Colliers International crossed a key milestone last week when our parent company, FirstService, announced its plans to spin off its non-commercial businesses and rename as Colliers International Group, pending regulatory oversight.
Operating as an independent, publicly traded company has been our goal for some time: the opportunity to unlock even greater value for our firm. It is a celebratory occasion for all Colliers International partners, including employees, clients and now shareholders.
It’s all in the timing
While this change has been in our strategic sight for more than a decade, this is the right time to act. The pace of change facing commercial real estate - owners, occupiers, lenders and their service providers - is dramatic. New technologies, funding mechanisms and even the usage of commercial space are in flux. The pivot point we have reached necessitates a focused approach, access to capital markets and a long-term vision for continued, service-oriented success.
In order to look forward, let us look back. Well into the 1980s, commercial real estate was extremely fractured, made up of mostly regional players.
The consolidation that occurred in the late 1980s into the 1990s set the stage for the current larger firms.
Our own journey quickened in the 2000s to create today’s Colliers International.
The move approved by the FirstService board this month provides the leverage to strengthen our firm’s services to our clients as we continue to witness increased consolidation in our industry.
If you look back at the consolidation of accountancy firms, that is where the commercial real estate industry is headed. ~The top five accountancy firms make up ~70% of their market. The top five commercial real estate firms globally only make up 14% of the revenue in our industry.
But frankly, measuring success by revenue misses the point - it is advice and service experience that fosters referrals and repeat business and assures manageable growth.
How many people can actually rank the top accountancy firms by revenue? Not many. It is the forward-thinking professional expertise and the experience their clients have when working with them that differentiates.
The same is true for our industry. That is why Colliers International prides itself on providing the most innovative and industry-leading services. We have always been different, and we will continue to be different - through our enterprising culture of partnership, with our clients, with our colleagues, with our partners and with our communities.
All in all, the decision to empower Colliers International to operate as its own independently traded company is a thrilling step in our company’s history — and we look forward to continuing on the trajectory of growth and leading the way in our industry.
Doug Frye is global president and CEO of Colliers International