Carriages, Cars, And Policeman – By Scott Picken, Senior Managing Partner of Wealth Migrate

WM ScottBy: Scott Picken, Founder & Senior Managing Partner of Wealth Migrate.

I’m Scott Picken, the founder and Senior Managing Partner of Wealth Migrate. Our investment committee has collectively 227 years of experience in international real estate. We have facilitated 10,779 investments to a value of over $1.3 billion and invested on five continents. We’re passionate about Crowdfunding as an enabler of our current business, helping to make everything more efficient, accessible, and transparent.

When I spoke at the Coastal Shows event in New York City at the end of June, many of those speaking and attending seemed to believe that Crowdfunding was invented in America in 2012. Far from it! In Australia and elsewhere around the globe, companies have been Crowdfunding for years. At this moment I’m returning from a Crowdfunding conference in Singapore, which was conservatively speaking 10 times the size of the New York City event.

Why invest globally? Because real estate markets do not all move in synch. When the U.S. market was plummeting in 2007-8, the Australian market was doing quite well, actually growing on average by 8.6% in 2009. And if anyone hasn’t noticed, the U.S. dollar has lost about 72% of its value against other major currencies over the last 10 years. No one market, not even the U.S., can protect itself against that kind of loss.

It is just like in nature. When winter comes in the Northern hemisphere the birds fly south and when summer returns they fly north. Migration is a law of nature, and yet we humans remain firmly planted in one place, winter and summer. It is why we called our company Wealth Migrate, as in the 21st century it is about finding the safest and best returns, globally.

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Conspiracy of the Rich and Jim Rogers in Street Smarts, both teach that the easiest way to get rich is to follow long-term trends. If the globalization of the international economy is not a long-term trend, then I don’t know a long-term trend.

Actually, globalization is not enough – just try selling American cheeseburgers in China. At Wealth Migrate we believe in glocalization, which means thinking globally and acting locally. McDonald’s modifies its menu to fit local tastes and we find best-of-breed partners on the ground in local markets and then partner with them. A bird in a flock can fly 70% further than a bird flying on its own.

Read my book, Property Going Global. It’s all about successful investing in foreign markets.

When I read Ben Miller’s post about the problems he faced with his first Crowdfunding offering, I knew exactly what he was talking about. You can’t imagine how many accountants and lawyers told us “No!” when we started to look at the U.S. investor market and the opportunities in the US. With everyone using the Internet for everything, with Twitter literally driving the Arab Spring, the investment world needed to change from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles and these “experts” were like policemen not giving us a license to drive a car. It just about drove me crazy but fortunately not so crazy that I gave up.

In 1998 I wrote a dissertation about the real estate market and the coming IT revolution. My synopsis said “taking an old industry, steeped in tradition and run by many smaller, disparate and often inefficient operators, and redefining it through the use of web technology to increase global reach, partnerships and efficiencies of scale, so as to provide a ‘one stop’ enhanced and personalized service to our clients.” I didn’t realize then that I was talking about Crowdfunding, the real estate finance market, and Wealth Migrate, but that sums up our business model pretty well.

Look, almost 50% of the world’s wealth is held in real estate yet only a small fraction of the world’s population (12.9%) owns real estate, much less has access to great deals. I am a firm believer in the business philosophy of Zig Ziglar that “You can have anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” The Afrikaans say “Ver van jou goed, na aan jou skade,” which loosely translated means “Keep your assets close to home, if you don’t want to lose them.” But in the 21st century that is no longer true. To give millions of individuals what they want, we need to look beyond our own homes, even beyond our own national borders, and ultimately help create global wealth for all.

In my opinion it’s a great time for cars, not a great time for carriages or outdated policemen, but the cars do need to be driven safely. It is all about trust, transparency and most importantly everyone’s interests being aligned. You are no longer bound to a country, a currency, an economy or even an asset class. I believe it is less about where you live and more important about where you wealth lives.


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