Member of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10.“I’m a regular guy from Bulgaria who came to America and made the most of the experiences that were offered to me here.”—Ivaylo Ninov ’08
“I always say that if it wasn’t for Adelphi, I wouldn’t be where I am,” Ivaylo Ninov said.
“I was the beneficiary of Adelphi’s inaugural C.O.A.C.H. event,” he said, referring to the November 2006 Careers in Finance Count on Alumni for Career Help (C.O.A.C.H.) program, at which he was introduced to alumnus Peter Amari ’73.
“At the time Peter was president of Parkmont Capital and worked closely with Safeguard Realty Management,” he said. “My senior year I started as an intern with Peter, working with Parkmont Capital and Safeguard.” By 2007, Mr. Ninov began working full time at Safeguard Realty Management, Inc., a management, consulting and brokerage firm that provides cost-effective and innovative real estate solutions to a range of clients. Over the course of the next four years, he ascended the ranks at Safeguard—all the way up to the position of controller.
While he was one of the youngest members of his team, his credibility, capabilities and expertise did not go unnoticed. In May 2011 Mr. Ninov was sought by one of Safeguard’s former clients. A private equity fund recruited him as its chief financial officer.
“My current employer specializes in aggressively acquiring distressed real estate assets and restructuring them, creating value for its investors and stakeholders in the process,” Mr. Ninov said. The firm places a particular emphasis on improving the living conditions of communities throughout the five boroughs and New Jersey.
He explains that, while this asset class does not attract the big investors who fund Class A properties such as luxury office space, he believes low income housing is a safer investment. “Look at what happened to office towers and high rise luxury residential buildings in 2008 and 2009. There are high vacancies and a 30 to 40 percent drop in rents. There is always a demand for our type of housing. It’s a niche market,” he said. “It’s more or less immune to the down cycles of the economy.”
As a student in Adelphi’s Honors College studying finance, Mr. Ninov never would have imagined a career in real estate finance. Now that he is immersed in this world, he finds it fascinating. “My daily responsibilities include overseeing the accounting staff. The more interesting piece, however, is the investment management—which is something that’s new to me, something I didn’t do before I came here.
“Some people feel it’s boring. To me it’s interesting. It’s complicated. And I get pleasure seeing a very complex transaction through,” he said.
In particular Mr. Ninov loves that his work is in Manhattan, and the exciting work experience the city provides him. “The New York market is unique—very few places even come close,” he said. “I don’t think there’s another location at the level of New York in terms of attracting investors from the outside. People want to invest in New York because it is such an iconic place. The supply and demand of what we do here is unlike anywhere else: there is very limited supply, and huge demand.”
What are the keys to his success? “There are two requirements to being good at what you do,” he said. “You have to like what you do, and you have to work hard at it.”
Another factor that has played a role in Mr. Ninov’s career success, without a doubt, is his determined attitude: “You can always do better,” he said. Even though he has reached a level of accomplishment many professionals twice his age are still striving to achieve, he is bent on setting the bar even higher for himself and for his firm: “I’m excited about where I work. I really want to have my career here,” he said. “It’s good now, but I think it has the potential to be really great. I think we’re going to go very far.”