The Birmingham office of Colliers (CRE) has created a specialist banking advisory team to help guide finance sector clients through the credit crunch.
The 15-strong unit will span the range of the agents’ activities; commercial property, automotive and roadside, licensed and leisure, residential, investment, industrial and logistics.
Even before the BAT team has been formally launched, it has won work with Kenmore Property Group.
Kenmore’s Midlands asset management director, Paul Jarvis, said: “Colliers advisory team recently advised us on the value of one of our largest investment schemes and were able to offer us cross-sector expertise.
“The case involved the potential construction of a new healthcare facility at an existing mixed-use scheme. It was very helpful to work with consultants who could offer advice across all of our operational sectors, rather than having to deal with several departments.”
James Cubitt, who heads Colliers’ valuation team in Birmingham, says the credit crunch was the catalyst for the new strategic approach.
“Banks, finance houses and private equity providers have all become understandably more cautious about where their money is going.” he said.
“As the process of due diligence becomes tougher, the role of valuation specialists has become even more important, and it seemed logical to create a new team, which could offer advice across our range of disciplines.”
David Smeeton, Head of Colliers’ Birmingham Office, says the BAT unit will operate at the ‘virtual’ level.
“We haven’t changed our management structure, it’s more about making people aware of the need to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, so they can bring a combined focus to the needs of a particular client,” she said.
“We’ve already been asked to provide confidential advice to one bank, where the BAT team will offer market analysis across several sectors, and also a general overview of the lending market.”
Cubitt says the shift in approach has also been appreciated by other financial sector clients, who want to crunch the numbers on existing property investments.
“We’ve been called in to take a fresh look at previous instructions, in the light of the changing economic climate, and to analyse how the prospects for different sectors are shifting, in the new conditions.”
Inevitably, much assessment of the credit crunch’s impact has focused on negative aspects, but Mr Smeeton believes the market for property finance will emerge stronger.
“Banks have become more choosy about which projects and schemes they lend on, and will also commission more analysis on specific sectors,” he said.