Donald Simpson

Donald Simpson, managing partner, Cowiesburn, which recently launched in Glasgow's IFSD, on how Glasgow is currently viewed by international investors as a strong contender.

Watching the daily news, it would be easy to assume that attracting inward investment to the UK at present is a lost cause; with banks and large corporates threatening imminent relocation, the landscape appears bleak, but despite the clouds, there are green shoots of optimism that are certainly worth nourishing.

As much as the threat of an exodus of corporate relocation is prevalent in the news agenda, we continue to see interest in Scotland - and certainly Glasgow - from international investors. This is largely due to differing perspectives on the relative risks involved: as we sit in the midst of the maelstrom, the perceived risk for overseas investors is very different. In other words, if your own country or region is volatile, politically, financially or both, the current uncertainty within the UK can seem minor in comparison. Certainly, we will see some short-term instability, but the bigger picture over the longer term is that stability will be re-established and investors will see good returns - particularly if their investment horizon is more than short term.

Donald Simpson

However, managing a property investment portfolio from afar comes with its own set of problems, with investors feeling a lack of control, so it is key that the commercial property sector acknowledges and adapts to this if it is to successfully capitalise on these opportunities.

For example, the ability to view and manage a portfolio income and expenditure in 'real time', is vital, but generally not possible within the sector. This is an issue addressed by Cowieburn through our online management system. This has allowed us to grow by 100% in the last 12 months and to expand into Glasgow's IFSD, with a large part of this growth fuelled by new instructions from international investors.

Glasgow will always represent good overseas investment opportunities; although the pipeline of available commercial property opportunities is improving, there remains an exceptional opportunity to invest, as the city's supply remains limited. With large corporates such as Barclays recently announcing huge investment in the city, and Glasgow's media hub thriving, the city is seen internationally as a strong contender for investment on an international level.

It remains to be seen how coming months will play out, but on a global stage, the UK remains relatively stable and an attractive investment option - we as a sector however need to make sure we develop and innovate at a rate that means we can welcome these opportunities.

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