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By J.C. Hay ’19
The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) Fall Conference is the seniors housing and care industry’s leading annual conference, attended by owners, investors, operators and service providers. In addition to those mentioned above, each year NIC invites a group of students to attend the conference as well to network with the attendees and participate in the sessions. From Wednesday October 17, 2018 to Friday October 19, 2018, I had the opportunity to represent Columbia Business School at the 2018 NIC Fall Conference in Chicago, having been selected by NIC as a sponsored student fellow.
The 2018 conference provided opportunities for attendees to network and gain insights into current market trends and innovations as well as the disruptions facing the industry. A recurring theme that resonated throughout the conference was the challenging investment landscape. Despite rising interest rates and the challenges of an uncertain political landscape for healthcare, senior housing has still drawn the attention of large institutional investors and a lot of capital has flowed into the space over the last year. This dynamic has led to continued price stability and high levels 0f transactions despite strong wave of new supply and falling occupancies.
The first and second day of the conference focused on these current market trends, and the outlook for investing in seniors housing over the next year, with panels comprised of investors and owners. The second day was capped off by two general sessions, including a keynote session featuring Gary Cohen, Former Director of the National Economic Council being interviewed by CNBC’s senior economic reporter, Steve Liesman. Liesman and Cohen covered a spectrum of topics from Mr. Cohen’s time in the Trump White House, tax reform and trade to each of their views on interest rates and entitlement programs in the U.S. The hour and a half conversation was a frank discussion of the many of the challenges ahead for the U.S. and the participants in the audience, but also a discussion of opportunities which spurred many discussions afterwards among the participants.
The second of the two general sessions featured technology expert Vivek Wadhwa who gave the audience a fascinating look into the future and how he believes technology will change senior housing and care. Mr. Wadhwa took the audience through a discussion of examples of the future disruptions he sees in nearly every industry. The topics discussed ranged from self-driving cars making transportation easier for the elderly to 3D printing of medical devices to robots and in-home self-administered medical testing.
The final day featured panels which were focused for operators of seniors housing and care and service providers. The highlight of the day was a panel on new innovations in the use of data and artificial intelligence within senior care facilities. These innovations are focused on increasing the level of patient care in the facilities and reducing hospitalizations, while also reducing operating costs.
The three days were packed with networking and deal-making opportunities for the participants. I was able to hear directly from operators of seniors housing and care about some of their biggest challenges and frustrations, and directly from some of the biggest investors in the space about their view on future investment and market trends in seniors housing. As a student fellow I also had the chance to connect with students from other schools and many Columbia Business School alumni who were attending the conference. Overall, I enjoyed the conference and found it to be a great learning experience in a sector which I have always had interest, but that has historically received less attention in my classes. I would highly recommend applying to attend in the future to any student who has an interest in seniors housing and care, or is interested in exploring a fast-emerging real estate sector.
Thank you to the NIC for hosting a great event and for sponsoring me to attend.
J.C. Hay ’19 is a 2nd year MBA candidate at Columbia Business School focused on real estate investment. He currently serves as the Vice President of Alumni and Mentorship for the Real Estate Association. Prior to CBS, J.C. Hay was a Vice President at JPMorgan’s Private Bank working with High Net Worth Individuals, Families, Endowments and Foundations where he oversaw $650MM in client assets. In his role there, J.C. advised clients on investments, banking, credit, and wealth advisory. While advising his clients on their investments, J.C. became very interested in the real estate investments his clients were making and decided to attend Columbia Business School to transition into real estate investment. J.C. interned this summer at Greystar in Portfolio Management in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a CFA charter holder and a member of the Junior Committee of CaringKind.