Investing with Oyster: Peter Maxwell’s Journey8 December 2022 / 4 min read
In 2016, Peter Maxwell became one of 50 wholesale investors in the Cider Proportionate Ownership Scheme, a single asset scheme holding Ponsonby’s landmark, multi-use Cider Building.
For 30 years he had been accumulating commercial properties in partnership with friends. After selling these properties, Peter looked to Oyster to replicate what he and his friends had been doing, without the hassle of hands-on property and investment management.
We sat down with him to discuss his experiences of growing his portfolio as an Oyster investor over the past six years.
“We jumped at the chance to access an exceptional property.”
Peter says that when the opportunity to invest in Ponsonby’s Cider Building came up through Oyster in 2016, he jumped at the chance to access an exceptional property in a prime location. He’d been looking for a while, and the property ticked all the boxes.
“It was Oyster’s investment strategy that set them apart.”
Throughout the process, Peter looked at several unlisted fund managers and says it was Oyster’s investment strategy that made it stand out.
“We like to know what we are buying and with Oyster, we could be confident we were investing in a fully complete asset that would require little further development or transactional activity.”
“Their portfolio suits my risk-averse approach to investing. They’re very good at finding the right assets.”
Over the years, Peter’s portfolio with Oyster has grown and he says he has seen Oyster’s active management strategy and long-term view play out firsthand.
“It’s hard enough to make the money, you don’t want to give it to somebody to lose for you,” he says.
“The market for transactions is low at the moment so Oyster is not buying a lot. But when they do, they are good at picking the right time to get the right assets at the right price.
“Oyster acquisitions fit a very specific profile. The team invests in assets that are a genuine long-term hold, and that is what commercial property investment is all about.”
“A brilliant investment experience.”
From both a management and performance perspective, Peter says the Oyster experience has been “brilliant”.
“Oyster has been around for a long time, and it has a quality group of people running it,” he says.
“I’ve had total returns that have averaged in the high teens, when you include both the capital and revenue returns.
“We’ve got a nice regular revenue – which is what you’d have if you owned the building yourself – but you get that without all the ancillary risks.”
Peter says the investment experience has required very little hands-on involvement from his end.
“They’re much better at negotiating with tenants on a professional footing than we were as direct owners, so we’re getting better rent rises and longer leases.
“I’m very pleased with the reporting process too. We always have a clear picture of how the Scheme is being actively managed, and how it is performing.”
“A better product for the money that I had to invest.”
Peter says it is especially important to take a long-term view in the current economic environment.
“Oyster are fully active managers, from the operational details of the property through to supporting long-term fund performance.
“This approach was really highlighted over the COVID-19 lockdown periods – we had much better rental recovery than we could have got on our own.
“The team at Oyster thinks well beyond just making a margin on something and flicking it on to solve a problem – they are very focused on total returns.”