Oxford Properties Group is a global real estate owner, developer and manager headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Established in 1960, the firm manages over C$57 billion of assets worldwide on behalf of its co-owners and investment partners. Oxford’s portfolio encompasses office, retail, industrial, hotels and multifamily residential.
Business Challenge and Solution
As Oxford Properties grew, their planning and analysis needs could not be met by their existing budgeting and forecasting capabilities, and the current solution could not effectively scale with the business. After pushing the solution past its limits, Oxford Properties needed a new way to manage its portfolio data and evaluate the impact of assumptions on its business. They implemented MRI Investment Management software as a comprehensive tool to address strategic planning, modelling, and debt. The solution allows the firm to better manage the increasingly sophisticated decision-making processes in the real estate investment world.
Investment Management has enabled us to quickly see a more sophisticated, aggregated view of our entire portfolio. It sets us up to scale instead of trying to patch things together with other solutions.
Julie McMillan, Vice President, Finance & Strategy
Investment Management allows Oxford to improve treasury functions and the strategic planning process by gaining a better understanding of how potential acquisitions or dispositions may impact the portfolio. The firm can evaluate transactions, not only from a balance sheet perspective, but also on a total return basis, further broken down into income and capital components that reflect a changing real estate environment.
By reducing manual input, Investment Management helps Oxford make more accurate capital appreciation projections. Previously, the firm
used spreadsheets to calculate future-year asset valuations, but now, utilising Investment Management’s valuation engine, Oxford can calculate future-year asset values based on forward-looking cash flows, which helps provide a clearer picture and a more robust future perspective. The tools give senior management more transparent information on which to base decisions.
Previously, the firm reached the end of Microsoft Excel – they literally were not able to add another row without the file crashing. MRI’s investment solutions give Oxford the freedom to continue to aggregate more data and add sophistication to their financial models to support their expanding portfolio.
The Debt module serves as Oxford’s system of record and integrates with the treasury function so that no duplicate data entry is required. This has streamlined the process of conducting the debt forecast and strategic plan, and ensures alignment across different teams in the organisation. The integration also gives Oxford the ability to make more informed decisions with instant insight into risk and exposure.
Strategic planning and top-down modelling
Oxford creates strategic plans each year to support its five-year plan. The process of ‘top-down modelling’ allows Oxford to evaluate an abundantly large amount of inputs en masse, including acquisitions, developments, dispositions and assumptions, and shows the projected impacts on the sectors of their business factoring in hypothetical equity and refinancing. The system allows Oxford to quickly calculate valuations, income and capital forecasts, consolidate cash flows and run sensitivities on ‘what if’ scenarios.