Gregory Winchester, Trimont Real Estate Advisors

Greg Winchester is the Principal at Trimont Real Estate Advisors. Since 1988, Trimont Real Estate Advisors has been a leader in resolving problematic real estate assets and providing comprehensive services to real estate lenders and investors. Trimont’s core services include asset management (primary, construction and special), asset servicing, bond finance services, defeasance consulting, underwriting, and information reporting. Here, Greg Winchester shares his company’s scope and future plans with Europe Real Estate (REP).

Can you tell us a little bit about your company and your core business?
Trimont provides a full range of services to real estate lenders and investors on both debt and equity investments. Our core services include asset management (primary, construction and special), asset servicing, bond finance services as well as underwriting and due diligence consulting. Our company was originally founded in 1988 and in 2003 it was renamed as Trimont Real Estate Advisors after a MBO. Over the past decade, the company has grown into a quality brand servicer with some of the best rating agency rankings as a primary, construction and special servicer. We are currently working for 95 representative clients on a portfolio of about €44 billion globally, comprised of all kinds of asset classes.

How has your business changed along with the changes in the real estate markets?
Since the onset of the financial crises, we have been hired on several occasions by regulators to create tailored solutions for their oversight and risk management mandates for troubled financial institutions. In addition, we have seen many regulatory framework changes since 2008, which have altered the playing field and created additional challenges for many players in the real estate arena. We have found that providing customized solutions for our clients, no matter if they concern due diligence or underwriting help, ongoing asset management services or just administration of positions, has been instrumental to our success. Often, existing clients are asking us to adjust to their new needs-we enjoy these situations as they allow us to learn and improve our services for all our clients.

What are your plans for growth, and where will your growth be directed in the coming years? Are you planning to expand into other markets?
We have successfully expanded our geographic footprint into Europe with our office in the Netherlands and since the opening in 2011 we have stabilized the operations and are well positioned to serve the western European markets. Trimont is considering expanding into further geographic locations, and specifically Asia.

This would allow us to provide our services in three major real estate regions. Our aim is to continue using the same platform in all regions, so that our clients get the same reports and data quality no matter the region they are in. We strive to provide meaningful global portfolio data and analysis in real time and outstanding asset management services in every location our clients want to invest.

What differentiates you from your competitors?
We did a large client survey in 2012 and the feedback from our clients was that they appreciate the staff’s knowledge and experience and entrust us with the most challenging situations they face because our staff knows how to build relationships with the other parties involved in the deal. In addition, our clients value that we are 100% independent and deliver customized solutions for complex deals. As an owner-managed business, my partners and I are there to ensure our clients receive the service they are asking for.

In your opinion, what is the outlook for the European real estate market over the next 12 months? 

The following 12 months will definitely be an exciting time for real estate in Europe. Traditional lenders are still struggling to adjust to the new regulatory environment, reducing their portfolios and improving profitability. New players are entering the lending space at a fast space trying to secure their market share of the lending gap. Some primary real estate markets seem to flatten or are approaching the turning point, while it appears that secondary and tertiary markets in most western European countries have still not bottomed out.

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