Paul Finkbeiner of Great-West LIFECO

Houses for sale in Ottawa

Today’s episode is a Real Estate Forums webinar that Aaron and Adam recorded with Paul Finkbeiner. He is the EVP & Global Head of Real Estate at Great-West LIFECO. He oversees $27 billion in real estate assets and was previously the President of GWL Advisors for 18 years.

We start off by hearing about Paul’s storied career in real estate after leaving his engineering job. Having been through several market downturns, Paul compares the COVID-19 pandemic to previous dark times. He explains why this one is unique and the importance of staying positive.

Topics covered include:

  • The recession in the early 1990s and how it affected Paul.
  • Why Brookfield wasn’t considered “cool” back in those days.
  • What Paul initially liked about the real estate industry that made him stick with it.
  • Debt levels in the 90s recession compared to today’s pandemic.
  • Where the current recession ranks against others and why it’s different.
  • How the 2008 recession impacted GWL and the discipline they executed.
  • Having multiple sources of capital.
  • Why Vancouver real estate investing is always different.
  • Location, location, location.
  • The current state of real estate investment in Alberta.
  • Investment strategy differences between Canada, the US, Ireland, and the UK.
  • Longer-term plans of rebalancing his portfolio.
  • How Paul thinks the pandemic will change office space needs.
  • What the future of big box retail looks like.
  • Advice for anyone looking to get into real estate now or looking for a new position.

More about our guest….

Paul Finkbeiner oversees a global real estate platform that totals $27B in assets under management, in Canada, the U.S., U.K. and Ireland.

He works closely with these four regional offices to expand Great-West LIFECO’s real estate business by attracting third party investors and continuing to grow our existing client base.

Previously, Paul was President of GWL Realty Advisors for 18 years. Under his leadership, he grew the company’s real estate portfolio from $800M in Canada to $17B in Canada and the U.S. Paul has over 30 years of experience in the real estate industry.


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