Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
The National Investment Fund (NIF) is hunting a manager to oversee its resort portfolio as a discrete asset class.
On Monday, Senior Director of Investments Audrey Deer-Williams said the pension fund has hired development consultants Kronos Limited to handle the recruitment in Jamaica and overseas.
Kronos' ad says the new recruit must ensure that NIF's resort properties are equipped and maintained "in the intended condition".
The NIF is currently embroiled in two legal cases regarding the maintenance of resort property that were managed under lease. Negotiations for resolution are continuing, the NIF said Tuesday.
NIF's hotel holdings include the 226-room Braco hotel in Trelawny; 49 per cent of the former Breezes Montego Bay; six units in Point Village Negril; and El Greco Resort in Montego Bay. The Point Village units have been placed on the market for sale.
The value of the assets were not disclosed but the NIF's real-estate portfolio, which currently includes the resort assets, is valued at just under J$10 billion and accounts for close to 16 per cent of NIF's total asset portfolio.
Reporting to the director of real estate, the resort assets manager will act as the owner's representative to monitor contracted hotel operators or internal hotel management staff.
"It is a new position. The person will concentrate on resort holdings, particularly Braco, to ensure we maximise returns," said Deer-Williams.
"The person will largely monitor financial operations of the property," she said.
Braco hotel is owned 100 per cent by NIF but is held through the Commissioner of Lands.
The new manager will find him or herself overseeing the tail end of an ongoing J$1.5-billion upgrade at Braco, which has been leased to Spanish chain Melia, according to Deer-Williams.
The project is not likely to conclude before the second half of the winter season, Deer-Williams said on Tuesday. The winter tourist season begins in mid-December and ends in April.
NIF is aiming to grow its entire real-estate portfolio to J$12 billion this year as it continues to diversify its asset portfolio away from government securities. The fund lost J$6 billion this year under the National Debt Exchange.
NIF aims to grow real estate to 19 per cent of the asset portfolio. The fund last month confirmed it was finalising a purchase of property in Washington DC and is considering other property acquisitions.