Executive Q&A: Nuveen’s New CIO

Carly Tripp discussed how the global investment manager is remaining disciplined and focused on long-term strategy while being flexible and open-minded.
Carly Tripp, Chief Investment Officer, Nuveen Real Estate.  Image courtesy of Nuveen 

Nuveen Real Estate, one of the largest global real estate investment managers with $125 billion of assets under management globally, named Carly Tripp to be chief investment officer for its U.S. investment portfolio.

In her former role as managing director and global head of real estate and alternatives for the TIAA General Account, Tripp focused on directing investment strategy for its global multi-asset class alternative portfolio, including an approximate $40 billion real estate program. Against the backdrop of slowing economic growth and continued uncertainty, Tripp shared with CPE insights ranging from what investors can expect from her and her team to her greatest challenge as a woman in leadership. 

How will you translate your experience in your previous role as portfolio manager on TIAA Real Estate Asset Account, a daily marked-to-market, open-end fund comprised of over $20 billion of net assets, into your new role as chief investment officer? 

The most significant takeaway is that remaining disciplined and focused on your long-term strategy while being flexible and open-minded in your tactics is key to sustaining performance. That lesson transfers well into my current role as we invest on behalf of several mandates and aligning cross-functional objectives is key.

What is your leadership style and what can real estate companies expect when working with you and your team? 

I identify most with a transformational leadership style as I recognize the importance of embracing change in a rapidly evolving world. External relationships and business partners can expect our team to be nimble, smart and deliberate in what we do and how we do it.  

 TIAA’s Nuveen also has announced plans for a massive expansion into the coveted multifamily sector. Can you discuss the broad strokes of those plans and what will differentiate you from other institutional investors? 

Yes, we launched the U.S. Cities Multifamily Fund on February 15, which is one piece of our U.S. open-end core fund lineup that also includes sector-specific funds for industrial, office and retail. Together, investors can utilize the full suite of products to develop a global allocation to core real estate with a manager that has a long history and wide reach through the 26 offices we operate from globally.

What do you perceive currently to be the greatest challenge for institutional investors? Climate change? The ongoing late-stage of the cycle? Geopolitical events?   

There are many challenges to today’s investment climate but, where there is challenge, there is also always opportunity. Each investor has unique circumstances and constraints, but a common theme today is meeting return hurdles in the face of slowing growth and continued uncertainty.

What role does potential climate risk play your investment decision-making and how do you see that issue playing out over the next decade? 

We go through a robust exercise on each investment to identify potential risks and continue to develop a thesis around how these risks will impact our decision-making process in the future.  As new information and technology ripens, I believe advisors and investors globally will be leaders and drive change through how they allocate dollars.

Despite ongoing progress, there are still very few women in the C-suite in commercial real estate. What are your greatest challenges as a woman in leadership?

Yes, there are very few women at the C-suite level, but like I said the greatest opportunities are typically disguised as challenges. The greatest challenges I face today and have faced on my journey have been self-imposed. As women we need to remember that being a good mother and having a successful career are not mutually exclusive and we shouldn’t let the shadow of societal norms define who we are as women, individuals and professionals. Be willing to find your voice in the face of doubt and pave your own way.

What advice do you have for professional real estate women at the beginning of their careers? 

Stay focused on where you’re going and don’t be distracted by the day to day―endurance always wins.