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The banking jobs : Global Head of Research

  • Richard Malle Global Head of Research
  • France
  • 28.11.2017

Arriving at BNP Paribas Real Estate in 2007 as an economist, and later promoted to Global Head of Research in 2017, Richard Malle talks about the realities of his profession and the research challenges within banking.

In concrete terms, what is your activity at BNP Paribas Real Estate?

I coordinate a team of around fifty people in Europe, composed primarily of research leads (urban planners, geographers, etc.), economists and database managers specialized in different real estate asset types. We collect and compile a large volume of economic, financial and real estate data, from internal and external sources. 

Based on this information, we produce studies on markets in different countries and major cities in Europe… Ultimately, our goal is to support our clients in developing their real estate investment strategies by providing analyses that help them make informed decisions. 

What do these studies contain?

They focus on markets targeted by asset class (office, retail, warehouse, residential, etc.) and geographic zone. We then analyze a number of parameters: price and rent, profitability, supply, transaction level, absorption rate, etc. These studies provide a snapshot of a given market on a given date. They may be expanded by adding a prospective or projected forecast based on an economic and financial scenario.

We also produce ad-hoc studies to provide a detailed response to an investor’s specific request. For example, “what impact will the Grand Paris have on different real estate markets?” or “how will the boom in coworking and remote work affect demand for office space?”

Credits: BNP Paribas Real Estate

What expectations do clients have regarding your studies?

The 2009 economic crisis upset trends and outcomes have varied widely for different asset classes, and even within each market sub-segment… 

In this context, analyses and forecasts are valuable tools that investors need to make their real estate decisions. In response, our research department staff has doubled over the past 10 years. 

Moreover, for the past 15 years, real estate has emerged as an asset class of its own in Europe. It has become an essential product in any investment portfolio, for institutional and private investors alike.  

“ A taste for analysis, of course, that is both accurate and objective. But also a taste for change, because practices and tools are always changing. And this trend is always accelerating! ”

Richard Malle

Global Head of Research

What do you like most about your profession?

Its variety! I love the fact that I can continue to utilize high-level academic theories and research, while still remaining very close to the actual situations faced by investors every day. 

It’s also a position that is full of challenges. For example, we want to boost our position as a leader in real estate research, by encouraging more dynamic exchanges between countries so we can work together better and develop common projects, all within markets with contrasting practices, cultures and economic situations!  

What experience influenced you the most?

Living through several major economic crises over the past ten years—the subprime crisis, followed by the European sovereign debt crisis, the Brexit referendum, the U.S. elections, etc. Each of these events could have compelled us to adjust our forecast analyses.  These events were rarely included within our base scenarios, and sometimes occurred the night before or even on the same morning we had to give an important presentation to a panel of clients. Dealing with those situations demands flexibility, as well as humility, in the complex practice of forecasting markets.  

How did you become Global Head of Research at BNP Paribas?

I started my career at BNP Paribas Real Estate as doctoral forecasting economist, working with the Research France department from 2007 to 2009. I wrote my doctoral thesis on the real estate economy, focusing in particular on how to improve office rent forecasting. For a young doctoral student in economics, banks offer the best career opportunities due to the resources and goals of their research services.

After completing my thesis, I was named director of the Research France department in 2010, then Global Head of Research in 2017. I am also an associate professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in France, where I teach real estate economics.

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