Finance & Economy

Real Estate

Is Wall Street upbeat about the outlook of the economy post-pandemic?

March 24, 2021

Is Wall Street upbeat about the outlook of the economy post-pandemic?

Rick Shane & Richard Hill

Head of Consumer and Specialty Finance Research, JPMorgan & Head of U.S. CRE Research, Morgan Stanley

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley analysts sound off on CRE, banking, and consumer finance.

In today’s episode of Driven by Insight, Willy speaks with guests, Rick Shane and Richard Hill. Richard is the managing director at Morgan Stanley and head of the U.S. Commercial Real Estate Research group, and Rick is the head of J.P. Morgan’s Consumer and Specialty Finance team and has earned the reputation of being one of the world’s best financial services analysts.

Willy kicks off the episode by providing listeners with some background on the work done by their firms, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan. Willy has witnessed the exponential growth of Morgan Stanley first-hand over the years having once worked within the company himself. He notes that today, Morgan Stanley’s market cap is set at $151 billion and commends the work they’ve done to establish themselves as a well-respected asset management platform. Similarly, J.P. Morgan’s market cap currently sits at $463 billion and they rank as one of the top financial banking institutions.    

Willy dives right in by asking both his guests about the challenges their industries have faced over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Richard shares how, surprisingly, some of their initial concerns turned out to be unfounded. While anticipating people potentially being unable to make mortgage or rental payments, both Richard and Rick agree that the debt markets and lenders responded to the public’s needs effectively in a way that allowed them to avoid any financial missteps similar to those made in the 2007-2008 financial crisis. By providing forbearance and loan modifications, Rick feels it was the collaborative nature of the creditors that helped accomplish these outcomes. This leads Willy right into a fun question he then poses to both his guests asking them to assign a letter grade ranking Washington’s financial response to the pandemic.

The discussion then shifts into the current state of their respective industries and they touch on what they each believe to be the future of student loan forgiveness and how this will affect their markets collectively. This segues into a conversation on population migration and the trend of suburbanization that emerged in 2020. When Willy asks whether or not we should expect to see a wave of returns to major cities, Rick states that he believes the occupation of both urban and suburban areas will become more balanced in the future and Richards adds saying that we will likely see returns to cities take place in a different way than before.

On the topic of returning, Willy inquires about Richard and Rick’s thoughts on returning to work. They discuss the pros and cons of a remote work environment as well as of an in-person office environment and how they believe we may soon see a combination of the two work styles.  

As the episode draws to a close, Willy tunes into how things are currently looking for both industries on the other side of COVID-19. Richard addresses inflation rates and shares how he believes that through it all, the commercial real estate market is continuing to thrive while Rick shares his final thoughts on the strengths of traditional financial companies as well as the strengths of new emerging financial technology.

A bit about each speaker:

Willy Walker is chairman and chief executive officer of Walker & Dunlop. Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, Walker & Dunlop has grown from a small, family-owned business to become one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the United States. Walker & Dunlop is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and in its first ten years as a public company has seen its shares appreciate over 800%.

Rick Shane is Head of J.P. Morgan's Consumer & Specialty Finance team. With more than 18 years of experience as a Senior Analyst, Rick offers thought leadership across multiple verticals. He has consistently received top rankings by Institutional Investor, the WSJ, Starmine and Thompson Reuters and was cited by Bloomberg as one of the "World's Best Financial Services Analysts." He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, Boston College Law School and the University of Chicago GSB.


Richard Hill is a Managing Director covering the US commercial real estate market and leads Morgan Stanley’s US REIT Equity and Commercial Real Estate Debt research teams. Richard joined the Firm in 2013 and has been an II-ranked CMBS analyst for several years. He has covered the industry in various capacities for 18 years in both banking and research roles, including positions at Royal Bank of Scotland and Banc of America Securities. Prior to becoming a research analyst, Richard worked in the Structured Securities Group of Banc of America Securities, where he was responsible for the origination, structuring, and distribution of securitization backed by CRE debt. He started his career in that bank’s Interest Rate Derivatives group, where he structured hedging strategies for CRE developers. Richard is a graduate of Georgetown University, with a BSBA in Finance.

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