Newly elected chair of the Young Property Professionals (YPP) in the API’s Queensland Division, Sunil Ranu, discusses his career progression and thoughts about the challenges he believes are facing the property industry.
How long have you been in the property industry?
I started my career in August 2009 at McGees Property, a Brisbane-based real estate advisory firm. In the first few months I was fortunate to work in all three areas of the business – property management, agency, valuation and advisory. At this early stage in my professional development, I chose to pursue a career in valuations as it allowed me to be exposed to a large cross section of the industry in a relatively short period of time.
In May 2010, I moved to the assistant valuer position at McGees Property. Over the next two years this dynamic role afforded me the opportunity to be involved in mainstream commercial, industrial and residential valuations, with exposure to litigation work and more complex consultancy assignments.
Where and what did you study at university?
I grew up in Launceston, Tasmania, and in June 2008 graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Business. Within a month of graduating I had moved to Brisbane and enrolled in a Masters of Property Studies at the University of Queensland. Over the next three years I studied part-time and worked full-time until graduating in June 2011. Where are you currently working? What role/title?
I’m a funds analyst for Opus Capital Group in Brisbane, Queensland. Opus Capital Group is an integrated property funds management and real estate company currently managing over $200 million of Australian commercial real estate in several registered managed investment schemes. I manage the portfolio-level and asset-level financial models, undertaking cash flow analysis with a particular emphasis on capital requirements and debt serviceability, as well as preparing board papers and being involved in strategic decision at an asset level.
How did you come to be in this role?
After becoming a Registered Valuer and an Associate Member of the Australian Property Institute (API) in early 2012, I was approached by Opus Capital Group to join their team as an analyst. I saw it as a great opportunity to build on the experience gained in the valuation industry and to further challenge myself professionally.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in this area?
The funds management industry has always interested me, especially the complexity, constantly changing landscape and scale of transactions. In my current role I’m collaborating with valuers, financiers, property managers, project managers, investors, advisors and executives on a daily basis which is both challenging and rewarding.
What do you think are among the biggest challenges facing the property industry?
Restoring confidence in the marketplace, business uncertainty in the near term and the reduction in capital expenditure in the resources sector will continue to impinge upon property prices and increase volatility in equity markets. While the lower interest rate environment currently being experienced has increased the appetite for commercial property and the ability to fund acquisitions, tighter financing conditions and the requirement for lower levels of gearing will continue to restrict activity. With a federal election looming and a falling Australian dollar, uncertainty in the market place is set to remain in the short term.
Tell us a bit about your involvement in the YPP’s Queensland Division – what’s on the agenda?
I began my involvement with the YPP in May 2010. Initially my role was to participate in the development of a mentoring program for Queensland API members. The program was launched in 2011 and in its inaugural year, in conjunction with the API, successfully matched five mentors and mentees. The following year support grew and 17 mentors and mentees were matched.
Due the level of popularity over the past two years, the YPP has developed and implemented a Mentoring Series. It’s a unique opportunity for the API’s younger members to engage with professionals at the forefront of the industry, profiling their success stories and passing on a wealth of knowledge. We see it as an opportunity to build on the momentum generated by the API’s Mentoring Program. The first of three mentoring series will be held at the end of July, chaired by Peter Hyland, Regional Director, Urbis.
What are your plans for 2013? What do you hope to achieve?
The YPP had a successful start to 2013, holding two sell-out events back to back – the annual Careers Night and Site Inspection at Devine’s recently completed Hamilton Harbour mixed use development. The YPP is looking to build on this momentum and will be holding three more events this year including the Mentoring Series. As incoming Chair of the YPP, it is great to see our events continue to assist our members and those looking to join the API. It’s my hope that the success of our events continues to provide members with the opportunity to develop their property knowledge and skills, while building the API brand throughout the industry.
How could the API enhance service to members?
By creating synergies at a national level – this would include such things as reciprocal rights and benefits with corporate partners.
How is the API helping your career, and why do you believe a membership organisation such as the API is important to property professionals?
As an API member you’ll benefit from the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program and associated networking events. With the ever-changing landscape and current level of market-place confidence, it’s important to keep abreast of industry changes. The API, through its CPD program, provides a platform to stay informed and reinforces standards and methodologies required for many complex property matters.
What would you say to upcoming property professionals?
Join a professional body like the API. It will provide you with a platform to build a strong network of like-minded professionals, an opportunity to learn from industry leaders and enable you to keep abreast of changes affecting your profession. Set high standards for yourself and be goal-orientated.