Omer Brakin, Head of Portfolio Management, discusses his day-to-day involvement in Cogress, working closely with developers, providing investors with answers, and what sets Cogress apart.
Omer is a fully certified corporate solicitor specialising in real estate and tenancy law. Prior to joining Cogress, he was an associate at one of the largest law firms in Israel. This legal background has given him the ability to quickly grasp and explain the complex legalities that property developments entail.
Tell us more about what you do at Cogress?
“I am the main point of contact for our developers. We are in constant communication with our partners, ensuring that all of our investments and developments are on track in terms of their timelines and finances. Building strong and collaborative relationships with developers is an integral part of maintaining the transparency that makes us attractive to developers and investors alike.
Of course, working in property development, you learn quite quickly that issues will always arise, and to expect the unexpected. If there’s an issue, be it financial, time delays, planning permissions or anything else, I am the one responsible for getting answers from the developer and disseminating all relevant information to our stakeholders as we collaborate with the developer to resolve the issue.”
What’s the most important part of your role?
“There are three things that I consider to be the most important: attention to detail, regular communication with developers, and giving all the relevant information to our investors. All of this requires me to have an intricate understanding of every aspect of our property developments. I have to be alert to absolutely every single detail and its potential impact should something go wrong. The complexity of property developments means that there are many variables, all of which can affect a development’s schedule. As far as I’m concerned, the devil really is in the details. It is precisely by being so detail-oriented that we develop strong bonds of trust and confidence with our developers and investors, that and knowing that they can access real-time updates on their investment.
Cogress operates on a completely transparent business model, which means that all the information I receive from our developers needs to be relayed to our investors. We aren’t measured by our investors when everything is fine, and running smoothly, but rather when there’s an issue with a development. How we respond and deal with issues is critical to our success and building our network of qualified investors. We use our combined property, financial, and legal experience, together with a wide external network of property professionals to solve issues together with developers. At Cogress, we are developers as well. So not only are we fully briefed in understanding all the potential complications that can be involved in property development, but by the same measure we are also incredibly adept at resolving these issues.”
What does a typical day look like for you at Cogress?
“A typical day varies for me, but what remains consistent is the need to continually liaise with developers to make sure I have a holistic understanding of how each development is progressing. I make sure that my team visit all of our developments on a monthly basis so that we are able to frequently update our investors via reports and information that we place on our online portal. Seeing the developments for myself though and speaking with the developers in person is invaluable and by far the best way for me to ascertain how a development is progressing. Making these details accessible is a crucial element of growing trust with our investors, but also it reinforces our accountability as a company.”
What do you think makes Cogress different to other investment firms?
“I think that in part it’s because we have traditional values and believe in strong relationship building. Fostering positive relationships with developers is fundamental to what makes Cogress successful, because it engenders trust. It’s quite simple; if developers trust and have confidence in us, then they will want to continue working with us.
What also sets us apart is that we understand that developments are not just about materials and money. The vision of the developer is bound up in the development. Cogress is accountable to our developers because we want to help them achieve their vision and succeed. We collaborate with them to overcome the many hurdles that developments experience.”
What do you think sets Cogress apart?
“Transparency is the key to the success of the Cogress Model. This extends to every single aspect of our operation, but emanates centrally from our dedication to being accountable and delivering all relevant information to our qualified investors. Frequent communication with our investors through quarterly reports, flash reports and via our online portal is essential in gaining their trust, and for ensuring they have a complete understanding of our developments and their respective progress.
The flip side of this coin, is that we work on the basis of having complete transparency from our development partners. Before we start working with them, developers have to pass our stringent due diligence process. Unique to Cogress is that we perform due diligence on both our developments and their developers as an integral part of brokering accountable relationships, solidly built on trust. Doing so means we have a much better picture of the developments and our partners, so that we can fully assess each investment’s feasibility, risks and returns. This is vital in assuring our investors that we are presenting them with viable, intelligent investment opportunities.”
What is it that you enjoy about working for Cogress?
“It’s a combination of the potential and opportunity that working at Cogress presents, and its atmosphere. There is a very real sense of being part of a team working here, which is infused in the company’s camaraderie and culture. I strongly believe in what we do at Cogress and it is very satisfying to know that all of my fellow colleagues share the same belief. Every one of us wants to work hard for all concerned. We are completely committed to presenting transparent and viable investments to our investors, but we pay equal attention to helping our investors and developers succeed simultaneously. Success is not just about providing finance; it is about creating opportunity for all stakeholders, including all of the developers that we work with. For these reasons and more, Cogress is a very satisfying place to work.”
Any final advice you would give to Cogress investors?
“My advice to investors is to be patient and choose wisely – there’s no rush. Cogress offers such a wide variety of investment opportunities, some shorter term, some longer, so there is no need for you to rush any investment opportunities. Our aim is to ensure transparency and build trust with our investors and present them with the best available opportunities. We are committed to supplying our investors with all information available from JVA documents, to schedules, to developer updates, so that they can make an informed decision – and of course we are here to help.”