SFO Group: A Disciplined Approach to Real Estate Investing

SFO Group is a multi-family office and an active global real estate investor.

It focuses on international direct real estate investment and offers wealth-management services to member families. Real estate is SFO’s preferred asset class which, when coupled with traditional asset classes, lowers the overall volatility of a portfolio. This constitutes a defensive alternative, hedging against inflation while providing geographical diversification.

Led by CEO Mohamad Abouchalbak, SFO’s 20-strong team of professionals operates from bases in London, Paris, Miami and Beirut. The team members bring diverse and complementary experience to the table, specialising in private equity real estate, advisory and investment banking, with its members having held positions with global financial institutions and/or real estate investment funds. The result is a balance of youth and experience that makes SFO a dynamic and agile player.

SFO follows a disciplined approach to real estate investing by adopting distinct investment strategies in select geographies. It has developed deep knowledge of the markets and the investment landscape.

“Our solid track record shows that we are on the right path,” says Abouchalbak, “working with trusted partners to source, underwrite and manage high quality assets in promising locations.”

SFO’s US housing programme — which accounts for more than half of its existing portfolio — acquires income-generating assets with long-term appreciation prospects. This provides a hedge against inflation and interest rate hikes, targeting US multifamily properties in secondary cities benefitting from favourable demographics, talent pools and business-friendly fiscal environments, and generating strong in-place cash flows with predictable yields and solid leasing history.

SFO also focuses on student accommodation close to top-tier state universities with sustained enrolment growth and supportive supply and demand dynamics, attracting investors who seek stable income streams.

A case in point is the acquisition of Landmark at Creekside Grand, a multifamily community of c. 500 units in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta is the economic powerhouse of the south-east, leading job-creation efforts and home to 16 of America’s Fortune 500 companies.
“Our acquisition of Landmark, followed by the implementation of our value-add programme and successful exit, cements our reputation for delivering attractive returns in highly competitive markets,”, Abouchalbak says.

The Commercial Value-Add programme represents a third of SFO’s growing portfolio, focusing on the acquisition of under-invested assets by implementing capital improvement programmes. It targets office buildings in select European cities including Paris and Germany’s “Big Seven”.
This programme caters to investors seeking currency and geographic diversification, capturing value in the form of capital appreciation realised over shorter holding periods.

As of November 2019, SFO has acquired assets totalling some $1.1bn, comprising more than 4,000 US housing units and 5 million of square feet of commercial space. SFO is a member of Saradar Capital Holding, a diversified family conglomerate with a 70-year-old history of building excellence across sectors and geographies.

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