Content provider for

Voichita Lefter
Policy & Changemaking Partner /Curator of Women Founded Ventures Matei-Borbely & Partners

02 July 2021

Matei-Borbely+Partners – Public Affairs division was founded in 2016 as part of  a strategic consulting and marketing focused company with a particular focus in public affairs, marketing services, offered to a wide array of clients.

What was the context in which Matei-Borbely+Partners Public Affairs Division was created and what does public affairs specifically refer to in the context of Romania’s business climate?

Our first project was in collaboration with a pharma existing client, and as the results were incredibly positive, we decided to escalate our services and cater to various industries. 

Through public affairs consultation, companies are advised on what is the best strategy to access a specific market or how to achieve a professional business conduct within specific markets. Moreover, becoming a relevant dialogue partner for the local and national authorities and all the other stakeholders in such a way that the companies' needs are being understood and fulfilled is yet another task we take on for our clients.

Bringing a positive impact in the community and leaving behind a healthy and meaningful legacy are key components of public affairs done right. Standstills are usually the result of flawed communication and this is why we adapt our techniques in accordance to the situation and find a way to be a bridge between authorities and private companies.

How did the PA business arena look like when you first started and what are some examples of initiatives you brought to the table?

When we started out, we observed that most consulting companies were taking clients' requests and fulfilling them flat out, so we wanted to shift the table and advise companies on how to achieve their goals in a diplomatic, strategic or out of the box way. Every project we complete has a CSR component - we strongly advise and encourage clients to acknowledge the social and environmental impact of their business, while also shaping it into a sustainable venture, with a positive contribution to society. Our most demanding but also compliant and responsible/community-driven client is AREI - which is now building (together with Hope and Homes for Children) small group family homes for institutionalized children. 

How would you describe the communication process between the public and private sector and what makes a difference in the effort of reaching common ground?

Both the private and public sector are well aware of the fact that one cannot exist without the other and we're happy to say that the communication process between the two has been enjoying a very good dynamic. We are painting a clear, transparent image of all our clients,  for the authorities to see where the gaps are, while offering constant feedback that can be used as a valuable resource. Unfortunately, some of the Romanian legislation is still in a grey area and it could benefit from a clearer sphere of application, but, overall, we were met with openness every time we raised a question. We know that political stability and predictability is highly important for international investors and while this is still a road to walk, we are doing our part in clarifying the actual context and keeping people updated and focused on the opportunities that matter.

You mentioned CSR and how you are trying to instill a sense of civic responsibility into real estate players - do you find this is an easily achievable task?

All AREI members are highly aware of the need and the impact of CSR initiatives, we are talking about developers like Gran Via, Globalworth, NEPI Rockastle, AFI Europe, Ceetrus, etc. However, due to the conduct of other players outside of the association who are not always keen to align to the industry standards and values that we promote, such as transparency and integrity, we still have to deal with a relatively bad perception of the real estate industry in Romania. Our key principle is “to lead by example” and we hope that little by little, all investors and developers will adhere to the healthy mindset we're promoting within AREI. Other initiatives that we're planning with AREI in this direction is building a real estate academy, as well as a master class, focused on values and with a mission to educate not only the industry, but also consumers, especially on the residential side.

What are your main priorities in the next two-three years, from the PA perspective?

My major pledge for the next three years is to work on developing cross-continental projects, including in the United States, whose business ecosystem sets the standard for our line of work and build on the potential of the transatlantic partnership.

I am dedicated to laying the foundation for a pioneering Institute of Politics in Romania, modeled on the structure of a similar institution run by the University of Chicago. There is no shortage of intelligent, well educated and talented people in Romania, and the  goal is to help provide them with a set of skills, through a smart and reality-adapted training system, that will encourage and drive them towards becoming more active in the political arena, which in the end, should lead to refining and scaling-up the country’s political leadership base.

What is a final message for international investors eyeing Romania’s real estate market?

The administrative and political sectors are developing in the right direction. They are seen as a bigger hurdle than they are in reality. The market itself is ripe with opportunity as demand is on an upward trend, particularly in the residential segment but not only. We truly believe that, in the next few years, a lot more predictability will be infused into the business environment, and this is why the time to invest in Romania is right now, while momentum is gaining speed.

  • Share on: