Stars to Watch 2015: Malcolm Davies

CPE0215_stars_Davies_MalcolmPrincipal, George Smith Partners

What Others Say About Him: “He is 100 percent invested in his clients, and he works harder than anyone I know,” said Austin Richter, vice president with private equity firm Westbrook Properties.

Most Proud Of: Davies has played a role in roughly $1 billion worth of financings over his more than 15-year career in real estate finance, and he currently leads the structured finance group of national real estate investment banking firm George Smith Partners. In 2014, he stood out for orchestrating $95 million in construction financing for the 317-room Pendry San Diego, a $138 million hotel project that will mark Montage Hotels & Resorts’ first non-Montage-branded property.

But he also places paying it forward at the top of his list of accomplishments. He is a co-founder of the PEERS (Philanthropy, Entrepreneurism, Environment, Relationships and Social Endeavors) Network, a San Diego-area philanthropic group. Since its inception in 2009, PEERS has raised more than $1 million for various charitable organizations and served as a networking venue to inspire entrepreneurship.

Secrets to Success: “I think to be successful you’ve got to have a huge network. For any business, that’s important, but I think it’s an enormous component of commercial real estate. It’s really those relationships that help you get things done.”

Greatest Challenges: Surviving the real estate downturn that came with the global economic crisis. “I was too young at the time to see how bad it was going to be, and it took me a while to work through those challenges,” he observed. “It’s something you have to be persistent about.”

Best Advice Received: For him, it came in the form of knowledge obtained through experience, and more specifically, through mistakes. “I think it’s really important to know that nothing’s ever going to always be perfect, nothing’s ever going to always be right, but it shouldn’t change the fact that you’re going to work very, very hard and persevere through all of the ups and downs,” Davies said.

Advice to Others: “Be confident in what you do, continue to build relationships with everybody you meet at any time, and always treat people well.”

—Barbra Murray

CPE selected 17 individuals and teams as the 2015 Stars to Watch. Details on their accomplishments appear in the February 2015 issue.