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Real Estate Investment Trust Stock Pitch Competition

On April 16, Penn State’s Smeal College of Business held its first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Stock Pitch Competition, open to all undergraduates.  The College’s Institute for Real Estate Studies awarded scholarships to the top three contenders.  

Penn State alum and Institute for Real Estate Studies Advisory Board member Larry Raiman conceived of the idea for the REIT Stock Pitch Competition as a way to engage students in learning more about the real estate industry.  The objective of the competition was to have students independently select and research an investment option focused on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) and then pitch their idea to a panel of industry professionals.

Scholarship winners were Dale Peterson, a senior Finance major, receiving $2,000 for his presentation on NorthStar Realty Finance; Justin Citron, also a senior in Finance, was awarded $1,000 for his stock pitch on General Growth Properties, Inc.; and Henry Fox, a senior in Risk Management, earned a $500 award for his pitch on NorthStar. 

In the competition’s preliminary round, students submitted a brief research report outlining their stock pitch idea, along with a short video presenting their pitch.  All submissions were required to focus on investment in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), a security that sells like stocks on the major exchanges, invests in real estate through mortgages or properties, receives special tax considerations, and typically offers high yields. 

Of the 27 students who competed in the preliminary round, 7 were selected for the final round by judges Brent Ambrose, Smeal Professor and Director of Penn State’s Institute for Real Estate Studies (IRES); Andy Hansz, visiting Real Estate Professor; and Lisa Ford, IRES Assistant Director for Student Services. The competition coordinator was Christine M. Novinskie Olbrich, Programs Coordinator for Undergraduate Education at Smeal. 

Competitors in the final round demonstrated their investment idea in a 3-minute stock pitch format.  Each presentation summarized the chosen REIT’s business model, competitive advantage, and growth opportunities.  Also addressed were performance measures such as price-earnings ratios, margins, and stock valuations. 

Final-round judges, all Penn State alumni and experts in the field of real estate, asked questions at the conclusion of each presentation and based their evaluation on pitch idea, video presentation, and handling of questions. The judges included Lawrence D. Raiman, Todd M. Thomas, and Diane L. Wade. 

Mr. Lawrence Raiman is the founding Partner of LDR Capital Management in New York.  He was previously a Managing Director at Credit Suisse Group, running the firm’s Global Real Estate Securities business, which managed $2.6 billion on behalf of investors. He was also an Institutional Investor ranked research analyst covering REITs.  He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Penn State.  He is a CPA and has expertise in all aspects of portfolio management, securities analysis, and institutional marketing. 

Mr.Todd Thomas is a Director, Senior Equity Research Analyst, with KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., has specialized in the apartment, healthcare, retail, and self-storage REIT sectors.  He previously worked as a Senior Associate in Real Estate Financial Services for the Schonbraun McCann Group, LLP, in New York and as an Assistant Vice President/Asset Manager for David Cronheim Mortgage Corp. in Chatham, New Jersey. Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Penn State. In 2013 he was recognized by StarMine as the #1 stock picker in the Real Estate Investment Trusts category. 

Ms. Diane Wade is Principal Senior Analyst for CBRE Clarion Securities in Radnor, PA.  As a member of the firm’s Americas research team, she is responsible for the evaluation of public real estate companies within the U.S. Retail, Apartment and Net Lease property sectors, and Canada. She previously worked at National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inc.; Barnes, Morris, Pardoe and Foster Inc.; and Grubb & Ellis of Metropolitan Washington, DC.   Wade earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Penn State, is active in the International Council of Shopping Centers and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Congratulations, competition winners, and thank you to all who made it possible!