Matthew joined Columbia Threadneedle Real Estate Partners (formerly BMO Real Estate Partners) in July 2017 as a Director and to take over as Fund Manager of the RSA Shareholders Real Estate Fund. He was also Deputy Fund Manager of the Balanced Commercial Property Trust until taking on the Lead Fund Manager role for CT Property Trust in July 2022. Before joining the group in 2017 he was a Deputy Fund Manager at Hermes Investment Management, where he spent six years as part of the BT Pension Scheme fund management team and launched the company’s PRS Fund. Before Hermes, Matthew worked for a substantial AIM listed real estate fund specialising in UK development and German real estate. Matthew is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, has an MSc in Real Estate, and holds the IMC.
Who is Matt Howard? How did you find yourself in the position you’re in today?
I’m a Fund Manager within CT Real Estate Partners, looking after a commercial property segregated mandate and am also deputy on the Balanced Commercial Property Trust. I joined the business in 2017 arriving from Federated Hermes, where I spent 6 years. I have now been in the industry for 17 years, qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor in 2008.
Why Real Estate? What is it about the trust that you find the most exciting?
I have always been fascinated by the built environment. How it’s used and what makes it good, bad, ugly, special? Real Estate also goes hand-in-hand with history, which is another subject of great interest. For example, if you look at the skyline of any town or city the buildings will tell you so much about the economic, political and socio-demographic history of that location and what led it to where it is today. The use of real estate never stays still and it is important to be aware of this when doing our job.
What else are you passionate about in the finance world?
I find it highly satisfying that you can use your area of specialism and interest to create value and accretive returns for your investors. For example, when you acquire an asset and invest in that building, you are able to attract an occupier and help facilitate the growth and success of that business. This is mutually beneficial for all stakeholders and also your small part in driving the economy. As an added bonus, the greatest part of real estate is that you can literally see what you have achieved!
Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
Whilst studying for a year at Michigan State University in North America (as part of my undergraduate Business degree) I landed the role as the ‘British Student’ in a university based public-access TV show run by students, which was broadcast to the South Michigan area. Sadly that was the peak of my acting ‘career’ but thankfully I didn’t lose focus on my studies!
What did you learn over the course of last year?
There is a well-known proverb ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Although this is true I think a more pertinent, albeit perhaps less eloquent, proverb should be ‘necessity is the mother of adoption’. When you look at how the world adapted so quickly in the spring of 2020 it relied heavily on technologies and capabilities that already existed. The pandemic forced the breaking down of cultural and habitual barriers, which has meant the acceleration of so many trends in how we live and work. Therefore, the changes we had to make were to embrace what was already there.