In the run up to this year's MIPIM, there were many reports that the event would be a wash-out, with many of the major players in the industry simply staying away. Indeed, initial reports circulated since MIPIM came to a close on Friday suggest that official registrations via REED Midem could be as low as 10,000 (compared to over 29,000 last year). There were certainly less large scale exhibitors and outside of the Palais itself, far fewer elaborate events.
But maybe this is exactly the reality check MIPIM needed - a move away from the increasingly extravagant excesses of recent years back towards a more focussed event where serious business discussions can happen. From my experience, the more manageable number of people made it far easier to effect introductions and really talk about what matters in the industry today. Whilst the majority of the banks were noticeably absent, many of the big players and key decision makers in the industry did participate.
BDO was keen to show clients and contacts in the industry that we are very much here for the long term and are not simply fair weather friends. With this in mind, we took a full team of partners down to MIPIM - both from our UK business and our international offices, including the US, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway. We were rewarded with a great turn out for our BDO cocktail party, which is becoming something of a regular Wednesday afternoon feature at MIPIM.
We certainly felt encouraged by the conversations we had and the fact that there are still plenty of opportunities out there in the market. The lack of banks there did however reflect the fact that these opportunities are somewhat limited by the lack of lending. Still, if we are not already at the bottom of the market, it seems that we are getting closer and once the banks get their own houses in order, we should start to see more of an uplift in the sector.
As this year, we will continue to invest both time and resource to what we feel is still the most important event in the property calendar and the fact that MIPIM seems to be getting "Back down to business" suits us just fine.