This year’s Annual Investors Meeting was held on April 18, 2017 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa. Upon arrival, investors and guests were greeted by the many familiar CWS employees who were able to assist them with registration. At first glance, one instantly recognized that there was an important theme draped throughout the room with vibrant colors, amazing images, and classic fonts. “Timeless Principles” is this year’s theme which is influenced by the old but timeless allegories that have been written and shared for centuries. As this was CWS Capital Partners’ 49th annual investor meeting, Timeless Principles is a fitting inspiration.
With the main lobby and reception room welcoming over 500 guests, many longtime investors shook hands and exchanged hugs with their fellow investment partners, many of whom they had referred to CWS for the first time many years ago. Guests used this opportunity to inquire about their specific properties and discussed those markets in which they are invested. Each CWS market was represented with its own respective regional director and asset manager, many of whom are also invested in these same deals.
As the presentations commenced, Bill Williams began by reading a few heart-felt letters that were from longtime investors who had expressed their appreciation for how CWS had made a difference in their lives. As one of the original co-founders, Bill has observed his share of instances where CWS had made a positive impact on not only investors themselves, but also their heirs and the community in which CWS serves.
Our next speaker was Mike Engels who discussed how well our properties have been performing over the years and highlighted how well they have been producing free cash flow. This free cash flow has afforded these properties the ability to reinvest in their respective assets, paydown debt, and generate healthy distributions for investors.
Furthermore, Mike expressed how CWS has been able to maintain strong cash balances at the properties which are setting up our assets to be productive over the long term with a comfortable margin of safety.
In the next segment of speakers, Gary Carmell spoke about his 30 years with CWS and how certain trends from the past have played out. Forces in the world have shown to be cyclical and through the many turbulent periods and disruptive events, the economic and population trends have always found a way to move upward. Gary then explained convincingly with his charts why apartments should continue to have long-term demand fundamentals.
Steve Sherwood concluded the event with a wonderful summary of the apartment industry and how important it is to work with a firm that brings trust and value to the entire process. Importantly, Steve explained how our company is purposely designed to invest only when we see compelling opportunities, as opposed to needing to fulfill an internal growth goal, as the reason we have been successful for so many years.
Our featured keynote speaker was Ron Witten from Witten Advisors. As a market expert, he expressed that apartment demand continues to be strong with many of the CWS markets well-positioned from a growth and demographic standpoint. He indicated that although this has been a good investment cycle, there is still a large amount of capital on the sidelines. With a tightening of lending requirements, he predicts that apartment supply should begin to fall. He concluded that the growth prospects of this industry are still quite favorable.
Thank you for your trust over the years in allowing CWS to represent you in owning, managing, and building apartments. We feel a great sense of honor and responsibility to preserve your hard earned capital and to deliver exceptional returns.