The Townsend Group is run by several erstwhile lawyers who have built the company into the largest real estate consulting firm in the US. Surprisingly, the firm has almost no actual real estate investment expertise and gets by on "big picture" recommendations to clients.
Over the years Townsend has learned to select a few investment managers to recommend and has leaned heavily on that expertise. Occasionally a manager does poorly and they provide a convenient scapegoat for Townsend - allowing them to escape blame for poor performance.
The consulting cycle revolves around quarterly reports where Townsend collects data from managers and consolidates it into a portfolio review. Any analysis is derived from the managers and little independent review is done by Townsend. In between quarterly reports the focus shifts to reviewing real estate fund proposals and most of that effort is spent on offerings from established managers which provide low risk to Townsend. Emerging managers are given almost no attention unless they sufficiently "wine and dine" the senior management. Townsend has little use for new ideas and generally waits until something is specifically requested by one of their clients.
The bulk of the day-to-day work is done by junior analysts and is generally required to be done on a rush basis. The resulting reports are subject to erratic review by senior staff and provide a great deal of frustration and inaccuracies.
Townsend has a fairly high turnover rate caused by an unpredictable management style. When one first joins Townsend they are quickly categorized (positively or negatively) by management and can rarely change that status no matter what they may accomplish. All of their future work will be perceived through the prism of that initial impression.