For the past year, he's advised Real Capital Analytics on itsnewly created global property database. "RCA's global database is aparadigm shift in the way investment data is shared," he says. "Theold idea of closely protecting data in a culture of secrecy isbeing replaced by a belief that accessing the data is only thefirst step. The real skill is using interpretive skills that comefrom market knowledge and experience, to distill the data intomeaningful investment strategies." Here are more of histhoughts:

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GlobeSt.com: Why is RCA calling this the "firstglobal commercial real estate transaction database"?

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Williams: No one has previously collected detaileddata about sales of commercial/investment properties--that is,office, retail, hotels, multi-family, industrial and developmentland-- across the world. RCA has done this for US markets since2000. Now, after overcoming such issues as different ways ofmeasuring buildings, converting currencies at the time of the saleand smoothing technical and reporting protocols, the database--withmapping--is about to be launched.

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GlobeSt.com: What kinds of data does itinclude?

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Williams: The data includes details of the sale,including price paid and an analysis of the price per unit--forexample, per sf or square meter. It also provides names and contactinformation of buyers and sellers, financing information and caprates, where available. RCA also provides a list of the top buyersand sellers for each property type, by investment volume. The datasources vary from published information to RCA's establishednetwork of market participants--buyers, sellers, brokers andlenders. RCA's team of multi-lingual researchers tries to verifyeach sale from at least three sources.

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GlobeSt.com: What are the objectives behind thedatabase?

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Williams: The primary demand is the appetite ofglobal capital markets for accurate, real-time information aboutinvestment activity in developed and emerging real estate markets,worldwide. Following the 2007 financial uncertainty, thecross-border capital markets' demand for a better "window" onmarket activity became more urgent.

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GlobeSt.com: One of the things RICS has mentionedis increased global transparency. Why is that so important?

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Williams: Transparency is essential for wiseinvesting. While for the past five years the RICS has published itsGlobal Property Survey, RCA is the first to provide thedetails of the transactions that lie behind the global trends. Itis also important to note that the independence of RCA's research,with no self-interest in the market, gives it a strong element ofcredibility.

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The world's financial markets trade on up-to-the-minute "ticker"data about stocks and commodities. It is only very recently, thanksto the work of data providers like RCA, that the capital marketscan trade in investment real estate with a comparable degree ofinformational comfort.

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GlobeSt.com: How do you expect the database toexpand or evolve over time?

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Williams: Although RCA has been careful not toover-promise or come to the market unprepared, its products andservices will constantly evolve. With an increasing time-span ofsales history, RCA will continue to build. Much of this will resultfrom pushing the technology frontier. But significant strides willbe made as investors themselves embrace a more transparent realestate culture and become more willing to reveal transactionaldetails. Today's collaborative business world encourages a moreenlightened approach to data sharing.

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