NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- An evolved capitalist is somebody that aims to do well for society without sacrificing yield for investors. That's exactly what Bobby Turner, founder of Turner Impact Capital, considers himself to be.
"We believe that profits are driven by purpose," said Turner. "We actually believe there is an interdependency between profits and purpose, and that by taking advantage of some of society's greatest challenges, we can actually drive better risk-adjusted returns with lower correlation to the broader market indices."
Turner is the former chairman, CEO and co-founding partner of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, where he oversaw a commercial real estate and mortgage asset portfolio totaling over $12 billion.
Last month, Turner Impact Capital launched the Turner Multifamily Impact Fund which plans to acquire and manage up to $1 billion in apartment communities in urban markets throughout the United States. The goal of the fund, according to Turner, is to help address the growing shortage of affordable workforce rental housing across the United States. Turner said 25% of all renters in America spend more than half of their income on rent, helping to create a huge mismatch between supply and demand of affordable housing.
"There is a shortage of workforce housing and nobody is building new workforce housing," said Turner. "The existing workforce housing, when it comes on the market, or becomes for sale or rolls off its compliance period, it is sold off to more opportunistic investors who improve properties and then actually increase rents on the very backbone of society that can ill-afford higher rents."
Instead of squeezing rents higher and cash-strapped tenants out, Turner said he takes a more innovative model whereby he "enriches properties" as opposed to improving them. Meanwhile, he said his firm can drive 10% to 12% net returns to investors without increasing rents but rather by increasing profits through "more conservative operations and more predictability and stability in the rent roll itself."
As for the publicly traded real estate sector, Turner said REITs look overvalued "particularly in multifamily, where people think these are longer term bonds."
"It's very sensitive to changes in interest rates and I do believe that over time we will get a systemic change in interest rates and they will rise and that is why I believe that REIT stocks are at risk," said Turner.
A better area for investors is in charter schools, according to Turner, where demand remains huge even in the face of teacher unions fighting their very existence. With Andre Agassi, Turner's firm has developed brand new facilities for 39 top-performing charter schools throughout the U.S. and is planning for dozens more.
"There are 1.2 million children on a wait list for a great charter school," said Turner. "At $20,000 a school seat, that is a $22 billion infrastructure opportunity."