depressed due to the economic recession housing need, has now turned around releasing an increasing demand for modern residences. This, combined with the expanding credit policies of the banks will feed the continuing growth of this industry. Additionally, the increasing demand from foreign citizens, either choosing to invest in the last “still-cheap” western country or as part of a “golden visa” prerequisite will continue to boost values and new constructions.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN GREECE'S REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES?
Greece is in a turning point, now exiting a deep ten-year-long recession period and this creates unique investment opportunities in both the real estate and credit markets. Large securitization plans are underway by the country’s financial institutions, while the property sector offers investment opportunities that can generate competitive returns.