24 NOV 2020
Real estate is not a one-dimensional industry and Paul Anslow MRICS recognises that. With meaningful experience across multiple distinct fields in Bangkok and Yangon, each building block of his career stacks up and ultimately transforms him into a multi-disciplinary MRICS in the real estate industry today.
Real estate is a unique industry in the diversity of different roles, skills, and characters involved on a day-to-day basis; from flamboyant designers to hard-nosed investors. This is part of what makes it such a rewarding industry to be involved in, but also what can make communicating effectively across disciplines so challenging at times. I took on the challenge to bridge the gaps between the various characters by gaining meaningful experience in a number of distinct fields in order to become a multi-disciplinary professional.
The first chapter, as an engineering designer (with significant project management responsibilities) at Meinhardt in Bangkok, provided a great technical grounding in the industry. In particular this formative experience taught me the engineer’s rigorous approach to solving complex problems, as well as allowed me to develop softer skills such as building long-term relationships with clients and bringing in new jobs at a relatively young age.
An unusual opportunity presented itself to me in 2012. The second chapter of my career started when I was sent over to help set up Meinhardt’s new Yangon office, as well as lead prepatory work for a client (Yoma) on their flagship 675m USD Yoma Central Project.
The challenges faced were immense. As a country that had been closed off for more than 50 years, much of the infrastructure needed to deliver a complex mixed-use development simply didn’t exist. Investment laws and building codes were being hastily re-written at the same time we were attempting to structure and design our project. Nascent construction supply chains, lack of health & safety regulations, and a rapidly shifting commercial environment all compounded the difficulty of delivering such a complex mixed-use development with top-tier investors to the highest international standards.
I enjoyed the challenge of needing to go back to fundamentals sometimes to determine when I needed to go ‘above-and-beyond’ in order to fill in the gaps that would be taken for granted in more developed markets.
Paul Anslow MRICS
At the same time, I was pursuing a Masters in Finance & Law which led to my new role as Development Manager, operating at the nexus between the finance, legal and construction workstreams, and thus commencing the third chapter of my career. I found it particularly satisfying to be able to apply my evening studies directly to my work in the daytime – especially when using my legal training to work more effectively with our lawyers in negotiating the main works contract with the contractors.
I was promoted to run the investment team at Yoma Land’s head office - the start of the fourth chapter in my career. My team at Yoma Land had been at the forefront of the company’s new initiatives; putting together business plans, structuring the financing, running feasibility models, as well as solving ad hoc corporate finance matters.
Notably my team played a leading role in launching Yangon’s best selling affordable housing brand, “City Loft”, in late 2018. In this project we tried to transform the status quo of the residential development business, for example by gaining a deeper understanding of our target customer from the outset, employing more agile project management methods, and developing innovative financing strategies.
In 2019, I obtained my MRICS. RICS is the world's leading multi-disciplinary yet real estate focused organisation. What the organisation offers is well aligned with my interests and aspirations hence I decided to pursue the qualification and become chartered.
RICS membership is a milestone in a real estate professional’s career. For me in particular, it is particularly beneficial in two key areas:
Being qualified also provides me the recognition as an accomplished real estate professional who operates to international standards.
Having established a robust foundation for my career, going forward I hope to be able to leverage my grounding as a multi-disciplinary professional to continue to add value and unique perspectives to challenging new projects. I hope to become more engaged in the RICS community and further expand my network.
Finally, my never-ending ‘extra curricular’ activity is that of studying Mandarin Chinese, mainly in order to be able to converse better with my family-in-law. On a personal note therefore, I am particularly grateful to have been able to work remotely in China during this year of the pandemic, whilst my wife has also safely given birth here to our first-born son!
It wasn’t just valuable antiques that a young Chris Marriott FRICS stumbled upon while working at a local auction house, he also discovered his passion for real estate.