Commercial real estate magnate, entrepreneur and serial dealmaker Sam Zell says the best time to invest in emerging markets is when a country is approaching investment-grade status.

Home-grown Chicagoan Zell sat down on stage for an interview with Treasury & Risk editor-in chief Donna Miskin at the opening lunch of the 25th annual Windy City Summit, which drew some 900 financial professionals to Chicago in mid-May.

Zell is chairman of Equity Group Investments, a private investment firm, and Equity International, which he co-founded in 1999 to focus on real estate-related companies outside the United States. While he is known as a founder of the modern real-estate investment trust era, his investments go well beyond real estate and include debt and equity interests across the globe in energy, logistics, transportation, media and health.

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