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Technology Investments Pay Dividends for Real Estate Investors - A Caisson Case Study
London-based independent investment management group Caisson Investment Management, which has invested over £400 million in the multi-let industrial sector, operates its complex business according to a fairly straightforward principle: “It is imperative that we provide first-class service to our clients, from research, analysis, transactional ability, and asset management services through to timely reporting,” said Michael Newman, a founding partner of Caisson and the company’s finance director.
Elaborating, he said, “We aim to give our clients returns that outperform the market with our specialist asset management approach. One of the key ways to maintain this track record is to be at our tenants’ disposal at all times of their business cycle. This translates to improved investor returns through tenant retention, cost management, and improvement of the underlying cash flow.”
Seeking an Integrated Approach
Caisson recognised that the right technology would be the catalyst for fulfilling these priorities. “Caisson’s founding partners have backgrounds in fund management, investment banking, surveying and technology, so we understood the importance of implementing technology to manage real estate even before we had our first assets under management,” Newman said. “We wanted a system that would both reduce duplication of effort - for example, streamlining reporting to clients by eliminating rekeying of data from third parties and remove the potential for errors. We had seen some companies run their asset management on a series of uncoordinated spread sheets, so we needed to run our operation with integrated technology to ensure accurate real-time property reporting and detailed client reporting.”
These considerations prompted Caisson to adopt Yardi Voyager® as its property management and accounting platform within a year of its founding in 2009. “With Yardi Voyager we can meet the needs of core report generation head-on, enabling Caisson to offer clients greater value and develop wider services,” Philip Stott, a Caisson founding partner, said in 2010.
A Platform for Client Service and Growth
Since then, Caisson has made Yardi Voyager one of the cornerstones of its business. “Our entire asset management, client reporting and corporate accounting are performed on Voyager,” Newman said. “All of our outsourced property managers can use the Voyager database. This alone removes a whole tier of data duplication. Having all property data, lease data and financial data in one place and fully integrated ensures that our reporting is accurate and timely. Our asset managers can log in remotely, inspiring team unity in discussions and decision-making.
I believe the capabilities Voyager provides are a big plus to our investors as it enables us to be ready and functional to service our clients fully from Day One. Voyager also provides a corporate accounting system that helps us compile and deliver reports required by the statutory bodies to whom we need to report including the FCA.”
The Voyager platform has anchored Caisson’s significant expansion over the last few years. “Our business growth is directly linked to the scalability of the Voyager platform. Voyager also accommodates different reporting requirements in the various jurisdictions,” Newman said.
Looking to the future, Newman said, “Caisson keeps up to date on the constantly evolving capabilities within the Voyager platform. We’re consistently evaluating opportunities to streamline additional operations, such as investment accounting, by adding new modules to Voyager.
Yardi has supported our business from the outset and helped us grow. We have received excellent support from the Yardi team on initial implementation, on-going advice and planning, and their fast response times have been invaluable in resolving queries.”