REC Awards 2020: The winners revealed

Last year was the industry’s toughest since the global financial crisis of 2007-08, but business continued to be done, despite the uncertainty. Read on to find out which organisations and deals were voted last year’s best.

At long last, the winners of the seventh annual Real Estate Capital Awards can be revealed.

Across the following pages, you will find the lenders, borrowers, service providers and transactions that were voted by you, our readers, as the best of 2020.

For most of us, last year will be one to forget. Covid-19 caused huge disruption to Europe’s real estate finance industry. However, as the following pages demonstrate, the market did not grind to a complete halt. As the pandemic forced most of Europe into lockdowns, the supply of debt became significantly constrained. Yet some continued to close lending deals. The market dislocation, and the financing opportunities it created, even spurred some into action.

Our previous six annual awards recognised those that stood out in a bullish, highly competitive market. The 2020 iteration is all about those that persevered despite conditions no one had ever before encountered.

As for the awards themselves, this was the largest year yet, with two additional categories bringing the total to 33. A new award, Small-Ticket Market Lender of the Year: Europe, was launched to acknowledge those providing loans in the busy sub-€20 million part of the market. Meanwhile, the Fundraising of the Year: Europe award was designed to recognise those managers which were most successful at raising capital.

Our awards process began in October, when we invited organisations to tell us why they deserved to be considered for our categories. Submissions by no means guaranteed a place on our shortlists, but they did provide us with food for thought and we are grateful to all those that took the time to get in touch. Throughout November, we undertook the difficult but fascinating task of deciding who should make each shortlist – a process that involved delving into our coverage from the year, polling the views of trusted industry sources, and plenty of head-scratching.

In December, we opened the voting to the public to have the final say. You were not allowed to vote for your own companies, and only votes from company email addresses were counted. After a rigorous check of the results, we confirmed the winners.

Your choices tell us a lot about the market in 2020. Across the following pages, we have considered what we can learn from your selections about the year’s major trends.

Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to the runners-up. We hope you enjoy finding out which organisations and deals attracted the industry’s recognition during a difficult year.