Financial Services >> Analyst Interviews >> May 17, 2004
TWST: May we start with a quick overview of your coverage? RAYMOND A. MATHIS is an Industry Analyst covering real estate investment
trusts in the Finance group of Standard & Poor's U.S. Equity Research.
He joined S&P in January 2001, covering a variety of REITs, including
office, residential, hotel and diversified trusts. Mr. Mathis received
his Bachelor's degree from Boston's prestigious Berklee College of
Music. While studying in Boston, he began engaging in entrepreneurial
activities, including launching a partnership that exported electronics
such as radio station transmission components to South America. Upon
graduation, Mr. Mathis moved to New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, to
pursue his musical interests. While performing with many regionally
popular groups, recording albums and playing major concerts such as the
New Orleans Jazz Festival, business still beckoned him. Capitalizing on
the city's large and growing tourism industry, he founded a firm that
specialized in foreign language package tours, convention services and
in chartering flights from surrounding states to then-just-legalized
casinos. In the early-1990s, Mr. Mathis recognized the unique investment
opportunity presented by the depressed commercial real estate market.
Leveraging his experience in the tourism industry, he prepared a
detailed plan, and after raising substantial capital, he acquired money-
losing hotel properties in the French Quarter. He was able to effect a
turnaround by combining the operation of the properties into a single
hotel, renovating the properties and revamping the marketing strategy.
Feeling that he had accomplished all that he could at the hotel, Mr.
Mathis decided to broaden his horizons by returning to business school.
He graduated with an MBA in Finance from the University of New Orleans
in 1998. After graduating, he worked on a number of special financial
projects for such well-known firms as Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Worldwide's Design and Construction unit, the New York Times, and
Sotheby's International Realty, prior to joining Standard & Poor's. Profile
Mr. Mathis: I'm a REIT generalist, but currently I'm focusing on office
REITs and apartments, diversified and, oddly enough, hotel