Financial Services >> Analyst Interviews >> February 16, 2004


Raymond A. Mathis is an Industry Analyst covering real estate investment trusts (REITs) 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
TWST: Let's start with a quick overview of your coverage in the REIT


Mr. Mathis: We are expanding our REIT coverage dramatically at Standard

& Poor's. Until very recently I was a