December 22, 2023

Finance II: meet your instructor, Aaron Forbes

Updated December 2023

This series introduces you to REDI’s adjunct instructors who teach Real Estate Development Leadership (REDL) courses delivered at the Haskayne School of Business. Aaron Forbes (CFA) is the Senior Director of MCAP Financial Corp and an independent board member and lending review committee chair at KV Mortgage Fund. Aaron instructs Real Estate Development & Finance II (February 14 and 21, 2024) and the prerequisite course, Real Estate Development & Finance I, next running on September 9 and 16, 2024.

REDI: Tell us about yourself.

Growing up, I was always interested in business, so upon completion of high school, I applied to the University of Calgary and started on my economics degree, concentrating on behavioural and microeconomics. My continued curiosity ultimately led me to the Haskayne School of Business, where I majored in finance. Upon starting my career, I wanted to augment work with continual learning, so I commenced the CFA program, earning the charter in 2013. The CFA program brought together a lot of the various concepts I’d learned in university, tying them all together into a comprehensive program.

As for teaching, you could say I came by it honestly, as my grandmother taught me Grade One and my mother was my high school vice principal and chemistry teacher. That said, I’ve enjoyed training new hires at MCAP, so I thought being an instructor would be a natural fit and something I’d enjoy, and I jumped at the opportunity when it came along. I’ve been an adjunct instructor with REDI Canada since 2020, instructing both Real Estate Development and Finance I and II each academic year since then.

REDI: Each REDL course runs in a two-day learning format, complete with a site visit and virtual project presentations. What will an instructional day look like for learners of Real Estate Development and Finance 2 this year?

The condensed format actually allows for a more tailored learning experience. I have the flexibility to adjust the delivery of the material as learner engagement naturally ebbs and flows over the course of the day. I also really like the idea of a fully dedicated day for each class, as this will make for a highly concentrated learning experience without distraction. Seeing everyone’s reactions to the material tells me whether a concept is landing or not and whether I should spend more time on it before moving on. I find the discussions lively and free-flowing, allowing learners to bounce ideas off me and each other much more freely.

REDI: Discussions and networking are an important part of this course. What are your recommendations for folks to expand their networks or meet like-minded real estate development and finance professionals outside the classroom?

  • Mortgage Loans Association of Alberta (“MLAA”): They host a monthly luncheon with guest speakers from across the industry. It usually has a great cross-section of lenders, developers, lawyers, quantity surveyors, and appraisers on the guest list.
  • Building Industry and Land Development Association, Calgary (“BILD Calgary”): This is the amalgamation of the Urban Development Institute (UDI) and the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA), created a few years ago. BILD meets monthly and usually has a great group of guest speakers. The association is builder-focused, which makes it a great place for a lender to meet new borrowers!
  • Earls Tin Palace, Calgary: This has long been the place for real estate leaders in the city to get together and hash out deals. Best of all, no membership is required!

REDI: The Finance II course dives deeper into borrower structures, 1st and 2nd mortgage financing options, A/B mortgages, and CMHC-insured financing programs, among other topics. It’s a lot to become familiar with. Can you share some recommended resources for folks to stay informed about local real estate development and finance?

  • Zonda Urban is a third-party sales data provider, so it is a paid subscription service, but I have found their quarterly market updates to provide some of the best insights into the current market. The audience is a wide, diverse group from across the real estate spectrum.
  • The Real Estate News Exchange (RENX) is an online service that provides news, information, and commentary about the Canadian built environment.
  • SkyriseCities is a website focusing on the skyscrapers, architecture, design, construction, and development of urban centres around the world. Explore the Global page or specific regions: Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, or Toronto.
  • Calgary Real Estate Podcast, hosted by Kimberley Poffenroth and Barb Richardson.
  • Calgary Real Estate Investing Podcast, hosted by Corey Peckford.

Ready to elevate your real estate development career? Learn more about the REDL program and upcoming courses here.