Fidelity’s sustainability report reveals strong female representation

Turns out, Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (FNF), one of the nation’s top providers of title insurance services to the real estate and mortgage industries, is a champion of women in leadership roles and in the workplace.

The company’s first Sustainability Report, an overview of the company’s sustainability related policies, strategies, initiatives and performance in 2019, shows 10% of the FNF Board of Directors, 25% of FNF’s Executive Team, and 66% of the workforce are women.

FNF established a companywide Women in Leadership program that encourages and promotes women into active leadership roles, and fosters an inclusive workplace by welcoming all people. Its corporate governance guidelines for selecting new directors also includes “considering a diversity of age, gender or gender identification, nationality, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.”

The report highlights the fact that 80% of FNF’s members of the Board of Directors are independent from management. The Board is required to focus on good governance practices, and accountability of the company’s management.

“We believe that building a sustainable business means being transparent about our business practices, corporate governance, and commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Chief Executive Officer, Randy Quirk. 

In 2019, FNF launched a digital strategy initiative promoting sustainability through paperless technology programs; increased electronic payment processing, significantly reducing paper waste; deployed Energy Star-compliant technology in majority of data centers; reduced the company’s footprint environmental impact through energy efficiency, water conservation and waste management.

FNF employees across all local operations donated thousands of hours annually “to serve their communities, including feeding the hungry, volunteering at hometown charitable organizations, and fundraising for philanthropic efforts.”

Sustainability reporting is one way for companies to determine their impact on the environment and society. Sustainability investing reportedly is becoming more popular even though the lack of standardization in sustainability reporting poses a challenge for investors wishing to maximize their social responsibility.

“We’re committed to upholding our company’s core values, which inspire us to do our best each day, driving sustainability within FNF and the communities in which we operate,” said Quirk.



Fannie extends renter protections to 24 months

Fannie Mae is stepping it up. To assist renters in multifamily units and support Fannie Mae-financed multifamily property owners affected by COVID-19, the GSE has extended renter protections and forbearance extensions for borrowers to a maximum of 24 months.

Fannie’s Delegated Underwriting and Servicing lenders have been “delegated the decision” to extend existing forbearances for multifamily property owners by three months, for a total forbearance of up to six months, the agency explained in a release.

If extended, once the forbearance period concludes, “the borrower may qualify” for up to 24 months to repay the missed payments. Meanwhile, during forbearance, the property owner “must suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent.”

Other tenant protections owners of Fannie-financed multifamily properties with a new or extended forbearance are required to provide during the repayment period include:

  • Allow the tenant to repay rent over time and not in a lump sum
  • Not charge late fees or penalties
  • Give the tenant at least a 30-day notice to vacate.

“By offering our multifamily borrowers a forbearance extension up to six months, as well as updated repayment schedules that allow repayment to take place over 24 months, we believe we’re continuing to offer common-sense solutions that work for everyone during these unprecedented times,” said Jeff Hayward, Executive Vice President, Multifamily.

Since March, Fannie has taken a number of renter assistance actions extending eviction protections  when the property owner received forbearance. KnowYourOptions.com helps homeowners and renters, who have access to the Disaster Response Network’s HUD-approved housing counselors.

Blackstone & Hudson partner in $1.6B Hollywood studio revival

There’s no business like show business, just ask Blackstone. Global investor Blackstone Real Estate and real estate investment trust Hudson Pacific Properties, Inc. have big revival plans for some of Hollywood’s most famous production studios. The pair announced a joint venture partnership that will focus on expanding certain Hollywood studios and offices whose gross portfolio valuation is at nearly $1.65 billion.

The transaction is marked to close in the third quarter of this year.

Blackstone Property Partners has agreed to purchase a 49% stake in Hudson Pacific’s Hollywood Media Portfolio, a collection of three studio facilities and five Class A office buildings totaling 2.2 million square feet.

Hudson Pacific will retain a 51% ownership stake and remain responsible for day-to-day operations, leasing and development, according to a joint statement.

“Hudson Pacific has been at the forefront of Hollywood’s renaissance for more than a decade, owning, operating and building world-class creative office and production campuses,” said Victor Coleman, Chairman and CEO of Hudson Pacific. The joint venture with Blackstone unlocks a portion of the value and provides “significant capital to grow both our studio and office portfolios, including the build-out of additional development rights at our existing studios.”

The transaction’s three properties, Sunset Bronson, Sunset Gower and Sunset Las Palmas Studios, include 35 stages or 1.2 million square feet of production and support space in Hollywood. They consist of “critical infrastructure” for television, film and digital production from traditional and streaming media company tenants.

Attached to the studios are 966,000 square feet “of highly sought-after Class A office properties” Hudson Pacific has developed on or adjacent to the lots. Netflix is the largest tenant, leasing over 700,000 square feet, in addition to signing long-term deals for stages and production space.

The joint venture will tap on unused property development rights to build an additional 1.1 million square feet of office and production space at Sunset Gower and Sunset Las Palmas Studios, the statement notes, and plans to pursue “future studio acquisitions in Los Angeles and other key markets.”

“Our business is driven by investing thematically in sectors with powerful secular tailwinds, and there is no better example of that than content creation in Los Angeles,” said Ken Caplan, Global Co-Head of Blackstone Real Estate. “We could not be more excited to partner with Hudson Pacific on this irreplaceable portfolio” for the long-term.

The two partners have a successful history of collaboration. It includes Hudson Pacific’s $3.5 billion purchase of an office portfolio in 2015 and a 1.5 million-square-foot joint venture purchase in Vancouver, Canada last year.

Blackstone is a proven strategic partner, “who shares our long-term vision for our studio portfolio and the asset class more broadly,” said Coleman.

During the past decade, content streaming and production put stages, “particularly those with adjacent premier quality workspace, in high demand,” explained Coleman. In 2017, Hudson Pacific purchased Sunset Las Palmas to strengthen its position “as the largest independent owner and operator of sound stages in Los Angeles,” and substantially improved studio cash flow and management.  

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